Sunday, April 29, 2007

A FAMILY RECIPE PASSED DOWN FROM MY FATHER

As most people are well aware, some of the greatest chefs in th world are men. There is Bobby Flay from New York, the Iron Chefs from Japan, Colonel Sanders, Dave Thomas( Wendy's), Ronald MacDonald, Chef Boy R.D., And Albert and Walter(A&W)

My father was also one of the great chefs of all time.He could grill a Lake trout with the best of them. He made a great hamburger, as long as my mother had everything prepared. Hot dogs were easy for him to boil and could he ever put them in a bun.Now I know that most of these dishes do not make him a great chef. But,like all great ones he did have his specialty He even had the recipe published in a book called Silver Islet Specialties. So as a tribute to my father, it is my privIlege to share his recipe for stew with you.

RECIPE FOR ELEPHANT STEW

INGREDIENTS: 50 lbs Carrots
24 lbs Tomatoes
15 lbs Onions
20 lbs flour
2 Rabbits(optional)
1 box of Salt
2 lbs freshly ground pepper
1 Elephant

Preparation: Find the biggest pot you can. Add Water. Leave room for ingredients.Chop carrots and onions into small pieces. Slice tomatoes very thinly.
Chop elephant into bite size pieces. This should take about 2 months.Simmer in frying pan or turkey roast pan(elephant will determine size). When brown add water and flour to make gravy(enough to cover all pieces of elephant).Add vegetables and cook for at 450F for 3 weeks.
This is enough stew to feed 3,800 guests. If more are expected, add the 2 rabbits.

Only add the rabbits if necessary. Most people don't like finding hare in their stew.

And that is how you make my father's renowned stew.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Competition

They say competition is good . It produces new ways of thinking, new products, and new consumers. It also can, on some occasions produce some really good laughs.

Some of the people that I work with are just plain crazy when it comes to competition or having fun.One such "gentleman", I'll call him Brian is just such a person.

When I first started working at the building supply company I am with, Brian was already working there. Now Brian is about 6"3" tall which , as you all know is a little taller than I. One of the first things he said to me was " boy, are you ever short". I knew this man was going to be a good friend. As the years went by, Brian never missed a chance to take a shot at me. The store raised one of estimating counters so Brian would not have to bend over too much to work on the computer. As soon as it was done, he put a mark on the wall, just higher than my head.On this mark he wrote," YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO USE THIS COUNTER" I erased the mark and the note then started to plot how I would get him back. And I have. Whenever he used a computer that was not at his counter, I would tell him he was too big to work at our counters. The company has since made the counters standard sizes.

Back to being competitive. One year, we decided to have some friendly competitions for sales. The idea was to pick a product and try to sell more of that product than anyone else. If you won, the other person or people would have to bow down and tell you that you were the best salesman ever. In order to win you had to have the sale on a written invoice.

One time, in the middle of winter, we decided that the product would be garden hoses. There were about five us in this competition. As you can imagine, it took a while . The eventual winner was a fellow"JOE" who would ask his customers, as he was selling them ice-melt, snow shovels etc. if they would like a garden hose with that. Brian and I would be on the floor laughing so hard we would turn red.

On pay Fridays, a bunch of us would go for a POP after work. One year, just before Christmas, we went to a strip club. When we had consumed a few POP we decided to buy Brian a Christmas present. He was the perfect choice as he was the only one of us that was single. We all chipped in and bought him his gift. He told me later that he had enjoyed the LAP dance immensely.

The title of this is Competition for a reason. Brian is one of the most competitive people I have ever met. Especially when it comes to beating me. We had a competition one day for electrical. Whoever sold the most electrical stuff would be the winner as long as they had an invoice. It was a slow day for electrical while i was on shift and I didn't sell anything in electrical all day. Brian was on the late shift and knew this.The next day when I got to work Brian practically ran to the door to greet me. "Bow Down", he said laughing. "Let me see the invoice", I said, not trusting him. He immediately went behind the counter and pulled his invoice. It was for one, count them, one light bulb. He had written an invoice for about 75 cents just so he could win. Boy , talk about competitive.

I must say this. Brian is one of the best people I know. He is a good friend and golfing partner. We really do have a lot of fun together. I also just got him back for the short jokes.

Brian, Just wait until I get back. Then the real competition starts. ROFL

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Bulge from Tom

When I was growing up, I was an extremely lucky individual Not lucky in the sense that I found money, or had good fortune just fall upon me from nowhere. NO,I was lucky because from the time I was old enough to remember, I always had two best friends. This was the case until i was about sixteen years old. I didn't lose them as friends, we just didn't see each other as often.

One of my best friends was Scott. We grew up in the same town ,went to the same school, were in the same class and did just about everything together.That was for ten months of the year .

The other two months, my best friend was Tom Stinson(Tommy)
Tommy lived in Thunder Bay , Ontario and his parents had a summer camp at Silver Islet. My family lived in Hudson,Quebec but were from Thunder Bay and had a camp just three houses away from the Stinson's. My father was a teacher and had about 2 months off every summer so we went to camp.

At Silver Islet, there are no phones, no running water and no electricity. What better place for two young adventurous boys to spend their summer We were like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.Tom was Tom and I was more to the Huck side.

Year after year when we would arrive at camp, the first thing I would do was run down to the Stinson's to see if Tommy was home."Wanna do something after supper""You bet"

Most evenings we would head off fishing at Lake Surprise. We would catch perch after perch after perch. Occasionally, if we were really lucky we might even catch a Speckled trout. I remember one time we saw a beaver swimming about a hundred yards from where we were and not two minutes later we caught a trout.That beaver became a lucky symbol for us. Of course, when we got home we had to take a movie of us catching this trout off the end of the dock. I took a turn and then Tommy took a turn. You would have thought we caught a marlin.

Often,we would just play in the forest around Silver Islet We never considered the fact that there were bears, If you met one, you either ran between two trees close together and when the bear hugged the tree you slipped out and ran away Or if you couldn't find some trees, you would just have to stick your arm down his throat, grab his tail and turn him inside out and he would be going the other way. Thank goodness, we never had to try either of these methods.

The best times were when we were at the edge of the lake. Silver Islet is on the north shore of Lake Superior and the rocks at the shore are pretty big. Tommy and I could run along those rocks like mountain goats in the Rockies. We used to play tag down there, jumping from rock to rock and not worrying about falling.

We also had a seaway. Every year we would clear the channel of rocks the winter had moved in and every year we would extend the seaway a little more in length. It had been started by my older brother and his friends. We would make tugs and freighters out of old scrap 2x4 , tie them to a piece of string on a stick and spend many very happy hours being the captains of our very own boats. We would play there day after day hour after hour, happy as pigs in mudhole.

In the evenings my dad would go fishing on Lake Superior and I would go with him. I always wanted Tommy to go too. What's fishing without your beast friend?

We would do so much together.We went camping, garter snake hunting to throw at girls, just made pests of ourselves. One year we even made a home made trap to catch a ground hog.We really were inseparable.

Growing up in the fifties and early sixties there was great fun. Tommy was a great friend and when it came to doing something we might get in trouble for, I must admit I was Huck Finn and he was Tom Sawyer.

Unfortunately, Tommy passed away a few years ago. We are often told that when we lose someone we love, there is a hole left in our hearts where they were. This is true. But I also think that love doesn't just leave a hole but creates a bulge in our soul where it takes up residence. We become better people as our souls grow with the love of people we have known and loved. The more bulges the better.

So Tommy, Thanks for the bulge!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

geocache country

white bottle is bear spray
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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Geocaching in the Rockies

Two years ago, my Daughter E, phoned and asked if we would like to try a new sport called Geoching. Having absolutely no idea what this would entail, my wife agreed.
Apparently, We were going to borrow a GPS , which we had never used and going to be going out to the Rockies to do a scavenger hunt of sorts.
I had a picture in my mind , of us blindly bumbling around looking for this geocache in the middle of nowhere.
"No, no" said my wife. We will be given co-ordinates or the geocache and we just use the GPS to find them. "Uh Huh".I told her I didn't think wandering around in the middle of the bush in the Rockies with absolutely no idea what we were looking for was a good idea. Of course, I lost out on that point. We would be on hiking trails and no geocache was more than 20 feet off the trail.That's better but what is a geocache?
A geocache is a hidden receptacle that contains a diary of some sort and possibly some small items that can fit inside. You may remove one item and , if you wish. replace the item with something else that you have brought with you.
Off we set for the Rockies and just east of Hinton we started looking for our first cache. E had put in our co-ordinates and the ones we were looking for and off we set. It didn't take us more than 10 minutes to find the first cache. Inside were various items and we took out one item and added something that we had brought with us. E signed our names and date in the diary book and out we
went to the car to set off for our next cache. This was going to be easy I thought and really couldn't understand what all the fuss about this great new sport.
We found a campground for the night close to where we would be starting our "hunt" for the next cache in the morning.
When we were ready ,after a good night's sleep,E put in the co-ordinates for the three caches we would be looking for that day. They were basically on the same trail on the same mountain. I thought we would be just going on a nice enjoyable hike. Off we went up the mountain on a very good hiking trail. The day was beautiful. Part way up E. told us that according to the information on the Internet, this was a miniature cache that we were looking for and so was going to be quite small. She even let me use the GPS and kept telling me that it was not a compass and not to use it as one. I finally got the hang of it and got us to what was supposed to be 20 feet of the cache. We started to look. Nope. not under that bush. Nope, not behind that. Remember, this is a small cache. start searching the trees. AHA! There it is. I'm pointing to it. It was a 35mm film case that the cacheur had drilled a hole in the tree for. He had glue the case in the hole, put in a slip of paper for the diary , put the top on the case, painted it the color of the tree and then glued a pine cone onto the top.YES! We had found a really a hard one. The next ones should be easy. The GPS indicated that we had to head up the mountain so off we went. After about 15 minutes, the GPS said we were getting farther away but we were still on the trail. E thought the cache w at the top of the mountain from the clues on the Internet so we kept hiking up and getting farther away according to the GPS. We thought maybe you have to go up and then down on a winding trail that would bring us out below where we were. That would bring us right to the co-ordinates we were looking for. To the top we went. No other trail down! HMMMM? Maybe we missed it somewhere. Down we went,watching for the co-ordinates very carefully. When we arrived at the "correct co-ordinates, we searched and searched. Couldn't find anything. We decided to find the third cache which proved to be surprisingly easy. We entered our name in the log book and put in an item we had brought with us. We decided not to take anything from this cache.
By this time it was about 4 o'clock so we decided to head back to the campground. We still couldn't figure out why we couldn't find the second cache. E decided to check the co-ordinates we should have been looking for. OH! OH! When the co-ordinates were first put into the GPS, one number was entered incorrectly. We recalibrated the GPS with the correct number and tried to figure out if we had bee at all close. YUP we had. The cache was at the top of the mountain within 100 yards of where we had been. NO, we didn't go back. It was a two hour climb up and we had others to look for the next day.
All in all it really was fun. By the time we got home we were hooked. We had seen parts of the Rockies and surrounding areas that we normally would not see or even think about looking for. There are some fantastic places hidden just out of sight and off the beaten track. We were so taken with the whole experience we even bought our own GPS so we wouldn't have to borrow one. If you want an interesting sport with great exercise ,try Geocaching. The caches are all over the world.

Monday, April 2, 2007

owen on his computer

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Growing Young With Your Grandchild

I remember when June and I had our own children. We were very excited with all of them and watched them as they grew from new born to little person. We raised them with love and security. We watched in amazement as they progressed through the learning stages of life . Learning to recognize us, learning to eat solid food and chew, learning to talk, creep, crawl, and walk. we were truly amazed and yet we got so busy taking care of them that we took a lot if it granted. we became parents.

As parents, we watched our children and wondered how they would turn out. What would they be? Would they be good people? Would they be successful? Would they be healthy? And as we did all these things we began to get older.

Then we became grandparents. Since Owen was born , we have started the reverse aging process. We are becoming younger as we interact with him and again watch in amazement as he changes from newborn to little person.

As a newborn , he was a blank slate He was completely dependent on his parents for everything. About the only thing he knew was the sound of his mother's voice.

We have watched him as he has gone from this blank slate to the little guy he is today at 7 months . It is truly amazing how much children learn in their first year. They will learn more at this time than in any other time in their lives.

During the past week , June and I (mostly June), have had the privilege of babysitting Owen. During the week we have watched as he has played in his Muscle Builder(Jolly Jumper), started to crawl, Can sit up by himself He is learning to talk and blow. He laughs at things that amuse him and watches to see if he amuses you. He can be very stubborn and has a temper at times. He knows that if you do certain things to the computer, certain actions will happen. Erin bought him a movie and he watched as she put it in her laptop. He then watched the movie but his attention would go back to where she had put this disc. Where did it go?

If you make a sound with your mouth, he watches to see how you do it. He then tries to mimic the sound that you make.

His uncle Craig bought him a new toy where you pile one object on top of another. These objects are on 4 plates that rotate when you push a certain button on the toy. He has learned that he can knock down the objects , hit the button and have a nice noisy toy, He loves it. When he does this, he looks to see if you are laughing with him.

He also learned that big people food is much more tasty than baby food. He just has to chew a lot more. And a drink of water is very good to have with his meal. He has also learned that dessert usually tastes better than anything else.

he has not done anything that most babies don't do. The only exception is he has made me feel and think young again. I think , wouldn't it be wonderful if we could remember back to our first year and what we were thinking,. I watch Owen as he concentrates on certain things and think to myself, "What is he thinking?". I get a great deal of joy watching him as he just bounces around in his muscle builder just for the sheer joy of it. I am amazed when he demands to watch his videos on the computer. I go soft when he smiles at me.

Am I just a proud grandparent as a friend of mine just wrote me? Of course. I kow she is just yanking my chain when she says this. That's what friends are for and she is a good friend.But I am a young proud grandparent and getting younger.