Saturday, December 31, 2022

A LOOK BACK AT 2022

 

My birding highlight of 2022, I found a Boreal Owl in Toronto.
January - The new year didn't get off to great start. Rob came down with Covid on the 2nd, and me a day later. Thankfully we were able to recover together at home. Care packages from friends and family were left on the porch and much appreciated.  January 17th was the first day I had any real energy and took advantage of it by getting out to play in the snow!
Never too old to make snow angels.

I love a good snow day, when I'm home to enjoy it.
 February - While out for a Sunday nature walk with Rob, and with the help of some noisy Chickadees, I found what I thought was a Saw-whet Owl. I was quite excited and happy about that, as I had never found a Saw-whet Owl on my own before. After Rob posted on social media about it, he started getting messages about my Saw-whet Owl possibly being a Boreal Owl. WHAT!?! Thankfully the owl stayed put over night, and we were able to go back and get another look, and photo of our lifer Boreal Owl! It was nice to look at it, knowing what it was. He wasn't as deep in the bush as he was the the day before. I spend less than a minute looking at an owl when we find them, as I'm more concerned about not flushing them than anything else. I was grateful for the second and much better look. 

Our first look at the Boreal Owl. 
March - Finally made it to the first Canadian location of Carlo's Bakery in Port Credit! I was super excited to go there, Buddy the Cake Boss is a happy Las Vegas reminder for me, as his restaurant was the first restaurant Rob and I ate at on our trip in 2018. There is now a second bakery location within walking distance of my work. I have yet to decide if this is a good thing or bad thing.
Carlo's Bakery, Port Credit, Ontario
April - Easter was celebrated in April this year, along with Merry & Molly's 7th birthday. Turning 7 officially makes them senior kitties, but you wouldn't know it the way they act. They're still our big babies. 
Merry & Molly, from kittens to seniors at 7.
 May - May is all about the birds and the return of the summer migrants. We had a week of vacation to bird locally, check out some new spots, and an overnight trip to the Port Rowan area. Our main highlights were on our Port Rowan trip where a tip from another birder had us jetting off to see a lifer wayward Black-necked Stilt on someones front lawn, and best spotting was a Golden-winged Warbler at the Long Point Provincial Park.  
Black-necked Stilt and a Golden Winged Warbler.
June - This was the most difficult month of the year. Dad's ashes joined Mom's on June 21st. My older brother Jeff and my oldest niece, Ashlee, flew from Alberta to join me in Nova Scotia for this difficult day. I hadn't seen them in four years, so this was a huge comfort to me. We were surrounded by friends and family, some who we hadn't seen in decades. It was so nice to see and spend even a little bit of time with everyone. I know Dad would of loved that. 
Dad's ashes joined Mom's on June 21, 2022. 
July - The highlight of July was finally getting to celebrate my Cousin's birthday, along with my own, together. Our birthdays are three days apart in June, but because I was sick the weekend we were suppose to celebrate, it got postponed. This marked the 10th time we had celebrated together, we enjoyed the usual lobster dinner and cake for dessert. She gifted me with a lovely and thoughtful scrap book about our meeting, discovering we were actually related years later, and of course our birthday celebrations over the years. 
Birthday dinner and cake. 
 
A very cherished gift.
August - We don't venture far during the summer months, preferring to enjoy our weekends in the backyard. I did however take in two pretty big concerts this August, The Stadium Tour featuring Joan Jett, Poison, Motley Crue, and my favorite band of all time, Def Leppard. Later in the month I was able to see the Scorpions, Rock Believer Tour, as a friend had an extra ticket. It sometimes amazes me that I am still going to concerts of bands whose posters use to wallpaper my teenage bedroom wall.   


Summer backyard shots.


Joe Elliot of Def Leppard, no zoom required, I was that close. 

September - We had a week off in September to celebrate Rob's birthday, and met up with some friends for a long overdue Raptor Encounter at Mountsberg Conservation Area. We spent a couple nights at Port Severn Lodge over Rob's birthday, and ended our vacation with a day trip to The Donkey Sanctuary with childhood/school friends.    
Fun at Mountsberg, and at lunch afterwards with friends. 

Rob's birthday at Port Severn Lodge.
October - The weather in October was seasonable warm, and we took advantage of it by getting out for numerous nature walks. We were on vacation the week of Halloween and enjoyed day trips and walks. Halloween was more normal this year despite the rainy weather and Jello Shooters were once more made for the neighbors who wanted them. 
Some sightings on our October walks.

Happy Halloween!

Jello Shooters, because the adults deserve a treat too!

November -  I added a couple extra days onto my October/November vacation to go away with my girlfriend, Pat. We hadn't been away together since Oct. 2019, so it was long overdue. We treated ourselves to a two night indulgent spa package at Ste. Anne's Spa. Later in the month Rob and I were off for another week to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We planned a trip to Algonquin Park, as we hadn't been there in about five years, and spent two nights at the Couples Resort in Whitney. 
Ste Anne's Spa, a most relaxing and indulgent getaway.

The Pine Marten alluded us for years, but we FINALLY saw one on our 10th anniversary! 

Always thrilled to see Gray Jays in Algonquin Park. 
December - Things were pretty much back to normal this year, with an in person Xmas lunch at work which was enjoyable.  On December 17th we joined my Cousin Andi, and her husband, Dave for our annual Xmas get together which includes a delicious dinner, dessert and gift exchange. Started my Xmas break with brunch and Espresso Martinis at Toast on Bloor before Rob had to leave for work. Xmas Eve was just the two of us, no nature walk this year as it was much too cold. We opened some gifts Xmas Eve, and some Xmas morning before going to Rob's parents for dinner. Boxing Day and the 27th were spent at home watching movies and being lazy. Merry and Molly LOVE Boxing Day! New Years Eve is always spent at home, but at least it's not going to be so bitterly cold, so we should be able to get a couple nature walks in before 2023 is upon us. Wishing you all a wonderful 2023!  

Espresso Martini, what Santa left us, and the kitties enjoying Boxing Day!

Yummy goodies enjoyed over the holidays.


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

SMILES & TEARS

 

I miss him.
This past June I took one of the hardest trips to Nova Scotia I've ever had to take. My Father passed in April of 2021, but his ashes finally joined Mom's on June 21st, 2022. 

This trip was weighing on me more than I even realized until after it was over. It was a whirlwind three night trip. I flew down on Father's Day and having my older brother, Jeff, and oldest niece, Ashlee, pick me up at the airport was the support system I didn't know I needed. I hadn't seen them since 2018.

They had flew down a day earlier and spent a day in the south shore so Ashlee could see Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, and Mom's home town, Liverpool.

After picking me up at the airport we headed straight to Five Islands. A place we went to often as kids to visit family and camping. We also enjoyed deep fried clams at Dad's favorite place to get them.

Dad would of approved.

Ashlee and Jeff.
It was fun surprising family who had no idea that Jeff and Ashlee were coming. I stayed with my Aunt Betty and Uncle Dennis for two nights and with Jeff and Ashlee the last night at the hotel, as our flights back home were very early in the morning. 

Monday morning I took Ashlee for brunch before she had to start work, remotely on BC time. I then spent the afternoon going through boxes of pictures and other small items that Betty had collected for me when she cleared out Dad's house. That evening I went out for dinner with a couple school friends.

Dad's service was Tuesday, and it's all a teary eyed blur now. Many people attended that I didn't expect, like a high school teachers husband, who came in her place, as she wasn't able to. I held it together pretty good at the service until Brad's Paisley's "When I Get Where I'm Going" played, then the tears flowed. 


Friends and family gathered back at Aunt Betty's after the service. It was a wonderful turnout. I caught up with so many relatives and friends, even if it was only for a short time. I reconnected with cousins I hadn't seen in forty years! I am go grateful for everyone's support during this trip, it meant the world to me. I know Dad was smiling down on this gathering, he would of loved it!



  

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

THE STADIUM TOUR

 

From Def Leppard's Facebook Page
It's a bit surreal to me, that at the age of 53 years old I'd still be going to rock concerts of bands whose posters wall-papered my teenage bedroom wall four decades ago. But this past Monday I found myself doing exactly that. I attended The Stadium Tour at Rogers Centre (Skydome) where Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Poison were supporting co-headlining acts Motley Crue and Def Leppard. 

I was without my concert buddy Brian as he is on vacation with his family in another province, so I attended this show solo. I think it's only the second time in close to twenty years  that I've seen Def Leppard without Brian. He was on vacation the other time too. He normally takes photos, I don't, as I prefer to just enjoy the show, but I did manage to take a couple this time around.  

One of the things I noticed right away as I was walking to the venue was all the different ages of the attendees. There were kids with their parents all decked out in their swag, teenagers, and people in decades below and above mine. 

I wasn't quite sure where my seat was when I arrived, but was thrilled when I found out I was only about 12 feet from the stage. I was in the second row right in front of the thrust. It was also nice to run into a couple rocker friends I hadn't seen in a couple years. 

Michele and I waiting for Joan Jett, stage right behind us!
 
 Hadn't seen Michele since 2019 at Def Leppard and Tesla in Hamilton. Colour is funny in the pic due to the stage lighting behind us, I edited it so we were't blue.

Michele took this pic of Joan.
CC of Poison

Bret of Poison

Cellphone lights during "Every Rose has its Thorn".
In my opinion, Bret Michaels was the shining star of the evening. He had so much energy, heart and charisma. I enjoyed all the bands, but Bret really stood out.
Another shot of CC.
Def Leppard followed Poison, with Motley Crue ending the night. I didn't stay for the whole Crue show, as I wanted to avoid the chaos of leaving with forty thousand plus others. 

Rick 

Vivian and Phil
Def Leppard's acoustic set. 

Joe 
The next morning I had to smile when I saw Tommy Lee's Instagram post from the Toronto show. I noticed these two girls during the Poison set. Their seats weren't far from mine. They were having a blast, singing along to every song. It was like looking back in time, and I suddenly remembered the joy and excitement of seeing my favorite band, Def Leppard, for the first time in 1988 at the Halifax Metro Centre at 18 years of age. Watching those girls made me smile, and I cannot imagine how excited they must of been to be posted on his Instagram,  good for them!    

Screenshot of Tommy's Instagram 

As long as these bands keep touring, I'll keep going.