Ashback # 3 – Very Very Sneaker there Mother!

cokeshoes

Hello all,
I can’t recall the year, couldn’t even guess, but yours truly used to rock those kicks you see above. How cool was I? Gosh, I was about ten, eleven, maybe even twelve. I’m telling you, they had me at “that cool thing that I drink is now on my shoes”. Right away, I was awestruck. I stared and stared at those “make me the coolest guy in school” sneakers for as long as I could. A crosswalk had flashed don’t walk, so I had about a minute to take it in before we had to move on. I could almost touch them. They were right there behind a thin pane of glass, front and center, on display in the storefront of a sports apparel store. The whole time I was hoping that my mother at some point, might have seen me drolling and bought them for me. You see, I was a very shy kid and the chances of me asking for them straight out were pretty slim. Although go ahead and ask her now, she’ll tell you that I definitely don’t mind asking anymore. Love you, mom! No, dear readers, my signals must have gone unnoticed as my mother didn’t even turn around, didn’t even flinch. Then, just what I needed, the crosswalk switched and the little glowing man taunted me away from the window. I gave chase to the rest of the gang. Those Coke sneakers were all I could think about the whole way home, or more specifically, back to my aunt and uncles place in the city where we were visiting.

Continue reading “Ashback # 3 – Very Very Sneaker there Mother!”

Home is still home…

I’m just now getting around to posting about our holiday back in Harbour Breton this summer and it was everything that we had anticipated, it was a great trip all around.  We took each day as it came and as on the fly as it was we actually got a chance to do everything that we had set out in our minds to do.  Our goal was to make sure to see everybody and do a few things that we used to do when we lived there ourselves, simple as that.  It’s been about three years since we travelled home so we wanted to make sure to make to the most out of it.

One of the first things that I did was take a quick drive by the home that I grew up in.  It feels weird now returning home without my old house to visit, the house although virtually the same had this unknown feeling about it, like my chapter and the chapter of my family there had been finished.

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I took a long look across the harbour, so many memories came rushing back, for a moment it felt like I never left, everywhere I looked evoked emotion.  The rolling hills with the calm shoreline created the perfect backdrop to my moment of reflection, it was nice and a great way to kick off the visit.

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The trip home was a drive and then some so for the first night we mostly just talked, got caught up and enjoyed each others company.  Family gatherings are a cliche without trying to be, you all pile into a common room of the house, energy all around you, everybody talking over each other, we were home.  Kids tugging at your shirt tales, dogs barking at every thud, food coming from every angle, there was a controlled chaos.  We talked until the early morning hours but it was getting late and there was a whole new day before us.  We all began to turn in when it came time to delegate rooms, we snagged the room with the superhero sheets, my inner nerd rejoiced.

A highlight of the trip for me was the fact that I did manage to get to borrow a bike and get two bike rides in, I was so happy that worked out, something else that was on my trip home bucket list.  The first one was an impromptu ride with my nephews, they loved every second of it and I was glad to have the opportunity.  A flood of memories came back as I cruised the streets like I did as a kid, it was surreal, I could almost feel myself back there.

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We were’t sure how long we had for this spur of the moment adventure but you know what? I was too busy reliving my childhood to care, with the kids leading the way we were now heading to the beach.  I must of went down that dirt road a million times as a kid, it was a great ride down memory lane, the trail was not letting me down, what a ride.

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About a quarter of a ways we ran into my uncle in law who is a very talented photographer, we did the stop and talk and he asked for a photo op so we got our picture taken, it’s the one you see below, by the way here’s a link to some of his other work.  With a short walk across the beach we were on our way again, there was just one last leg of the ride to go.

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Bike ride, check, now we were about to take a boat ride for a boil up.  We were feeling quite spoiled as guests and it was only getting better, we all climbed into my brother in laws’s boat and he proceeded to pull away from the dock.

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As we sped down the harbour, with smiles all around, I couldn’t help think of the time I would do the same with my grandfather as we ventured out fishing or beach combing the shoreline.  The two dogs, Max and Major were loving it, you could tell they really enjoyed getting out in the boat and we were glad to be tagging along.

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It was decided due to the wind that day that we would opt for an alternative spot to pull ashore, this gem of a location was second to none, we landed on the north side of Jersey Harbour and right next to the M.V. Home.

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I took a walk with my littlest nephew Brandon and we went berry picking, the berries were everywhere.  It was like our own personal berry drive thru, blueberries to the right and raspberries to the left.  Because of the views all around us, I couldn’t help but to take a moment and reflect upon the fact that people had once lived here some time ago, I was once told that horses once roamed wild and galloped free on the banks of the shoreline, it was indeed a different time, a time I’m sure somebody misses everyday.

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We had scallops by the shore, roasted wieners by the fire and marshmallows because come on, you got to have marshmallows.  We spent the time combing the beach, exploring the wreckage, and skipping rocks as far as we could.

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It was so peaceful there, the ocean  was swaying in and out teasing it’s tides and drawing concern the odd moment from the skipper.  Time seemed to have stood still, the air was warm and the smell of smoke was therapeutic in a way, it was like the rest of the world was put on pause.  Sometimes it’s the small things that give you the most satisfaction in life and it’s unfortunate we don’t take the time to do those things more often.

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It was time to pack up and head home, with Brandon assuring that the gas was topped up we began to load up the boat and begin our venture back.  The return boat ride was just as beautiful as it was when we left, getting to see the harbour again from that perspective as we steamed along was a moment we surely will not forget, day two proved to be quite rewarding.

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What’s one thing that you got to do when  you get home?  Give up? You got to visit the local “best fries south of everywhere” restaurant.  You know, that place with the secret recipe for gravy, no trip home is complete without that.  My fiance and I took a seat at a table that was in a place that look exactly like it did when we were teenagers, it was pretty nostalgic. We had the place to ourselves and just talked about our trip up to that point, it was like we were in a time capsule.  After taking a look around and while waiting for our food we started to share old stories of the place, so many memories triggered by the smell of chicken fingers dancing around your nose and it smells exactly the same.  The food didn’t disappoint and it was just as good as we remembered and now we had the visit to the restaurant checked off our list, so far, so good.

Like I mentioned, I managed to get in two bike rides and the second was by myself, the town was my map and I had no idea where to start.  So off I went, I zoomed by the post office, zipped past the bridge that connected both sides of the harbour and decided to head down toward the area where I grew up.  I got off the bike for a second and took a picture of my street where I grew up.  It looked so small, how could twenty or so kids jam a hockey game in place as tiny as that?  The amount of hockey games that took place in the spot pictured below I couldn’t count, but I can certainly recall the Stanley Cup moments we used to relive, good times.

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I biked virtually the whole community and if it wasn’t for dark I would have kept going, I knew I wouldn’t get the chance anytime soon so I was getting my fill.  It was a beautiful ride and it also proved to be quite the workout as well, there was so much to see and I still didn’t get a chance to see it all.

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The bike ride was fun and I got to retrace some of my childhood steps, it was nice to incorporate my current lifestyle into a visit to the small town where I grew up.  It has been maybe twenty plus years or more since I was biking the old neighbourhood, I’m happy that I made a point to do it.

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On the last night of our trip we went to my brother in law’s cabin, it was about an hour away from the Harbour Breton and for us, it was a hour that we shaved off our trip back to Mount Pearl the following day.  The cabin road was modestly marked by two poles that signalled the beginning of the dirt road leading the way to the cabin which was nestled deep in woods overlooking a huge pond, it was a beautiful piece of land.  As soon as we pulled up you could notice the abundance of berries that were ready to pick, I took a bunch with my first swipe, how convenient.

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As the evening drew near and the sun began to set we started to make a fire, the evening breeze was calm, the flies were staying away and there were s’mores in our future.  As mentioned the cabin overlooks a pond that stretches for miles, a loon call in the near distance reminds you that you’re on mother nature’s door step. That night we sang songs and played music with everyone lending their voice to tunes we knew half the words to. The best times are the times that just happen, much like that night, an impromptu song and dance was all we needed to cap off a wonderful retreat.

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There was a certain calm about being off the grid, no notifications prompting your attention, no status updates, no city traffic, nothing at all to create stress, just a quiet that was very welcomed…thanks Travis and Juanette.

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The morning of the last day of our visit the birds were chirping and the smell of the trees filled my lungs, this was god’s country for sure.  I started to imagined throwing it all down and staying in the country forever and living off the land and turning to a life of the bush people, but quickly realised this was me I was referring to.  Though, I can’t stress enough the need for experiences like these, we need them, it does wonders for the soul.

We left that cabin that morning feeling happy, a little hungover, but happy.  We spent a great night in the woods with our family which had put an great big explanation point our trip home, so with all the goodbyes said, we took to the road and headed back to the city.

When we decided to go home for our vacation this year we had no idea what it would be like, but the one thing is for sure we are so glad we did.  The time was spent with family around us, chats of a time gone by and conversations of what’s to come.  I used to say  that home is relative to where you are, now I stand corrected.  Going home to where you were born and raised, you know, there’s a whole familiar feeling that starts to fall over you.  Of course you can make happiness anywhere you live in the world but spending a subtle moment to return to where it all began has proven for us that no matter what, home is still home.

A change in the air.

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.

 

 

I want to ride my bicycle…

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.

Happy trails

Ash

Christmas already, wasn’t summer just yesterday?

I was out running some errands last night and I have already seen glimpses of Christmas prominently being displayed at certain department stores.  It seems like every year it shows up earlier than the last, I mean even my colleagues have already began discussing the amount of pay periods to the holidays.

It’s funny because every year as usual, once Christmas has come and gone I always state, that for next holiday, I will be “ready” and I will get a head start on what I need to pull Christmas off.  Yeah, well that never happens, I never go into the holidays prepared as it were, I always stress out just like everyone else I guess.

The way things are nowadays the world doesn’t slow down for anyone and their’s always someone wanting to be the first out of the gate.  So I guess you really need to be all in, you need to push your products and merchandise or unfortunately be left at the starting line.

From a customer perspective it makes time fly for me, I start seeing Halloween merchandise in late August, that for me means October is already here.  I see Christmas displays in September then Christmas slips into my subconscious and I then need to start thinking about the dreaded “lists”.

Commercialism is shoved down our throats so much as it is, even on a year round basis, when the holidays are upon us all that goes into hyper drive and we are put on full blast to buy the newest, the best and the most expensive.  They have us right where they want us because as a parent there is no escaping this, our kids do the ground work for the big companies, they are the ones that want what they are selling.   We live in the technology era and new only last for a day, then its on to bigger, better, and faster, it’s a vicious cycle.

I know things won’t change, if anything they will probably get worst, but to see the things I did on my errand run last night was just depressing to thing that not too long ago I was having a drink by the pool side, now I need to start thinking about when to dig the tree out from storage.