Archive for February, 2006

St. Valentine’s Day

so here it is around ten after four in the afternoon on good ole st. valentine’s day…
i’ve got my dirty old black rubber boots on, jungle gear and hat, kangaroo hide mittens and the great big Canadian Shield out my window with a hundred miles in any direction: trees, snow and the color blue.  lads i won’t be meeting up anytime soon with a flashy table cloth, candles, fine red wine and a flashy menu, pleasant company or pretty smile, no conversation.  nothing.  zilch!
instead i might find myself in an hour or two hunkered down alone under one of the pine trees out by the frosty lake, making a fireplace where i can roast up an old boot.  there aint no use in talking cause there aint no body out there!
the old moon, full the other night, i saw it out the side window of the car as i was driving into the north country at 430 a.m., and the way the light was lying on the land, it brought back some blue blue memories, might come out from behind the clouds and light up what is otherwise a very over cast and stone cold frozen afternoon, day and experience in the blue grey Canadian wilderness in the grips of an ice cold winter.
as for st. valentine’s day, i guess all i can do this evening is pray i see another one.    
february 12, 2007:  well i guess some of my prayers have been answered!  cause here i am on the door step to another valentine day but guess what…  where am i?  back in the boons, a hundred miles from anywhere in any direction and likely roasting up the other old boot over the open fire…  man that aint no pretty picture.  you would think a cat like me would have learned a lesson er two by this point in time but i am still here, still alone, and gosh that wind is cold tonight!
you stand around out there with that thing blowing your way and you’ll be frost bitten within ten minutes.  so.  there aint much to do now but head back to the bunk house, hopefully the heat situation is figured out, it was a rosy 10 degrees in there at lunch time…  and maybe, just maybe!  get some painting done.  but who knows.  certainly not me.  here i thought i would be warm climes by now, sailing the caribs…  but that was last year’s snow white dream.  not sure what this year’s is going to be.

life in the city

i just walked out of the national gallery of canada.  they have a solo show on from now till sometime in april, showcasing the art of norval morrisseau. 
some of those paintings i have seen before and some are pretty easy to imagine, having seen them in glossy books with color plates, but one thing is for certain, you really need to see:
Man Changing into a ThunderBird, right before your very eyes, which i did today.  i first saw them in a book about 20 years ago and it really turned me around in the art department.  seeing them live had done it again.
you ask yourself after looking at them for a few hours, what the hell am i doing muddling with the things that i am, when there are things like this, already done, 30 years before.
you know you have come a long way when the opinions and actions of others are not your guiding light…
but what happens when you are under the heavy boots of your own opinions and actions? 
now that is real and serious trouble…
especially if it keeps you from developing the greatness that surely must lie inside of all of us.
March 1.2006:  so here i am in the middle of my march break, away from the clutches of the north country and those frosty winds but where am i?  nope!  i am not on some glam beach in Mexico…  or sailing in the caribs…  nope.  i am here in the nation’s capital, shivering some more and looking at the numbers on the calendar, 31 tough days before we can put the winter behind us.  i guess the next chance i will have to run down any sandy beaches will be sometime in July when i get back to the island and the sweet sweet climes of an island summer time.  yikes.  that is a long way from now! 
May Long Weekend 2006:  just read the previous entry and this is turning out to be one big curse fest about the weather here in the nation’s capital.  cause today its a cold rain that is falling and it hasn’t let up in 2 or 3 days.  so me and my Jazzy are going to have to figure out other plans.  right now the ladies are upstairs in sleep mode.  i’ve been down here since 6 a.m., wondering when is this rain going to quit.  lousy weather for the odawa pow wow which is suppose to be going this weekend.  i was thinking maybe me and the girls could go watch a bit of dancing and listen to some music but hey!  this weather aint no fun for that.  what you need for a pow wow is the hot and sunny blue skies above!  ah well.  we can hang in there.  plenty more pow wows coming up this summer on the island.  and that is still the plan: to be there for a cool 30 plus days. 
as for today:  well…  the rain is suppose to fall till tuesday!  so i don’t know.
i can tell you the lilac is fading.
but the trees are in full bloom and to see the maple leaves once again: beautiful!
june 17th.2006:  saturday morning in the sweet sweet climes of the civilized world.  i am out of the north country and at my home.  the house is quiet.  all of the girls are sleeping.  outside the window, well the street is still all tore up and under some very serious construction, so there isn’t much in the way of traffic hustling up and down the street.  you can hear it in the distance.  yesterday at around 5, i was sitting downstairs and relaxing, enjoying the company of the beautiful ladies, i heard a roar outside in the sky and thought, that sounds like the engines of a ww2 bird!  i got up and ran out just in time to see a B 25 cruising over the city, heading west.  you don’t see that every day!  last year i remember hearing the incredible roar of engines and again tore off out the front door and saw an avro lancaster circling the city!  now that really is a rare sight!  glad to have seen it and wondered what the noise must have been like with 50 of them flying over the house in formation.
after the ladies had been entertained we made our way over to the Presidio to hear the jazz pianist play a couple of old standards.  the waitress brought me something white from Chile and i know better than that! 
so this morning i got up at 6 and sat down to read the news.  the headlines are full of wild and crazy tales of all the war whooped goings on:  Miss Deaf Texas struck and killed by train, seems she was walking along the tracks and sending instant messages to her friend when the train rolled up behind with a full head of steam and blew her to bits!  that’s tough luck for an 18 year old beauty queen.  still you have to wonder what a deaf girl was doing walking down a busy set of railroad tracks.  then there was another one: Florida Woman killed by alligators, seems she was jogging by the canal down in Sunshine, and stopped to take a rest.  that’s when the old reptile sprang up out of the canal, grabbed her, hauled her back into the canal, tore off her arms and ate them and left her there floating, dead as fried chicken, to be found later by construction workers.  now that too is very tough luck for a former model, age 29.  then there was the story of the guy, he was 46, his dog jumped into a raging river and the crazy fool jumped in after it, trying to save it.  of course the dog saved itself and the man was swept up by the jumbo spring run off current and was carried down stream, never to be seen again!  he drowned of course.  they never did find him.  but his dog is healthy, happy and likely running around their house this very minute, wondering where daddy is…  now why would you do that?  why would you jump into a raging river to save something you can replace that very same afternoon?  well he left his wife behind too.  she was 46 too, and witnessed the whole mad scene.  you have to wonder if she is in the cosy arms of a back door man right now, while mr. i have to put my life on the line to save a dog, is hung up on some branches, rotting on the river bank of the ottawa river…  or what about the story of the woman in oxnard, CA., who was spending some time sunning on the beach, age 49, catching a few rays, when out of nowhere a cop SUV comes along and runs over her head!  now what kind of luck is that?!!!  i mean really, there you are, on the beach, a place were a lot of folks dream they’d like to be, me included, and the cops come along and run over your head, both tires, thump thump thump thump.  and the cops claim they didn’t know they’d run over her.  now something aint right about that!  but one thing is forsure, her getting her head run over by those big SUV tires likely put a real damper on the wedding she was attending, which of course was her son’s…  then there was the story of the lady taking her first parachute jump.  she didn’t trust the chute so she did the old tandem jump, where you’re slung up with the instructor, who you would expect to be a qualified paratrooper with more than 5 jumps under his belt. well i guess that belt wasn’t tight enough cause when they pulled the old rip cord and opened the chute, he stopped dead in his tracks, she tore loose from the harness and down she went!  no emergency chute no sweet F all except her childhood nightmares finally coming true.  i can’t remember how old she was or where the story took place, somewhere down in either indiana or ohio.  well it was her first jump and her last, all rolled up into one parapack.
now is this bad luck or what?
i look back on the year and think, now what bad luck have i had.  well i had a deer, a buck, smash his head throught he windshield of my car.  that was back in december, just 2 weeks shy of christmas.  good ole bambi racked up 2 500 dollars damage to the car.  i was accelerating down a straight away, going at least 120 when we made contact.  boom!  glass everywhere! 
and a scuzzy co worker broke into my crib up north and stole my guitar and amplifier and a pair of my running shoes… 
other than that, i guess i’m doing okay.  i mean, compared to the bad luck some folks who made the news have been having.
so my question this morning is this:  where in the charles dickens is the good luck?
anyone know?
july 2nd, 2006:  breezy and very humid in the city but i’m telling you, last night was something else.  we watched the big Canada day fireworks display from the top of the Chateau Laurier and man that show was really worth waiting around for.  you wonder how much money they blew up with that gig!  anyway.  right after it started to pour down rain and man it just didn’t stop.  i got caught out there and was soaked to the core!  drenched but it felt quite lovely, to be walking in the rain, even down the spooky streets of the capital city where the drunks were out in full force last night.  likely kept the cleaning crews busy all night taking care of that mess. 
i on the other hand made it home safe and sound and soaked at 130 a.m., hung those soaking wet clothes up to dry and crawled into the bunk for lights out till 8 this morning.  truth is i hadn’t been sleeping very well up there in the north country the past several weeks and i think it was starting to catch up to me.  so a solid 7 hours of sleep time i think hit the spot just where and when it was needed.
its beauty.  the summer vacation started yesterday and i started it with some painting, finishing several that were lying around for months!  now they are ready and soon they will ship to destinations currently unknown.  but i am ready to start painting a few big pics again.  and that could start tomorrow morning. 
once the shakes leave…
nothing else on the agenda except me and my jazzy time, which is a great way to go after such a long time away.
full moon… july 10th, 2006:  the wackos are out there patrolling the city tonight!  i went down town at 20 after 8 just to pick up a few scary movies and some popcorn and white vino for cooling, and the freaks were all around.  this one bizarre woman asked me if i’d seen Blair yet…
i looked at her and thought, now wait a sec, i have never seen you before and you surely have not seen me!  yet here you are buggin me about a guy named Blair…
in the army, they call those cats: section 8.
i said to her, look sister, you really oughta lay off the dope.  its carving a big hole in your head where your brain is suppose to be…
she called me an assortment of knasty words all beginning with the almighty F word.
i chuckled as i gathered up my stuff and walked out of there like the Outlaw Josey Wales…
funny stuff.
but then again it is full moon.
july 16th, 2006:  closing in on noon here in the old city.  its hot!  but this is july so what do you expect?  all i can say is its a great thing the community has small swimming pools scattered about the city and there just happens to be one of them 5 minutes from my place.  which is good cause man, its going to be a solid 30 degrees at least.  the skies are blue and the heat is up on high!
took a drive last night.  that was around midnight, thought, its too hot to sleep, at least for me.  the ladies seem to have no probs with the night and sleep.  but it was a different story for me.  so i thought ah why not, i’m going to take a drive into the outback around the city and take a little look around, see what the fields have to say on a night like last.  the moon was up but not full, that was a week ago.  still, it was beautiful, peaceful, and some company would have been grand but it was just me and the open road.  of course it was a saturday night and the roads were pretty busy at that hour which, truth be told, is a bit creepy too.  so i didn’t spend too much time out there and was home by 130 a.m. 
july 21, 2006:  before 8 a.m., still here in the city.  the old sun is boiling us down day after day and man i wonder what the shoreline must be like at Carter’s Bay today!  or sweet Providence Bay.  i am here overlooking Booth street and its noisy, they boys outside are still working on the road.  its a noisy scene and i’d hate to have their job. 
well if you have to be in the city, and you’re a jazz music fan like me, some Ella Fitzgerald will surely cool you off either late in the evening or first thing in the morning.  of course a tasty chardonnay would do the same!  that or a dry reisling…
gulp!  its friday.  no swimming pool today.  what are we going to do?!!!
yesterday they cut me some slack so i hit the streets and man it was just too hot.  sticky hot.  but i hit them anyway and stopped at an air conditioned book barn.  not one of those classy joints like Chapters, but a run down, fly by night operation.  i looked the selection over while enjoying that frosty interior and found something:  CallGirl, Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure. 
i started reading it over at the Royal Oak on Bank Street.  it was very easy to read as the woman was an instructor at the university level and she intertwined her stories of getting into the sex trade at night while she taught classes on literature by day.  and i could dig that story.  so i sat there in the Royal Oak and smoked 2 pitchers of the Blue while i read, and in some cases, laughed out loud!
then i heard a song, it was on their satellite radio.  it was a woman singing, but in a very relaxed manner, her vocal sounded like she could be someone in your living room, singing while they worked on something. 
i asked the other patrons, anyone know who that is singing?  no one knew.  none of the 3 that were also in there at 2 in the afternoon.
so dang it!  i am out of a cool tune, i would have bought her record.
anyway.  i kept reading and the music and the words of the book, it all gave me some pretty kooky ideas while i sank to the bottom of pitcher number 2.  i thought i might go to the local which is pretty close to where i live but then thought otherwise and stopped at the park to continue the read. 
the park was full of bums and a sorted cast of spookhouse characters, all of whom looked pretty mixed up.
plus the eskimos…
they don’t like me.
they think i’m too far out. 
and what’s weird is, once, one of them, a toothless woman about the same age as me, told me to get out, go back where i came from. 
which is totally outrageous because i looked around and thought now wait a second you toothless old hag, i see trees around me.  this is the woodlands.  and i am an ojibwe.  i am from the woodlands.  so in a sense, i am where i came from.  i think it is You!  who should go back to where you came from: back to your ice flows and seal clubbing and igloos and treeless tundra…
so you see.  even the local indian population up here can’t get along! 
but she must have been a stupid and depressed old boozer who just kinda lost her way down here and she’s angry at everyone, even the original inhabitants. 
later i saw her passed out on a park bench and the sign above her should have read:
killed in action.
cause that is the pose she had, lying like death, arm hanging over the side, hair falling through the cracks in the park bench.
i wondered if she had any children out there, looking for mom.
as for me: my daughter was in the cosy confines of her friend’s place.  she and Grace get along and are thick!  thick as thieves!
the old eskimo passed out on the bench: you can’t argue with people like that.  they won’t let you speak. 
but my wise old mother once told me: if they’re not worth dealing with, don’t deal.
and so that is what i did. 
makes a great story.
and that is what life is:  a great story.
so long as you let it.
p.s.  1030 a.m.  no sooner had i just quit cursing those dang eskimos than i discovered my car had been broken into and robbed during the night!!!  the bastards.  they broke the lock, rifled the car, and drained the gas tank.  all this right out there in my drive way.  kooky.
july 24, 2006:  monday morning and i’m still in the city.  thought i would be sunning on the island by now but nope!  we wait.  looks like another sunny day, blue skies and warm climes.  perfect for a day at the pool, which i’m certain is this afternoon’s agenda.
yesterday’s agenda was way up in the air.  everyone and everything was squared away so i took off on my own, on foot, into the wild city.  found myself at the off track on montreal road over there in the scuzzy part of town across the river.  sat myself down and ordered a drink and looked at the races in progress.  fort erie was looking good so i went with them.  woodbine was rained out.  so i went with what the folks on the tv were saying and of course the horses they were betting weren’t anywhere!  especially not in the money.  now i was still cursing about saturday’s tip.  we got a call and they said bet horse number 3 in the second race at woodbine, 5 bucks across.  so that’s what i did and that flipping horse  came in dead last!  some tip that was. 
so yesterday i was following the tips and nothing was happening. 
then i thought, well i can’t stay in here all day.  and i aint winning with what they tell us so what am i telling me?  i went with good ole horse number 7 because i liked his name.  and sure enough he came in!  big odds, i bet 3 bucks to win and it paid 108 bucks!  so i grabbed my cash and head out the door!
found myself downtown at a club listening to a blues band.   and it was semi enjoyable.  some company would have been nice but ah well. 
you can’t always get what you want.
july 26th lord have mercy…  2006.  i am still here in the city!  sweating it out.  cursing the sounds of sirens and construction every morning when i’m outa the rack at what ever hour…
this aint no island paradise lads.  we be a long way from there.
but.  i’ve introduced my old buddy jazzy to some new ideas and its fun to watch her process them. 
i watched: jarhead
last night.  what a depressing movie that was.  grim.  very grim.  and brutal imagery.
i sure wouldn’t want to be with those guys back in 1990…  91.
also rented: whale rider
hope that isn’t the blues like the war movie.
i guess there is only one way to find out.
oh my lord the streets of ottawa are filled with them… 
its july 28, 2006.  the heat is up on high and the sun is bright and blazing down, bringing on the sweat in a major way.  the pool is closed today so me and my old buddy jazzy are on diff agendas.  she is over there with her playmate and bosom buddy, and i just came in from a walk through the downtown.  saw a woman with no arms…  she did have hands but no arms…
no what happened there?  saw an eskimo, an older dude, giving me the stare down, his mouth hanging open and his teeth half missing, looking like a pumpkin for halloween.  saw a mother and a father pushing a stroller with a little baby, brought back a lot of good memories.  and saw movie trucks and trailers over at the park, looks like they’re doing some kind of film work over there either today or tonight.  that too brought back a lot of good memories. 
but the lights change and you have to wait and i wondered while lugging my packages, what the shoreline is like at providence bay today, like right now.  and the shore line at carter’s bay.  and meldrum bay.  i wonder if anyone is swimming at bridal veil falls or whitefish falls…
it aint me man.
and i’m tired of waiting.
july 30, 2006:  still hanging around in this old city but its hanging by the fingernails!  waiting to get back to that island paradise.  so much ideas and plans made during those winter nights.  i said: the island this summer for 50 days…
we might get 20 if we are very lucky.
anyway.  i am still here.  and will be for another 2 weeks!  yikes.  you say that and its a bitter pill to swallow.
for memory lane over grown with brambles, gads, thorns and thistles, i gave: The Bridges of Madison County a read.  i bought the hard cover back in the either summer of 94 or 95, not sure which.  and read it in one sitting over at the ranch.  of course things were a lot different  back then and we don’t have what we had then.  but we do have something we could never lay our hands on back then: 10 to 12 more years worldly and life experience.  that makes a diff, at least it did for me, when reading Bridges… 
here is a story from that same summer:  i was a swinging single back then.  i had a live in move out!  we had been shacked up for a few years and it didn’t work out.  so we split and i was on my way once again.  no need to get into the terrible events that took place that summer but one thing did happen.  there was a beautiful ojibwe girl working in town and she was most definitely one of the most beautiful of the beautiful.  i thought maybe she would like me and so we went out a couple of times.  i read Bridges and said to her, would you like to give this a read?
i gave her my copy and…
well i gave her strawberries too.
so that is the last i saw of my book.  she was a great young lady who let me down easy and let me go on my way.  thank goodness she did that cause i was just not the ojibwe lad for her!
nor was i for anyone at that time!!! 
she had my book back then and who knows where it is now.
so the other day i was over by Chapters and thought yeah now i want to give it a re read.  i bought the cheap paperback version and sat down one night and read it through.  well it isn’t like i remembered it.  and it sure isn’t like the movie!  i just can’t see clint as robert kincaid.  but i loved the music in the movie and it gave me the idea that maybe a novel should be sold with soundtrack…
so after re reading it this week, i was a bit disappointed.  but then here i am, a full 10 to 12 more years on the rack with a total time and place shift in between.
i suppose if i had read this book back home at the ranch, it would have ment the same or at least had a few glossy recollections of time and place.  here in the city, well…
there are a lot of unpleasantries around here, on the streets.  and a lot of reminders here as well, a couple that are very bitter pills.
the book, a great story it is, simple and to the point, just aint flying.  like wanting jazz music at an arcade.
so i’m going back to my other book, life of an ivy league call girl…
you can’t read a book like that back home at the ranch!
but its perfect for a place like this.
so it looks like another glorious sunny day in progress.  the girls are half way out of the slumber mode.  i have jazzy here and she is watching her sunday morning cartoons.  i think we’re going to see that train come at wakefield this afternoon but that is a plan and i know what can happen to those in very short order!
no clouds in the sky.
and the rain is reserved for sometime after midnight.
so all is in good order.  as well as it can be over here.
i wonder what the waves are like on carter’s  bay this morning.
august 1, 2006:  wow its hot!!!  woke up this morning and right away we all looked at each other and said its the pool at noon till five!  cause it just makes no sense to be on the streets! 
still, with the swimming pool, you have to wonder what the beaches must be like right now!!!
we aint seeing those anytime today.
that was a beauty thunder and lightning display last night.  it was full serve.  jazzy woke up cause it was blasting away just outside our windows, an impressive display.  she grabbed her mother and said, " i’m scared…  "
i watched her, her eyes were wide and bright! 
it was an awesome sight at that hour of the night.
whew…  later in the day, just before 5 p.m.  that must have been the hottest on of the year!  good thing the pool is 2 blocks away. 
kooky though, you look at all the folks on the street on a day like today and you have to wonder, why aren’t they back home at the beach.  i don’t have an answer for that one either…
august the what?  i have no idea…  i do know its friday.  there it is, the fourth of august, 2006.  i am sweating buckets here in the city, with about 800 000 other souls.  what any of us doing here is beyond me.  just took one of those 3 hour strolls with my old buddy Jazzy, along the river and past the locks.  there were 5 very large pleasure boats sitting in there, going up the locks and heading for the canal or river or where ever they were going.  all i know is the boats were those big fancy rigs with the cabin upfront, the big deck over the front, the captain’s chair, the swimming platform on the back… 
these folks are doing it up right but still i wondered what are they doing in the stupid ottawa locks system?  i mean the place to be sailing in the summer time is the georgian bay, the north channel, mc gregor bay and all the islands and mountains…  at least that is what i would be doing.  none of this dopey sailing through a city.  especially with today’s heat.  makes no sense to me.  all that money to buy one of those things and where are they? 
ah well.
i am sure there are a lot of boaters out there now sailing let say…  baie fin.  ah but that would be the place to be right now.  or the benjamin islands. 
i have to go buy me a lotto ticket and maybe i will be out there sailing those very locations next week!
going first class tomorrow instead of with steerage!  i’m taking the train to toronto to see some blue jays sunday afternoon.  those boys happen to be on the skids these days and i’m not sure the game is worth going to but hey, those are free ticks and i am good for watching.
130 in the afternoon and sitting inside.  wow.  that makes no sense at all! 
this is our summer time.
and it aint where we want to be!
have to fix that sooner than later.
august 8, 2006:  what a trip!  visited the good city of toronto looking to see some baseball and i managed to get two games in!!  lucky me.  don’t know if i’m going to get back down there again this baseball season so those two games might have to do.
the streets were full of bizarre sights.  so placed a new photo album from the trip.  lots of kooky sights.  including the guy with the bag over his head, playing that gibson guitar.  he was good.  or she was good… 
August 10, 2006:  counting down the hours before we can get out of here and back to the sweet climes and company at the ranch…   ah but this has been a long haul, waiting for that day.  while waiting…  i was in the dopey check out line at the local grocery and this dude was standing ahead of me with a ten dollar bill in his hand.  he tells the check out girl some one lost it cause he found it on the floor right there.  and he wanted to give her his phone number in case who ever comes back looking for it…
now come on.  does that sound like a scam?
so meanwhile this transaction is taking place in front of me, this poor sap is buying the bachelor supper, the poor sucker, and he’s giving his phone number to the daisy check out girl.  she says, wow!  there aren’t too many honest people these days.
and she says this to the slick looking chic in the booth over, who is a young slim looking conservative ultra hot looking young woman.  she is so conservative that she’d cause a volcano to blow if she ever walked past one.  she’s like the beginning of one of those big waves down near the equator.  she is like a B 52 before it drops the cargo.  and she works the 8 items or less line.  well i only had 3 items but i just can’t stand looking at her cause she is so beautiful in that conservative, Betty Brant, kind of way.
so the dude leaves.
and the check out girl i’m yakking with says wow…
and i said, listen sweetie, he wants you to call him.  and he doesn’t want you to call him tomorrow.  he wants you to call him tonight, saying you’re the one who lost the measly and stupid 10 dollar bill…
like, why wouldn’t you take the 10 bucks and hit the casino and put the whole thing on Red.  easy come and easy flipping go!
its a scam.
and a dopey one at that.
you can spot a scam as easily as you can spot a bachelor dinner…
a table for one and a broken heart to go.
tisk flipping tisk…
august 11, 2006:  one more night in the city…  one to go.  and man i am looking forward to our drive out of this place!  when i get back there, its going to be a nice long ride through the country side and down along the river… 
sounds good to me!
september 8, 2006:  friday in the city, what a glorious day in the works.  beauty sunshine and very warm climes, like somewheres around 28 degrees in the good ole capital city.  that’s some fine weather for this time of the year.  i’m back early cause the folks up north cut me loose yesterday.  they called me up last week and said you better report to such and such a place if you want to get in on this winter’s wild and crazy times.  so off i went last week and only lasted a day.  went back up this week and lasted 3.  next week its back to the 5 days and 4 nights so the who knows what about what is going to happen will most certainly be front and centre.  we’re down at the front for the next 10 months. 
saw my indian status card the other day and in particular the picture…
good grief what a miserable looking mug!  the pic was taken at the DIA HQ way back in 2003 at the end of the summer…
i thought with all of that fun in the sun on the island i would have looked not bad but i look hideous.
ah well.
you can’t win them all.
full moon last night!  even though i was in the city and watching it rise over the roof tops along preston street, it was still a lovely sight for me and my old buddy Jazzy, who was busy with the jungle gym over by the plant bath.  its a great little park with plenty of young playmates wandering in and out at all hours of the civilized hour.  so this is good.
waiting for the phone to ring…
can’t stand it when this happens.
been waiting for 45 minutes…
i hope this call comes in quick cause i’m getting ready to roam!
the city has some cool events up for grabs and i can get slicked up and get in on them just as soon as this call is taken and dealt with…
here it is.
wait time.
the old computer is humming up a storm.
outside folks are walking around in the shirt sleeves and shorts!
i wouldn’t mind doing some of that.
instead of got a wall of books ahead of me and behind me is a map of the great Mc Gregor Bay, the La Cloche Mountain Range and Baie Fine.  whew!  i would love to be there right now.  right this very afternoon and evening!  it would be some incredible experience to watch the full moon rise over baie fine.  or over mc gregor bay and especially over the la cloche mountain range.  especially at this time of the year.  no bugs flying around.  and not many people either.  so you would be out there with the grand company you chose…
no phone call yet.
i can also tell you, that in the book case is a new book from dr. wayne dyer, i think that is his name.  anyway he is one of those down and out in beverly hills type writers who try to boost you from the dark quagmire of the day to day what have you.  i read a few pages but one part really caught my attention and lit a fire in the old brain pan.  it was a rule to live by, there are 10 of them in this book but number 5 is what struck me.
it went something like:  leave your past.
or: give up your past.
i thought about that for a long time.  i mean i read his words and they mentioned how a lot of folks will describe their upbringings or teenage years or their trying 20’s with words that might not sound or look so pretty.
i read that and thought yup, i have a few of those pages in my own journals. 
but as i thought about it, i thought, why am i keeping those old books with maybe, some not so good pages in them?
so this week up in the bush, i took 3 of them, 300 pages each in hard cover format, and took out my old trench knife.  i read those books and used that razor sharp blade to cut out the pages that just didn’t make any sense to me.  and if they don’t make sense to me, there aint no way you want folks out there reading them.  cause one day you know they will be.
somewheres down the road.
the pages cut loose soon went up in flames.
and it felt quite good actually. 
here is the phone call.
october the what?  well i can tell you its the monday of Thanksgiving weekend and its been a glorious one too!  sunshine all the way and some pretty mild climes for this time of the year.  not quite as warm as last year at this time: remember last october 5th and 6th?  well i don’t know where you were but on those two days i was up there in the fighting, dressed in my summer weight jungle clothes and boots, running around the bush, and had been for 28 days by that point in time.  so i was and the rest of the troop was in pretty good shape.  we came out to the shoreline on the 5th of october, out near our island hide out.  one of the troops caught her toe on a root and fell into the lake.  i remember asking her: so how is it?  she said it was beautiful.   and before i could say anything more, everyone was in there, clothes and all!  i remember swimming along and looking at the shoreline full with its autumn colors and thinking man this is some bizarre and strange sight way up here! 
it was at least 32 degrees those two days.  so we swam on the 6th as well.  did the cook out there as well.  i snapped a whole mess of pictures but i can’t tell you where they are cause i don’t know.
anyway.  as for up there,  we’ve been up there for 28 days this year and man its a different crew and diff weather but the tough going in the bush remains the same.  no use in crying about it.
down here in the city, its morning and the house is quiet. 
the girls are upstairs in the bunks, dreaming of…
well i have no answer to that one either.
but one thing is for certain: those two young ones…  holy mackinaw they are getting stronger, faster, and more beautiful with each passing day. 
i was hugged by one of them yesterday and i felt like i was being hugged by an army poised for battle.  she’s 5 foot 6ish, slim line, 100 pounds, as powerful as a bolt of lightning, and more beautiful than i could ever imagine. 
then there’s me: a tired old guy whose spent way too much time in the jungles.  way too much time away from home.  and whose misspent youth…   gosh we don’t even want to get started with that stuff.
at the ranchlands, where i would normally be on thanksgiving weekend, it was a quiet affair.  most of the family is staying away until next weekend, at which time there is another family round up for a wedding!  i wouldn’t mind going to that but its a long old drive for just one day.  from the clutches of the jungles to here, and then to over there.  man that is just too far.
so i’m going to miss that one.
wonder why they didn’t do this thing in the summer when ever one was home.
ah well.
its their wedding and good luck.
the leaves must be beautiful though, back on the island. 
the woods filled with wild turkeys.  the skies filled with canada geese, with the right idea: going south for the winter.
i don’t even want to start dreaming of the winter just yet.
i have 14 more business days in the jungles before they cut me some slack, two weeks worth, and that lads, is what i am dreaming about!  i want to walk my little girl to the bush stop and see her off to school and be there to pick her up!
love that idea.
loving a lot of ideas actually.
i guess soon it will be time to turn those ideas into reality!
binakwe geezis, niizhtanashibezhik…  october 21st, 2006 (in other words!)  so here it is before sunrise once again.  i’m down here in the cosy climes of the city address, far from the ordinary and beautifully at peace!  the girls are upstairs and in the bunks, dreaming bout who can say…
me:  i’ve been waking up very early the past few days.  up there in the boons, where sleep does not come easy, where its cold at night and you need to keep your jungle clothes on at all times, and where its awfully lonely, i’ve been awake at strange hours.  like yesterday.  i was awake, wide awake at 4 a.m.  i thought if the almighty wants me up at this hour i guess its time to go to work.  and that’s what i did, and managed to get something done before i checked into the old fire station for nine.  4 more business days to go before they cut me 2 weeks slack and move to the rear for rest, relaxation and refitting!  and holy toledo we need it. 
but enough about the boons.  next saturday is the grand ole halloween bash!!!  i’ve been going to the big one downtown for the past 7 years, maybe 8 years, and working my way up the ranks of best halloween costume.  i finally won sexiest male last year!  woo hoo!  but now here i am wondering, how do i top last year?   i have no answers.  so here i am pondering what to do in the gaming and costuming department.  i really have just this weekend to do it cause i’m back in the bush all week and we sure can’t fix a costume up, while in there.  so it pretty much has to be today.
slim down enough to wiggle into just about anything and i still have my summer color with me so i could hit the party in something kooky.
but what?
no idears folks.  i’m spinning my wheels here.
with thanksgiving in the books for another year, the leaves have up and given up the ghost and fallen to the streets and back yards, just in time for halloween.  i’m going to carve me up some spooky pumpkins and put them out front for the night of.  and it looks like everyone else in the house has their costumes ready and waiting, to hit the streets.  one of the girls is going out dressed as lady bug: cute.  another is going out dressed as peter pan: slim line cute maximum.  and the third, well that one is a surprise so no one knows.
while i’m carving up pumpkins and making pumpkin pie i better think up something or i’m going to be left behind.
(psst:  i was thinking, wouldn’t it be dreamy and spooky if i were to dress up as a modern day Nanabush, the famed trickster from ancient ojibwe and woodland lore?  cause the theme of this year’s party is magical and msytical creatures.  i could combine some of those old anishnabe items like my raccoon skull necklaces, deer skull with antlers, and plains style breast plate with a few black pvc items…  hmmm…  )
i hear their alarms going upstairs!  maybe they’ll be awake soon.
if they are, that’s it for me!
and if i don’t hear from you, i’ll chat with you early next weekend before the bash, hopefully with some photos of the "winning" costume!  and of course if have any grand idears, forward them please as this halloween party is some very serious business!
october 28, 2006:  the day of the big bash…  lads i’m still not 100% with the costume but there is today to get it organized cause tonight its showtime!  of course its raining and kinda cool out there.  it would have been nice to see some dry climes but maybe it will change before 9 tonight.  anyway, its good to be home, out of the woods and back where its safe and at peace. 
october 31, 2006!!!  good ole and sweet halloween!  beauty day in store.  kids are getting excited and i suppose we need to get that pumpkin squared away for tonight!  we have some cool looking costumes and us older folks even had a chance to give ours a test drive on saturday night at the almighty "witches gathering".  that is a halloween bash the likes of "witch" (ha ha!!) i’ve not seen before.  the local pagen crowd takes over Barrymore’s, a club that can be jam packed with 350 party cats and saturday night it was jammed to the rafters!  they switched the format this year, skipped the live music and went with a dj who really knew how to fill up that dance floor.  so the party was in full swing by the time the costume judging came along.  great time.  my old buddy michelle had a surprise outfit for this boy!  my other old buddy, jazzy, we sit down on saturday mornings and watch cartoons together and in particular, Duck Dodgers.  we get a kick out of it and i in particular like one character: Marvin the Martian’s girlfriend/Queen, the shapely character in black with the egyptian motif and make up.  i said once:  if i ever had to do it over again, the girl for me would marvin the martian’s old lady on duck dodgers…
and surprise surprise, guess who came to the party dressed as!
what a blast.
as for me…  i knew i wasn’t going to top my costume from last year, which did win me sexiest male!!!!  i knew i couldn’t top that so i tried that nanabush of the new millenium bit but it just didn’t pan with time running out in the development department.  so i hit the streets and club in that black spookwear which was half fetish club slash half freakshow goth with any left overs taken from old anishnabe tool boxes long since cobwebbed over.  my feet were killing me the next but anyway, it was a fashion statement!  just like my old buddy michelle’s.  and just like 348 other party goers.  man that gathering is a festival!!!
of course tonight there are a few other late night parties we could attend and i think we will, since we have the day off tomorrow!  so we might put those costumes on from saturday night or try some other ones we have about the place.  that would after!!!  we do the streets of the local neighbourhood with the troops.  for the youngsters we have a peter pan outfit and a ladybug.  cute!  i’ll hopefully get some pictures. 
and the weather is beauty for it.  no rain, so far, so good.  suppose to be mild today too. 
aah but life is sweet when in with the family and away from the evil clutches of those dark and terrible and cold places.
too bad it happens just once a year! 
november 6, 2006:  ah what a beautifully mild day it is here in the capital city!  got the morning chores done and am now thanking my lucky stars that the folks in the north country have cut me loose for two weeks!  this is the beginning of week 2.  and i’m going to make the most of it!  cause:  i was booked into a group show here in town at one of the new indie galleries and man i want in on that scene!!!  i want in and i want in now!  the show is set to go on the 17th and the owner/operator wants 5 new paintings of the large size variety, 36×48 inches, and he wants them brand new.  none of this old stuff.  so.  it means i’ll be pulling a few alnighters this week but hey man that’s what art is all about!  and i am looking forward to the challenge.  haven’t been in a show around here in…  well i can’t tell you how long its been.  cause the truth is i’ve been selling most work on ebay.  but those are the smaller canvas boards and the gallery wants the heavy duty.  and i want to make them some heavy duty!!!  so i shall tell it to you now: we’re going to have a chance to spread our wings!  woo hoo! 
november 26, 2006:  sunday morning in the city, ah but how times can and will change…  for some kook reason i was dreaming about a summer that took place eleven years ago.  back in the days when the band was flying high and performing some decent shows in some pretty good venues.  so when i woke up this morning i thought i wonder where all those cats are today…  i mean not just the band but all of our people we had with us. 
this could have been sparked by yesterday’s visit to the chapter’s book store downtown.  i was muddling through the history section and thought i would take a looksie in the music section and that’s where i came across a book: the complete guide to aboriginal music in canada.  i thought yeah right.  so i opened up the index and sure enough, there was the name No Reservations, page 149.  so i opened it up and there we were.  what a brief history it was, just a few years.  that’s all it took for us to build a great and powerful machine and charge forward into unknown territory, and then totally and completely screw the whole thing up, flying the beautiful creation into the ground, smashing it to bits!  the saying: "you are your own worst enemy", rang true for us. 
i bet that was the last time street guys like us were handed something that friggin valuable ever again!
ah you can say you were stupid when you have a disaster such as that in your personal history.
none of us are ever going to get rich working for the man! 
december 16, 2006:  can’t believe these mild climes for mid december, walking the streets today with my old buddy jazzy and the xmas rush is in mega full swingsville.  folks are going every which way.  of course we were in the thick of it and enjoyed the to and from, including the christmas caroling in the downtown.  fun stuff.  all seems to be in good order:  presents are taken care of, christmas tree and lights are up.  kids are happy.  and the home renovations are behind us.  now:  i guess there aint much left to do but have a good time and wait for the old man to show.
bought that cool movie: polar express.  watched that this morning and was entertained fully.  but as i was watching it, i was wondering where the guy is now, who wrote and illustrated the original piece.  wonder what kind of xmas me he is having, swimming in all that moo laa…
good going.
december 17, 2006:  woo hoo!  what an awesome day here in the capital city.  i mean mild climes!  wow.  you just can’t beat that this time of year.  so i said F this and took off at 2, into the downtown, which was swirling with the wilds, wails and wrath of the xmas humanity complete with bible preaching mexican holding the good book in one hand and something i couldn’t ID in the other.  he wasn’t alone though, pitching the almighty.  not many were giving him the time of day.  one guy, a jamican, ran up and said: i’ve been saved!!!
so it works. 
i stood there not too far away, in my city costume, and folks weren’t sure who was more kooky, me or the bible thumpers.
i’m sure it cause a bit of comedy at later gab fests in what ever and what have you in various parts of this good city of ours.
stopped by one of my fave clubs and they said the staff party was set to go at 7 tonight and for me to come by.  so i did.
it was quite a time they were having over there and its good to see.  great to see.  folks are getting together this time of year, and you never know if the room will be filled with the same cats ever again.  so i went back in there to visit them at 7 and yup, change is on the door step!  for them to say the least.
as for me, i bid them good evening and walked to the local general, got the eggs, milk and butter and what they need at 8 a.m., and came home.  which is where i am now.  i have to get up tomorrow at 4 and muster back up to the firing line for 9.  it can be easily done in this weather but folks when the ladies say please stay…
well now that is the up hill struggle.
i have to go cause i said i would be there and hey, if you don’t do as advertised, well then what the heck good are you?
and i always say to one of my veteran fighting co horts: we volunteered for this so here we are. 
that is a few hours away so let enjoy what we have here which is a house full of christmas lights.
and thank our lucky stars we managed those streets today like we always wanted to do.
i saw this old anishnabe man on the bus.  he was dressed in OD’s, and wearing jump boots.  his hair was short and trim like the old days but white!  he was obviously under the influence but still, i sat right behind him and thought, he must have went to korea, judging by his age.  either korea and or vietnam.  anyway, in his mutterings, he was talking about being a killer.  and how he hated that title.  all the other folks on the bus, the sober cats, they just looked away.
kind of sad actually.
i wonder where he was off to…
december 23, 2006:  well how stupid is this:  i was walking home last night from a meeting and slipped on the ice which was covering everything, a freezing rain, and pulled a wipe out of the month!  not only did i clobber my shoulder but i broke my glasses!  now how stupid is that?  what bad luck.  they flew off my mug, landed on the ice and slid down the sidewalk onto the road way and crunch!  run over.  i sure hope they can fix me up with something today cause if they can’t i’m going blind on this trip!  not good boys…   not good at all…
december 29er, 2006…  whew!  another year just about in the books and gone forever!  that aint something sitting too lightly on a frosty winter night.  cause you wonder, at least i do, why are all the things i’ve charted over the years, well some of them haven’t been realized!  and so here we are at another year’s end, and my to do list, there are a lot of things on there that aint been checked…  not good! 
new year’s eve is creeping in.  missed xmas at the ranch.  never stepped on the old fields back home… 
and that lads, could be the sum of the whole deal in a few short sentences.
anyway.  we are inside where it is cosy and warm and the old xmas tree lights are still ablaze and we aint taking that thing down till a couple of days into january.  a couple at least.
and that movie: the polar express!  we’ve seen it about a dozen times and we’re learning the lines! 
still, not a bad groove here, taking the year out with some amusements and hopefully good health. 
the fiasco of the 23rd, or 22nd, the freezing rain and the slipping on the ice and the flying head over heels and landing with a crash…  well those days are long gone.  and glad to get them behind us.
ah but you have to wonder sometimes…
where is all going?
january 3, 2007:  i woke up this morning in serious pain and agony.  that wipe out from the 23rd, man that really was one of those crash boom operas that should be on video replay.  i’m still hurting from that.  so today i’m going to give the old native health centre a call and see when and if the old chiro working over there can give my spine the old snap rock a doodle doo!  i know i didn’t land with a dull thud!  i landed like a pine tree coming down.  not one of those little ones you see around here but one of them big ones you see in the bush up north.  mushroom cloud landing. 
my poor shoulder, spine, the works, she’s been rattled to the core and i’m not happy about that. 
i am enjoying my brand new glasses! 
and i am enjoying this time at home, albeit in pain.  not much snow to speak of out there on those streets and the mild climes, well its good for you, good for me anyway, as i walk down the streets wondering what in the heck did i do to myself on that sidewalk, and!!!  how am i going to pay for all this?!!!  mean the jumbo xmas expense.
and!!!  why oh why did i not get home, back to the island, for boxing day….
well i know the girls were all struck down with the flu/fever, but lads i’m missing those sights and sounds of that island landscape.  i needed those 2 days, and a drive through tehkummah, down along providence bay and all, i needed to see that.  and i guess i won’t be till we’ve clocked 6 months into the log book.  
that’s a long time to be away from that wind and those waves over there.
january 5, 2006:  turns out the chiro dude over at the local native thang is booked solid till the end of february, by which time, at this rate, the friggin war will be over!  so its off to one of those cash grabbing monkeys here in the local to see about some bone cracking!  i need it.  woke up this morning and i certainly wasn’t floating above the bed like that young whippersnapper in the Exorcist, original version.  i rolled out of the sack like a wheelbarrow/wheelbarrel full of cut and split wood being tipped over…   thunk.  not pretty.
and there aint no way i’m going back up to the front feeling like this!  i don’t even want to think about monday so lets just drop the subject right now…
cause i am still on vacation!  and will be till monday morning at 5 a.m.
took a stroll downtown yesterday afternoon and yup, there are kooks everywhere.  lots of them, right down there at the rideau centre, doing their kooky thing.  folks passing out flyers, bums begging for spare change, a guy playing the bongos, people standing around with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, dope smoke, spit, slobber, guttersnipe and a thousand toilets all flushing at the same time.  all this crazy goings on just four or five hundred yards down the street from the capital buildings.  and there is me, the modern day indio boy, standing amidst the carnage, looking over the scene, and definitely not in with them at all.  absolutely out with them, not a part or parcel of any of it except to say that i was there, standing around waiting for the number 2 bus to hustle me out of there…
the weather those was beautiful for standing.  the sun was high and bright and it was mild like spring.  and truth be told i don’t mind this warm weather and i surely don’ t miss the snow!  a year without snow sounds quite good actually! 
so while we have some clean sidewalks, i’m making good use of it and getting out there and enjoying the mad sights and sounds of the so called capital city.
january 6, 2006:  been watching too many cartoons over the past two weeks.  seems the fave picks over the holidays have been The Polar Express, Ice Age, and The Prince of Egypt.  that one tune in the Prince of Egypt, where momma sets little moses to sail in the river, she is singing:  hush now my baby…  that song is staying with me!  and holy shoot!  that woman can sing, whoever is doing that voice over.  she’s got pipes.  wish i had someone like that standing close by cause i would have that old acoustic guitar warmed up, tuned up and the recording buttom ready to hit!  what a voice.  we got none of those around here as far as i know.  

the north country

thursday night in the north country and lads this one always goes into the books as the longest night of the week!!!  cause we are on the road home tomorrow, back to the beautiful ladies, but we can’t make the move until 1130 a.m. at the earliest.  so here we are.  in the north.  waiting for the out.
which is weird cause back in the old days it was like climbing the walls, borderline cabin fever but that has all changed.  times are different up here.  and you have to remember what you’re advertised to do. 
spent the last two business days at the lake, just down the road not far, with the entire group.  we were trying our hands at netting some fish.  we placed the net in yesterday and went back to today for a looksie but no dice.  i guess the fish were swimming somewhere else last night.  i was hoping to see some big old walleye in there but nope!  maybe tomorrow.  course we won’t be going with them tomorrow, i’m going to hang around here, watch the what ifs, and placing the gear in good order for the drive home.
we are not planning on much for this weekend.  the only thing i absolutely have to see is the Norval Morriseau show at the National Gallery of Canada.  it opens tomorrow and you can bet i am going to be walking in there on saturday afternoon!!!  there is a six panel piece in that show that hasn’t seen the light of day since 1977 and its the very group of paintings that turned me onto the woodland thing way back in art school, circa 1985ish…  "Man Changing into a Thunderbird", lads that is the one that did it. 
so that is the scoop.
i know it isn’t much. 
but hey, we are here and it is now!  and thank our lucky stars its been a mild winter thus far and we have january behind us.  just 60 more days of heavy winter remain!
keep our fingers crossed!
wednez, march 8th…  and i got the blues…  the girls are gone.  they are flying down to visit the folks in florida and all three of them are on the road for the next two weeks.  that means i’m going to be home and alone for two weekends…  i don’t like that sound of that.  it is suppose to be very mild in the city but that isn’t going to help out much.  when you got the blues everybody knows…   up here in the bush: the skies are overcast and the wind is out of the north and it aint safe to go on th lake nor is it any fun in the bush with the snow about 5 feet deep.  so its back to the old clubhouse at 4 and we got nothing in the hopper.  times are tough when you’re girls are away.
march 29th:  i am so lonesome i could cry…
april 12th:  wore shirtsleeves today for the first time.  have rain but no thunder.  might have to wait till next week for that.  won’t be seeing the full moon as we have rain in the forcast for the next 2 nights.  we are up here for one more!
april 26th:  it snowed all day today.  looked like the middle or late october this morning but it was kooky because there were birds in the trees, the type that sing the songs you would associate with a hot july afternoon.  but there they were singing with jumbo snow flakes coming down…  weird experience.  i had packed my dirtiest jungle gear away for another 6 months but found myself this morning digging it out and putting it back on!!  thought those days were behind us but there you go!  it just goes to show. 
i’m all aches and pains up here over the past 3 weeks as we have re fired the old weight lifting program and man that has reached all those hard to get to places in this man’s body!  but i have plans for the summer time you know and i want to make them.  i have dates and i want to make those too!  and i won’t be making them sitting down for longer than a half hour or so. 
read something very interesting on the cbc website.  it was a quote:  "never waste an opportunity to be yourself."  guess who said that!  well who ever it was i enjoyed those words and are something i am going to take to heart, especially this friday night when i pack my sexy bags and go to Montreal.  dang right you can never waste an opportunity.  absolutely dang right.  
also read a cool music lyric:  its the blues of course but i liked it very much but as i write this i think you know what?  i am going to save that one for later.  it was just that bluesy and that cool.  
i just looked at the photo stash here on this machine and this was the photo that reminded the most of what its like up here during that long and devastating winter.  cept i can’t see it so i guess i don’t have this spaces thing figured out yet!  but if you can see it, i can’t begin to tell you just how frosty it was when we were out there that day.  thank goodness its behind us.  i am looking forward to some beach time where the big clothes are gone and the little clothes are on!  woo hoo!
anyway.  i am rambling here i know.  its the cabin fever thing setting in.  you see there is no one around to chat with or do anything with.  i am totally and fully and completely on my own.  its just me and my paint brushes and the great wide open that is the snow covered wilderness.  so i shall leave it at that and keep from boring you to tears or sleep. 
ApE ril 27th:  sometimes when you are out here and alone, you have these strange thoughts.  they come over you as quickly and as quietly as cabin fever.  today i was out and i saw a range and thought what the view must be like from up there.  refer to the photos i added in my north country album today.  its a beauty cliff face and the lake, well i don’t know what the name of it is but i can tell you right now, if you drowned in it, no one would ever find you.  i saw a pair of loons sailing on it and they seem to manage just spanky.  i took the jungle trail totally unprepared for the wilderness.  stupid street running shoes and my hair hanging loose, no gloves and no weapons of any kind.  no knife, no bayonet, no rifle and no side arm.  nothing.  if there was something out there with big teeth and claws, i’d be in the news tomorrow: missing instructor still missing…
see this isn’t like that dreamy spirit animal stuff i keep hearing about down south.  you can’t talk these animals up here in the wilds into doing anything.  up here they are real and on the same plane as you.  up here they are big and have huge teeth and extremely sharp claws.  and chances are when they see you it aint going to be no spiritual connection.  its going to be teeth to meat connection.  and it aint going to be your teeth.  its going to be theirs.  there aint no nicities about it.  you get killed and eaten.  they make off with your eyes, heart and lungs, maybe your liver and kidneys.  that leaves a terrible corpse for the RCMP "if" they ever find you.
so this is what i was thinking up there.  meanwhile i could hear something ghosting me.
and i could see the shadows sweeping over the trees.  there were giant buzzards circling and they kept coming back to where i was trooping.  it gave me the creeps seein those big dirty birds sailing effortlessly over the cliff side…
i was wondering: is it going to be me or is there some one else up here…
cause we are up the road from montreal 3 full hours.  if anyone wanted to dump or take care of something, that place would do it.  of course no one would drag a corpse way up there on the cliff…
then i heard something in the trees…
sounded like a breath, like an exhale.  i stopped and waited there for 10 minutes at least.  then i heard some twigs snapping.  the twigs that are left on the conifer trees at the base.  that is what i heard snapping.
you know when you’re out here you are scared all the time but when you hear that sort of thing you are petrified! 
what are you going to fight a bear with when you have no arms?
coarse language?
man it just aint going to fly up here.  you are going to be killed on sight!
my grandfather made it to 101 years.  i hope i have some of that in me.
may 30th…  whew!  lads its a hot one.  and its going to be hot all week.  now we aint complaining cause we are surrounded by water but still, we have to put a few hours in the classroom before we get into the field exercises.  just 5 weeks in the north country remain.  you stand at this side of the year and say wow!  that went by quick!
june first, 2006…  beauty way to start the month: sunny and breezy and not too hot.  yesterday was like a walk in oven.  we held the troops up in the shadows of the big pines to keep them cooled but i don’t know how well it worked cause by 530 yesterday afternoon there seemed to be a lot of kooks wandering the old sandy and dusty jungle spread.  we said good bye to all of that and went down to the airfield for a couple of hours.  the old strip is 2 kms long and is worth a visit.  we stood out there and of course there were no planes coming or going, but the view was fantastic.  we had a grand view of storm clouds brewing and approaching.  we haven’t had too much rain up here in the last couple of weeks so it was worth while to stand around and get soaked.  the rain didn’t last long!  soon the heat was back up on high and the bugs too were swarming everywhere.  so we left that place behind and rejoined the company still hunkered down in the shadows of the pines.  poor cats.
well i am feeling pretty good.
cause i know i am on my way out today!  i am leaving in half an hour and going to the south for some rest and relaxation.  its going to be good to get home and get that little girl’s arms around me!
woo hoo!
plus i’m booked at the Merlot for 7 p.m.  that swanky diner is on top of the Marriott hotel.  and the floor moves!  so while you sit there you get to see the whole city, 360 degrees worth in about 90 minutes.  and i know we will be there for at least 2 hours.  looking forward to it.  i hope our old buddy, the waiter, has our usual table set up for white vino cause that is what i am in the mood for!  looking forward to that.
and its kooky cause you can be here in the morning, in a pretty far and remote and kooky and frills free place, but at dinner time be in the best restaurant in ottawa.  its a total and complete 180.  and sometimes that is not an easy thing to adjust but hey, you have to and you want to.  that is the bottom line.
so adios boon docks.
i am on the road to some sweeter times and climes!
4 weeks remain in the north country.  today’s date:  june 6th, 2006.  wrote in a message this morning: june 6th, 1944, to see if the troops were paying attention and surprise!!  they were. 
the drive into a place like this at this time of the year is done entirely in daylight!  430 a.m. lads its time to get up!  nothing too exciting to report except for two large moose.  one came out of the bush and crossed the road just in front of us.  the other was laying there dead as dead can be, its guts splashed out all over the place.  looks like someone hit him in the hind quarter.  won’t be long before the ravens arrive i said to my associate. 
other than that: nothing much.  i can tell you the heat is up super high.  so up here in the bush, its not only a cooker, but dry and dusty too!  the lake here is big but i’ve only swam in it once and that was last october 5th and 6th…  with the autumn colors on the leaves.  we are a good distance away from that!
june 7th, 2006:  i found this book from 1994 in the rubble up here…  the book, life after god, by douglas coupland, i remember really had an impact on me.  there was something in those words, pages and pictures that struck a chord with me.  it was like hey!  this guy is writing about me!  even though many of the adventures the character was getting involved with were not me.  but the feelings, yes those were me.  it was a wicked time in my life, back then in the summer of 94.  wild and crazy times were most definitely developing but it was all in good fun and i hope some of those girls don’t speak badly about me.  but they probably do.  anyway.  i found the book up here in the rubble and flipped it open to page 150 and read the little paragraph and looked at the picture of a balloon floating away.  then i flipped to other pages and read some more and totally could not get into what this guy was thinking or feeling.  i thought wow is that stuff empty.  nothing!  300 pages of nothing.  man times have changed with you! 
good lord am i tired!  eyes falling out of the eye sockets tired…  i’m up here, its tuesday, june 13th, 2006, and wow am i feeling it.  been up here almost 10 months and when they cut me some slack in just 3 short weeks, i am going to be so happy!  put this place behind us and forget about it for the sweet summer months…   aaah…  just have to hang in there.  we’re looking at just 14 business days to go.  right now the door is wide open and there is cool breeze coming in.  the woods are filled with bird songs.  you can sit here and listen to them all day if you had to.  the landscape is very green.  the water is very high on the lake and those sandy beaches, i guess we won’t be seeing them again until september.  as for me: i just want to get back home to my family.  i am tired of all this.
june 20th, 2006: lads the end is very much in sight.  next week, next friday, is the end.  and we be hitting the road shortly after that!  life up here though remains unchanged.  found a can of something in the mess tent and cracked it open, to find soup of some kind, but it had been there for so long it had turned into a thick, grungy gel…  it was akin to alpo…  and i said there aint no way on this good earth i am eating that!  so i tossed it over the cliff.  its gone.  just like a bunch of old vids i’ve been lugging around for what?  12 years or more…  work related stuff from a job i am never going back to.  so what am i lugging these heavy video tapes for?  i deep six’d 30 of them yesterday and am thankful for doing so.  lessening the load.  its what i have to do these days.  all this old stuff, cobwebbed and dragging along, no one is going to watch those anytime soon so out with you!  whoosh!  i wrote a letter to my mom last friday morning and was going to post it when i got back to the city.  of course i didn’t, so there it is sitting there staring back at me.  my guess is its never going to get sent.
just like a lot of things around here…
june 21, 2006: longest day of the year…  started it out waking up on the couch.  that isn’t a pretty picture.  but looked around and saw where i was and went back to sleep.  only to be hustled up off the couch at 5 to see what all the racket was about outside.  seems the locals were into the sauce last night and a big old barney had developed right outside the cop shop door, which is just a door over from my place.  the women were loud and wild, spitting and nashing their rotten teeth.  after that cops had them settled in prison, quiet returned and i was back to the couch.  and dreamt!
in the dream i was back home, but not at the ranch.  i was home on treasure island.  michelle was there and we were looking over the great lodge.  i had a big maple blaze in full service in the fireplace and we were very happy because the place was ours.  we had bought the island.  and i was looking forward to telling mom the place was now officially back in the family.  what a dream!
i woke up from that, around 6 and thought dang!  that was a dream?  why can’t that one become reality? 
then fell asleep and dreamt i was climbing a mountain.  i was very close to the top and wondered if i had gone far enough and thought nope, i have come all this way, i’m going to the very top.  and there it was within range.  so i walked up there and found myself at the very tip, which was a spooky place to be!  the tip was unstable and there were rocks crumbling away under my feet and the view was grand but the footing terrible and i realized i’d made a big mistake going there.
i finally got the day started at 8. 
you see, in a normal jungle scape, like the one back home, you could get up and muster the troops at 5 every morning and have a great time.  up here, the jungles are infested with bugs of every sort.  i am serious!  when i go out there, it takes about 10 seconds for the deer flies to find me.  and they just don’t quit.  there are hundreds of them.  swirling about your head and its very unpleasant.  then there are the mosquitos.   you get them in the bush by the millions.  you look down at your bare arm and see about 20 of them digging in.  that is why you really need your thick jungle clothes and boots all year round, no matter how hot and humid it is. 
then there are the ants.  they cover the forest floor.  trillions of them.  if you stand in one place for longer than 10 seconds you will be covered in ants.  and that too, is a very unpleasant experience.
you don’t have these problems back home in the woods and fields around the ranch.  and of course you sure don’t have these probs down in ottawa. 
anyway.  just 7 and half days remain.
so our out is not far away.
june 28th, 2006: this is it!  i am the last one standing.  everyone else is gone gone gone!  and this old school house is pretty quiet.  so i’m here alone, kinda wondering what next…
cause right now there is no direction. 
so here i am.  alone with the ghosts of the remote northern wilderness. 
man you can really change your locations in a very short time.  i was back home at the ranch over the weekend, living in paradise.  even hit the brookwood brae golf and country club for the first time in 7 years.  times have changed mega since my last drawing back of the blade. 
but i have lived thank goodness and am very happy to be here.
monday i was back in the old poison city and that too was a very weird experience.  walking around the downtown streets, as a stranger.  some of the old haunts are now closed!  tried to call a few old friends and the numbers had been changed or disconnected.  and the  bus ride from suds to ottawa was horrific!  i should have taken the train.  or a plane.  the bus is no way to go.  at least not for me. 
i spent 8 years in sudbury.  that is a long time! 
didn’t walk up old fairview avenue though.  i guess that stroll will have to wait until the next time i can pass through the community. 
as for up here:  in the deep dark woodlands, i have no idea what is going on.  so i’ll just stay here until lunch time and go back to my filthy apt., which has been trashed again by someone who came in over the weekend.  they just can’t seem to leave my place alone.  i’ve been broken into and robbed i don’t know how many times this year.  but in breaking in, they have really turned what was a brand new pad five years ago, into a shamble today: smashed door, broken windows, leaks in the bedroom man you can’t sleep in there!  they stole my mattress.  broke the washing machine. 
what else?
well i don’ t know right off hand but anyway, we are leaving it all behind come this friday.  that is when i shall be going back to the city and switching clothes and going to the good city of montreal for an evening out, dancing and fine dining.  and this place will be eased out of my memory. 
good plan huh?
june 29th, 2006:  she’s one day at a time up here.  and when times get really tough, its one minute at a time!  kinda like today, as in right now.  but the word around the campfire is we could be out tomorrow at this very time.  which is going to be some fine looking roadway action cause i have plans for tomorrow night!  and its going to be a far cry from where we be this very moment.  just have to keep our fingers crossed that all goes well.
aint seen much of anything in the last 24 hours except two dead snakes and some moose tracks.  oh yeah…  several dead frogs, squished flat on the road.  aint no one going to cry over any of that, especially this boy. 
mid october 2006, after Thanksgiving:  added a few photos today of my big time commute to work…  that bush trail has been my to and from for 6 years now and you know what?  i think my times up there are soon coming to a close.  been back up there 30 days and times are tougher than the last.  we didn’t get that big old warm spell like last year so there was no swimming with the autumn colors and leaves.  in its place we got some cold cold rain and some big old winds, knocking down trees all over creation.  all the while i was thinking about opportunities elsewhere.  what kooky times must be going on in other parts of the country.  i guess i’ve had my fill of that woodland commute.  and i’ve certainly had my fill of living alone through those windy nights, waiting for the sunrise, not speaking to anyone cause there just aint anyone out there. 
november 25, 2006:  the old woodlands are still a place of peace but man you have to watch yourself!  been running around up there, along those trails and taking in what could be the last of the easy going.  usually at this time there is snow times ten but this year, the ice is forming and the woods are dry and cold!  those clear skies and sunshine over the past week was just too good to pass.  so we hit the trails for one last run about and i snapped a picture of the lake.  no loons.  no ducks.  and no geese, those wise guys have all split the scene and headed for warmer climes.  meanwhile we stay with the chickadees, the rabbits and the partridge and i wonder why… 
december 14, 2006:  holy mackinaw its mild up here in the north country.  mild like 5 degrees.  we have tons of snow and its in the melt mode.  so walking around out there is not an easy task!  to make matters worse, i’m still not in my winter jungle mode and man i need those big old boots now!  not next week.  ah well.  in one short week, one week from today, i’ll be out and on christmas holidays!  that is going to be sweet.  cause we’re taxing it up here.  taxing it and maxing it.  not a good combo when you are this far away from home.  but these mild climes sure do take the edge off. 
still…  i’d like to be home today.  i’d like to hear those stories the ladies have.  and of course i would love to see those ladies.  all 3 of them. 
december 21, 2006: last day in the north country.  let me tell you this boy is going to be happy to be on the road out of here!  cause man i am tired!  tired of being away from home.  tired of wearing these dirty old jungle clothes and tired of eating those scuzzy old jungle meals which aint fit for a mule, truth be told.  the good news is the sun is high and bright and its the first time we have seen those blue skies in 3 weeks!  no kidding. 
before i take off for xmas, visiting with the families, man i need a couple of mental health days.  i am sending the ladies on ahead.  they can go and have some fun down there and i am staying in the capital city at least one day on my own to unwind.  i need that.  cant go walking into a room of civilized folks straight out of this place!  i need a day or two and so i am taking it. 
have to love those mild climes.  its 0 degrees today.  not bad this close to xmas.  i know in years past i have driven home through a blizzard!  not today thank goodness. 
january 10, 2007:  we’ve been back in the north country just a couple of days, 2.5 worth when bamboozle…  out went the power supply!  that was at 8 this morning.  i knew something was up cause it was like living in a walk in freezer!  i woke up and it was mighty frosty!  i never minded any of that as i got myself started for a day in the ice box wilderness, she was minus 16 degrees at 8.  hit the forward position and not only was the power out, but the water supply was off!  we got into it about an hour before we had to shut it down for health reasons.  so!  we saddled up, the whole lot of us, and headed south!  so really, i’m here in the capital city in recline mode with the lovely ladies.  it isn’t any warmer down here!  but we can’t complain cause its been very mild up till today. 
its nice to be home mid week for an evening but i’m kinda wondering too, just how long is it going to take them to right whatever went wrong up there today.  it could be an off day tomorrow.  and you won’t hear me complaining if it is!
on that first day up there, we hit the lake and with the mild climes, i knew the ice wasn’t safe to go out on.  i told the troops to stay along the shoreline but of course some of them didn’t and took off running, heading for the shoreline across the way and we, 3 of us, watched, holding our breaths cause we knew it was only a matter of time before they went through. 
but somehow, they made it.  we were yelling at them all the way but they wouldn’t listen and i thought man this is going to be a dark day in our history books. 
but.  somehow they made it.
we were standing there watching the madness and suddenly there was a loud crack right underneath us and it went right between one of the troops feet!
we of course ran like hell for the shoreline and made it but i looked back out to others and thought oh boy…  one or two drownings coming up.
needless to say we aint going back out there again.  its the bush trails from now on, or until some of these young folks learn to follow orders a wee tad better…
don’t know if that is going to happen.
but we’re staying off the lake for now.
we were on our way to our island hide out.  which i was looking forward to seeing but that mad capped adventure put a damper on the fun and games of working in the wilderness.