It’s the end of the summer of 2016 and already there is a change in the air, there ‘s a certain nip to the breeze, a indication that fall is around the corner. I took to the bike yesterday and there was a different feel to the evening, it was a good different though for me, I like the fall and a fall in Newfoundland is like no other. The leaves will soon change, the air smells extra clean, fresh and I seem to get the most inspired. I can honestly say that the fall is my best time of the year, I just like the look and feel of everything.
The talk of vacations and travel plans start to dwindle and the Christmas chatter begins to make its way into conversations already with the first person to speak of them to be quickly shunned of course. “It’s too early to talk of those things, didn’t you just get back from summer vacation?”. That may be the case, but you know yourself that time flies and before you know it. Just the other day I received my first Christmas party request for a work function, imagine the first of September and I now thinking about gifts. (Switch topics)
I took a walk just last night and the air was crisp and clean, it made me think of home and growing up, I thought of school nights spent playing with my friends trying to make the best out of the last days of summer that we had left. September was upon us and we’d soon be packing book bags and lining up to get the best seat on the bus, dibs back row. I asked my little nephew Dalton a couple weeks ago about school and before I had the words out of my mouth he goes “don’t even talk about uncle Ash”. I had to laugh because I’ve been there and there no worst feeling than knowing the sands of the summer hour glass were quickly trickling away, I felt for him.
Speaking of school, my daughter is in town for her first year at university, yup, my little girl is about to start a new chapter in her life and she seems to be taking it all in stride. She says she’s excited and I know she will be ok but I can only imagine what must be going through her mind. Ashton, like me, will be coming from a small rural community and I remember it was intimidating to be finally on my own too but I never really felt like I was home sick or never capable of staying the course. I guess with my friends being around and being that some of them were my room mates I felt a sense of security like there were pieces of home with me. She will be rooming with a young lady that is also from her graduating class, so at least she will have a little sense of home with her as well. There’s a lot for her to experience and a time for her to start making her way through life, it will be full of obstacles but she is fully capable of taking care of herself. I can only sit back and watch her become a woman, she will have to learn like we all do, she has a great mind on her shoulders so I confident she’s going to be just fine. This is just another example of this time of year and the changes it brings with it, the fall is synonymous with beginnings from an academic perspective and this is just her’s, stay tuned.
Now if you not worried about school then maybe talks of the breakdown of patio sets or storing of pleasure boats fill the todo lists conversations. I was talking with a coworker the other day who was taking advantage of this last long weekend of the summer to winterise and lock down her cabin, probably the case for a lot this last hurrah of summer. I’m sure there are many families tonight sharing the last of the campfire stories and roasting the final spider wiener with the warm season winding down to an end. I’m glad my family and I had a chance the summer to eat by a fire and take in the beautiful summer night skies, we are lucky to be able to live here.
Nowadays a walk may require a coat, you could very well be rained on more often but this time of year for me is the best, I still like it the most. Summer is cool but this time of year I tend to write more, I usually pick up reading again or at least have more time for it. Summer is busy, it seems like you always have to be doing something when the weather is good. Cue September and something as simple a bbq has lost its luster because for the last three months it seems that’s all we’ve been eating, so I’m glad for the change. Fall is rich in tone, it was my grandfathers favourite season too, he loved it, I remember vividly of the smell of freshly cut trees as he would saw the wood that was needed to fuel the stove for the colds nights to come. The air would cut through me and the saw dust would get in my boots but there was something about that fragrance of autumn that made you feel good that you were alive, I miss my pop, but that moment makes me smile.
So, wrap your plants, school’s in, and I saw Halloween decorations just two days ago, summer may be over but it’s time to embrace the fall. What do you like about the fall of the year, any memories come swarming back?, Any projects on your horizon?, leave a remark in the comments below and share.
Went for a ride today, after work and as soon as I got home. I was looking forward to it and couldn’t wait to get on the bike, but I needed a change, I had to take a new route to keep me motivated. First I started off relatively the same and was treating the ride as more leisure than trying to get a workout too. The weather was great, it was super warm, so everything was in place for a nice ride.
Once I was well on my way I decided that I would maybe bike a little within the neighborhood, maybe the streets would provide a change that I needed and provide some new perspectives. So off I went no route in mind, just wherever the road took me and if I saw something that I liked I would take it as it came.
Right away I was enjoying the ride, I’m not really a fan of the traffic so I opted to take the sidewalks which provided lots of room and allowed me to focus on my pace rather than the traffic that was screaming pass me as people were commuting about. To be honest I am getting more accustomed to riding the bike than driving my car, it’s a lot less stressful and you get to see more than you would in a vehicle.
Peddling for a bit I came upon this spot where it looked like a path was leading into the inner park that weaves itself throughout my neighborhood so I was curious as to where that would take me so in a heartbeat I veered left and had no idea what I was in store for. The trail was much like the one that shoulders my street, lots of playgrounds, foot paths and small bridges that interconnected everything and at the same time gave me more ideas of routes for another time that I am in the area.
I’m maybe fifty minutes in by now so I start to ask myself if I wanted to keep going or shall I call it and make my way back home, but of course I kept going. After taking the urban trail way for another short ways I then found myself on the street again but now I had a direction in mind so I took the roadway a short stint until I made it to another park entrance and I was bound for Bowring Park , a very beautiful park that is nestled in the St. John’s, Newfoundland downtown area, it’s rich in history and provides for some of the most tranquil and scenic walks.
I had made it to the park and it was teaming with activity, kids were using the skate park, there were people playing catch and I was surprised of how many people were playing this new mobile phone app game called Pokemon Go, they were everywhere but eh, at least they were outside. The park was so beautiful and there was so much that I wanted to photograph but I new my time was getting short and had to start to think about returning home, it was a long way back.
I had a look around and took some more photos but soon started my journey back to home base, the gas tank was getting empty and by now I was pushing a couple hours. The way back was and is a bit more of a challenge as there is a slight incline the whole way, I had to really focus to get back to a rhythm after my leisurely passage through the park.
On the way back I happened to pass this little Syrian child that was walking with his mother, he was so intrigued by me and my bike, almost cheering me on, I gave him a quick thumbs up as I passed him and he smiled back at me surprised by my acknowledgement. I have to say that he was one of the highlights of my trip, his little face was so interested in what I was doing, my own personal little fan club, awesome.
I was gone for over two hours and it was a route that was pretty much on the fly but those are the best sometimes, never knowing where you will wind up, I enjoyed it. It was a great workout, got to see some new stuff and stored a bunch of the trails in the whole memory bank for another bike adventure to who knows where.
Wow it’s been a long time since my last post, just needed the inspiration I guess and I have just the reason to start writing again. Soooooo, I got a bike, yup for my birthday and since then I have been biking every chance I get since April, it’s become my new passion. As soon as I got on that bike I was instantly hooked, I was even mad at myself for not getting a bike sooner. So far, having a bike is a plus for me on so many levels, keeps me fit, helps me de-stress and the big one is that I get to take advantage of being outside. If you are looking to expand your horizons and your fitness portfolio I suggest taking up biking.
I’ve been using Map My Ride as my primary tracking app and it helps me keep a finger on the pulse of exactly how far I’ve gone and certainly a good gauge as to how long I expect my journey to last. The app keeps track of your workouts and I can say that it’s very satisfying knowing exactly what you accomplished. Actually for me, the journey is the best part, you can go anywhere, no boundaries and all you need is a direction. There’s this trail way network that runs right along my neighbourhood in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and I have been using that mostly so far as I am getting more and more experienced as a rider. The trail way can take you east and it can take to west and then some, there are quite a few attractions along the way and plenty to photograph.
I have been usually hitting about 30K each time I go slowly aiming to get further every time. You would be surprised how far you are capable of going when you put your mind to it. Most of the time I find myself not wanting to stop, there is so much to see and so many paths not taken that has continued to keep me curious as to where I will end up next.
I see a lot of people using the trail way, there’s kids playing in playgrounds, people feeding the ducks, some the swans, there was even a group of people heading out for a canoe ride. The pond was perfect for it and it looked like a lot of fun, they seemed to be enjoying it, it was beautiful on the water.
It was warm and I really had to focus to get going, the heat zapped my motivation pretty quick but I struggled through and it was ok once I concentrated on my pace. Hydration was key, I made sure to drink more to accommodate for the high temperatures and because I was sweating a lot more than usual I made sure to stay on top of my water intake.
One of the best parts of biking is the way it makes me feel, it’s like the kid in me that enjoys exploring the unknown just takes over and there’s no telling where I will end up. I always wonder how far I would be capable of going if I really tried one day, the one thing I do know is that I intend to find out. Anybody can ride a bike and I bet if you took a chance and gave it a shot you would agree, for those who already have biking in there arsenal I hope to see you out on the trails sometime, it’s fun ain’t it?
To close I intend to blog about my trips and I aim to challenge a few trail ways in my area. I am going to make that a goal of mine for the summer and well into the fall. I plan to document my excursions and post some pictures to diarize my accomplishments, you’re very welcome to virtually come along.
A whistle from another room, a few words of a song,
I would hear your voice and come running along.
I jump into your lap, frighten you with cheer,
You would simply caress my back and say “oh dear”.
“Where are you going?” you would always ask,
“Don’t know my father I just have time to pass.”
“Be careful and steer clear of trouble he would often warn,
Watching over me from the very day that I was born.
Sleeping as he rocked so many times he did,
I would play fun and steal the hat for his balding head.
Not a word of scorn was ever cast my way,
Not at the beginning, not even your last day.
That rocking chair sits still, how I miss your song,
I feel all alone where do I belong?
I know you wish the best for me to live a happy life and do what I can,
Raise a family of my own and be a good man.
You are my true father as I am your son,
I will continue your wishes your every one.
I will be the man you hoped I’d become,
to honor your name I have already begun.
I am beginning to see that your spirit lives on,
So I will dry my tears and then move on.
I’m not sad anymore I feel your right here,
Singing that song, in that old rocking chair.
Your eyes now cast an empty blank stare,
But I know deep inside that you are still there.
I miss the talks, that we would always share,
When I came calling, you were always there.
I miss coming home to a well-cooked meal,
To a warm embrace, true love I did feel.
Gently caressing my head followed up with a kiss,
Those days are now gone, those days I miss.
How can this be, a woman of strong faith,
Barely knowing where to, hardly knowing a face.
No one truly knows the darkness you live,
Strangers amongst you, not much ever said.
You took me in when times were rough,
You made me a man, you made me tough.
You would always say that I was your boy,
No one now listens and I have to ask why.
What we had was special, something not like most,
But we new all that mattered was that we were close.
I yearn to hear you call my name, if just for one last time,
If this my only wish to be granted, then that for me is fine.
It’s hard mother, with you not here,
I want to kiss you, hold you, I want to be near.
I will move on for it would be your wish, you would want me too,
Memories of our time together will help guide me through.
You’re a saint my dear Theresa, in so many ways,
Sleep my dear mother and dream of better days.
I did something last night that I haven’t done in quite some time and that was play a board game, I didn’t need batteries, there were no wires, and I certainly didn’t need to be in WiFi range, just some old school board gaming fun. Gaming consoles, computers, and hand-held devices usually take precedent over more tradition forms of family leisure that we’ve forgotten how much fun a simple board game can be. That said, I do know of friends and family members who still make board games a staple in their entertainment arsenal but I bet there are more that don’t. Growing up I would always have a few board games scribbled down on my list for Santa, they usually would come as a secondary gift or maybe that gift from an aunt or uncle, but like a lot of things over time, I just grew out of playing them on a consistent basis.
Whether you still play board games or not, they do have a certain appeal to them, they are nostalgic, reminiscent of Saturday night battles with your parents for household dominance, and of course the bragging rights that usually lasted a couple of days were the icing on the cake. Although it takes a lot sometimes to dig them out of the inner bowels of the dingy part of the basement, or maybe the cobwebbed corners of the attic, but once dusted off and all pieces are accounted for, they can create some of the most fun filled nights with the people you enjoy spending time with. The occasions in which I have spent time playing board games have always been a pleasant experience with friends becoming foes and couples taking jabs at each other all in good fun. Some games require little to no prior experience as they are familiar to most of us but then there are other newer games that may need a dry run or two, each and all with their own degree of challenge.
Board games are great ways to reconnect with friends and/or family that you haven’t spent time with in awhile, there’s no “what time do we show up?”, there’s no perfect outfit to wear, there’s no “what do I need to bring for food?” none of those typical internal debate type scenarios that come with planning a fun night. No, you just need everyone sitting around the kitchen table or claiming a spot on the couch in the living room and once you Google pizza, scratch food off the list. It is that easy, and they make for some of the best nights out and easier on the pocketbook I might add. Because we have so much going on in our everyday lives that a night out is welcomed in most cases, but like I have said, sometimes a night out can also be stressful as to where to go and what to do. Unfortunately, an option that rarely makes that list is to simply stay in, that’s right, pick up a good bottle of wine, make sure you have plenty of snacks and oh yeah, don’t block the scoreboard. My cousin, a game connoisseur, actually makes a point to collect games and from time to time he invites us over for an evening of board game bliss. He picks the titles at random, once situated he helps us with few turns around the board, but then that’s it, we are now supposedly ready to defend, capture or quiz, all on our own.
Yes, some games are simple in concept but there are others that require intellect, strategy and know how. If you are a pop culture fanatic, well that’s huge with some genres, patience is a vital asset when determining when to strike or when to make that game changing move that shakes things up. Consider yourself a trivia buff? Well, you will definitely be a hot commodity in the team picking stage. It’s fun watching as couples use their partners as allies or completely throw them under the bus because they didn’t pay attention to the board and now the other has the upper hand, too bad, now it’s their turn, “no do over’s”.
The contents of the games themselves are for me a fun part of the experience, those little pieces are so cool to play with, your inner child just screaming inside. Elements of the game make the game stand out like play money, meticulously carved game pieces, and the dice, they all give the game character and create that certain type of atmosphere each time you play. Many games are very educational and are best shared with your children, for them leaning becomes fun, and for you a great bonding experience that lasts forever.
The next time you’re scratching your head and racking your brain for something to do, or you just need an excuse to get together, break out the board games. Keeping it simple sometimes can allow for some memorable moments with the people you love, and the people you love to beat. Make sure to stop on the way back from work or school, grab that beverage of choice, leave the wings on the counter to defrost and prepare for a night of “go back two spaces” or “who was Robin Hood’s girlfriend for $400.00”.
Just a couple days ago, while completing a task on behalf of my employer I had the pleasure of taking an extended drive to a community by the name of Conception Harbour, Newfoundland. I had never been to this place before, but I was elated that I had the opportunity to visit this small town because it left me with so much inspiration. This little hamlet was absolutely gorgeous, being that it is now the fall of the year gave my early morning drive that much more character. The trees painted in oranges, reds and greens stretched along the harborside, the perfect morning for such a delightful cruise. The homes both new and old were nestled amongst the ever growing assortment of trees with an ascent of wood smoke that scattered the tree line and dissipated as it lazily rose to the sky.
I had completed the task at hand concerning my job, so I took five paces, crossed the small street before me and stood there to enjoy the panoramic bliss. I took a big deep breath, the salty air filling my lungs brought me right back to the days I would venture down to the shoreline and visit my grandfather as he was salting the daily catch of cod fish and mending his nets. As I perused the coastline I could hear my own heart beat, the sound of the tide rushing in and out was therapeutic; in the foreground seagulls were quietly sitting atop of a weathered bait shed that seemed as if it was paused in time, rich with history.
It seemed virtually void of any time, quiet, peaceful and not a soul was around to disturb my moment of reflect. I thought about being a young boy again, scavenging the shore for whatever treasures the tide would bestow upon it. I thought of the yarns that were spun as my grandfather and his buddies would sit all day and talk about what is and what was. I looked across the harbour, the trees were several shades of October, and every home that I saw was a place I would love to call my own. For a moment I felt like I could just stand there forever, it was so calming, and made me instantly homesick.
We take our lives for granted most of the time; we are way too busy to sometimes appreciate where we live. For me time goes too fast, everyday a monotonous, robotic ritual that tends to consume my ability to enjoy the small things in life. We move at such a pace that before we know it so much of our lives have passed by, technology has taken our attention away from the beauty that is before us when all we really need to do is look up.
I read all the time how we slowly lose touch of reality, handheld devices have turned a lot of us into electronic zombies. Nobody really talks to each other anymore and when we do we always take that quick peek at our phones because somebody just took a “selfie”. I had a conversation yesterday with a good friend of mine and that’s what we spoke of, we talked about what we did before we had these distractions. “How did we get by?” The answer to that question is simply this, we just enjoyed each other, we enjoyed places, and we just enjoyed “life”. Like I said before, my grandfather would stand on the side of the road where all his peers came religiously every morning and they would talk all day, to each other, face to face, it wasn’t much but it was genuine.
As I stood there in that brief moment of time I was lost in my thoughts, completely in awe of the sight before me, I smiled and began to walk to my car. As I mentioned earlier, I became instantly inspired, I was itching right away to tell people about my excursion, I couldn’t wait to write about it, I literally could have stayed there for the rest of my life and just wrote, it was so good for the soul.
People fly all over the world for an experience that I had virtually in my backyard, I mean a forty minute drive from town can have that much of an impression on me, well, it certainly did. I’m a small town guy, I grew up in a community much like this one and I guess that is purely what it was for me that morning, it’s in my DNA, I lived this laid back life for much of my youth, a part of me still misses that.
In closing, I thought that I would share this with you; I hope you too can take a moment to enjoy what you have around you. Enjoy your family, your friends, take time for yourself and reflect on where you are in your life, how far you have come, and even where you are going. We have so many other distractions in our lives on a daily basis that we fail to give ourselves a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the real world. Never take what you have for granted, we only get a short time on this planet of ours, so every now and again we just need to stop and smell the ocean.
Well, Halloween is just around the corner, pumpkins are being snatched up left and right, blow up decorations are popping up on lawns all over the place, and last minute costume ideas are being googled right now at this very second. I have always enjoyed Halloween, as a kid, as an adult, no matter if I did anything or not. I just love the buzz that day creates, the joy that is brings. People all over the world are gearing up for another night of fending off ghosts and ghouls for the big sugar rush.
The fall colours allow for the perfect backdrop for such a holiday, pumpkins pop with shades of orange as leaves turn a deep red. There’s a chill in the air for character and the wind tends to whistle, all keys assets in creating the perfect eerie atmosphere, and yeah, it’s a different kind of dark out.
By now most kids are planning their routes meticulously making sure not to fall victim to the door knocking hordes that only affect your candy bottom line. Nope, it has to be perfect, each home studied in years past and marked with its own payload of tooth aching loot. I know for me mobility was everything so an actual Halloween night costume had to be a stark contrast to the school dance one, it was all about the candy tonight baby.
Halloween night has a feel to it, it was and is still is a night you just know is different from the rest. The anticipation of the looks on people’s faces as they caught a glimpse of the costume you were wearing, and if you were wearing a legit winner, then all the more satisfying. We all lose our minds coming up with ideas and spend tanks of gas gathering up the parts we need across town, and mind you, you still need to put it all together. Opting for one of the store bought costumes will save you years off your life but there’s no better feeling when you had everything to do with the costume you are wearing.
Kids are no different, when they have a super sick costume on, they beam with happiness, they want to stay like that forever, or at least go to bed wearing it. Being a kid is what Halloween is all about, the mystery and excitement of living out your fantasies with friends. Picking that perfect costume and having the benefit of changing your mind every year thereafter, it’s about imagination, sometimes teamwork and most of all creativity. Then there’s the candy, the candy is the best part, pouring your exploits out on the living room floor and beginning to allocate the treats to their designated tastiness was a sense of accomplishment mixed with sugar highs. The candy acted like a timeline of matching treat to house and rating the house on whether or not we would return next time around. The following week I would have pockets of goodies to please my sweet tooth and enough to use as currency on the schoolyard, I was in a good place.
I was more of a two bag guy; I know there were some who would spend all night collecting treats trying to break their old distance records and padding their house count totals. They would plan ahead and stuff an extra pillow case under the heavy sweater they were wearing and bring that extra mask for the deceptive maneuver of retrying a house wearing a new identity, bold move. Halloween has so many good memories like that for me growing up, some of the best times to be a kid, a lot of fun.
As an adult we still get to enjoy Halloween, its actually encouraged, we too can make believe and have fun with the annual spooky night. Some of the best parties that I have attended were Halloween parties, people put a lot effort in pulling one of those off, and it was fun to be a part of. Some places that I have worked took part in costume contests, I once earned a day off because of the costume I was wearing was voted the best. Pumpkin spice is the new orange, hands are hanging out of trunks, and your spook meter has gone up a few notches, Halloween is all around us so we may as well have a good time with it. Everybody loves a good scare, right?
No matter what your age, Halloween is a great escape from our normal lives, as kids we loved dressing up and getting to see our own kids or grandkids play those same parts are great memories in the making. Be a kid again, it’s ok, “trick or treat” resonates with all of us and when we think of Halloween the next thing that should come to all of our minds is candy, candy…..candy.
Tonight I got the urge to walk to the corner store, the foggy mist was low and sky was getting dark, a beautiful night for a brisk wet stroll. I grew up without a car in my family, both my grandparents, who raised me, were relatively old and never had a need for a vehicle. So for me, that meant anywhere that I needed to go I had to walk, I didn’t complain either it was no big deal.
Anyway, usually when I resort to walking these days it has a tendency to bring back old memories of my ventures when I was a young boy. My walks to a friends house, those nights coming home from a school dance, and my adventures to the wooded areas behind my house are some of the memories that would come flashing back.
It’s funny how familiar we get with the paths we choose to get us to where we have to go, the rickety old fence, that big crooked tree that looks like its about to fall to the ground with the slightest touch, or maybe it’s an annoying barking dog that just wouldn’t shut up. If you paid close attention I’m sure there are things to this day that you remember from your own journeys. I sometimes would have to hop fences, stopping by the blueberry bushes would almost always distract me for a moment or two, and oh yeah, passing through the broken street light section definitely put a lump in my throat. I knew those paths like the back of my hand, I bet I could still do some of them with my eyes close, well ok, maybe not. The twists and turns I took felt like they were my own, I’m sure many people traversed the same route everyday as well, but I bet they are not writing about them today like I am, hehe.
Walks allow me to clear my head, for that short time you forget about everything, no technology craving your attention, void of all traffic aside from the odd fellow passerby with their dog whose usually in a manic sniff leads the way. Tonight was just me and the sound of my own steps, the air was clean, the leaves sparkled orange as they change with the season, the mist was refreshing with my mind free of any ill thoughts.
Sure, I could of gotten into my car out of the rain, driven to my destination in less than a couple minutes but no, not tonight, why make it so easy and deprive myself of such an experience. I enjoyed that walk, I felt like a young boy again, tempted by the puddles of water, curious of what was glimmering at the trailside just ahead of me, don’t get excited it was only a pop can sticking out from the ground. But a walk can do that, its always an adventure, you never know what you will see or who you will meet.
The next time that you need to clear your head, collect your thoughts, or seek inspiration much like I did, hence this post, take a walk, go on you will thank yourself for it, trust me. A lot like me something like a walk to the convenience store doesn’t really have to be such an inconvenience.