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.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

OUR MAY BIRDING VACATION

 

One of many Scarlet Tanagers we saw during the week.
Rob and I were on vacation the second week of May, and for the first time in a couple years our vacation was all about getting out every day and seeing what birds we could spot. I'm not sure how many species we saw, I didn't keep track. What I do know is that we saw more species than we had in a couple years and we had a great time finding them. 

We stayed in the GTA for most of our week off, but did do a couple day trips down Niagara Way, and one overnight trip to the Port Rowan, Long Point area, it was great to get back there again.    

Please enjoy a few photos from our week long birding vacation. 

I'm always happy to see an Orchard Oriole.


We were super excited to spot a Red-headed Woodpecker!

And there were two! 

One of two Great Horned Owl fledglings we saw along with an adult.

Saw quite a few Blue-headed Vireos this year, one of my favs.

We had some great looks at a few Blackburnian Warblers, Rob's fav. 
On My 10th we drove down to the Port Rowan/Long Point area for one night. It was wonderful to visit the area again after a couple years. I didn't know it at the time, but I was going to spot some pretty great warblers, not lifers, but two we don't see yearly, and I have never spotted them before. We did get a lifer on this trip thanks to a couple birders letting us know of a bird a long way from home. We also went to our Whip-poor-will spot at dusk and for the first time, saw a couple, as well as heard many.
Great to get here again, & meeting up with Kerrie for the first time in 2 years made it even better.

My first great sighting, a Blue-winged Warbler.

This Green Heron was doing a lot of calling, and it was the first time we ever heard one!

My second great sighting of the day had me very excited because of the awesome view!
 Probably Rob's best pic of the week. Golden-winged Warbler! 
Every May vacation we have what we refer to as our "Bird Nerd Moment". This year was no different. We went to the Port Rowan Wetland's area to do our usual walk around. A couple other birders were just leaving, and they told us a Loon was there. I was doing something in the trunk while Rob was talking to them, and then I heard a mention of a Black-necked Stilt in the area. What?! A rare bird for the area and a lifer for us, we were hopping back in the car pronto to go find it. The guy asked us, "Aren't you going to go see the Loon?" as we were speeding off like a scene out of the Big Year movie. We did go back to the Wetlands after, and we did see the Loon.
Our lifer, and a bird a long way from home, the Black-necked Stilt.
After all that excitement we got checked into our B & B and then headed out for dinner the next town over, as nothing was open in Port Rowan. After dinner and closer to dusk we headed out to what we call our Whip-poor-will spot, and they didn't disappoint. We actually saw a couple too! I saw one fly ahead of me, and Rob saw one land on the path. That was a first! 

The next morning after breakfast we headed to Backus Woods for a walk before driving back to Toronto. We dipped on the Prothonotary Warblers, but saw Scarlett Tanagers, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. We were also serenaded the entire walk by my favorite bird call, the Wood Thrush.
Wood Thrush calling.

Love seeing the Trilliums.
We were up and out again the next morning to visit a couple parks along the lake and were rewarded with even more Scarlet Tanagers and some great warbler views. 
Bay-breasted. Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, and a Norther Parula.
We decided to visit a park we had earlier in the week on the Friday, it was noticeable quieter, but we still had an enjoyable time.
Magnolia Warbler.
It was a mutual decision to remain at home on the weekend and enjoy the birds in our backyard, all the go, go, go was catching up to us. 
Love when the Baltimore Orioles return to the yard.

Baltimore Oriole couple enjoying a bath.

Is it just me, or do they look guilty?! 
It was a very busy, tiring and enjoyable week off. I look forward to doing it again next year!