Friday, July 26, 2013

Greatest Segue Line

Robert used to tune my piano. He travelled all through the Peace Country of Alberta and British Columbia tuning and repairing pianos.

Robert is a big man – 6 ft 8 in - and has enormous hands that can span 13 keys on a piano.

 He used to be an instructor and examiner in both classical piano and classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto; he also composed a lot of music that is (or was) included in the conservatory syllabus. He's an accomplished jazz virtuoso as well.

What makes this remarkable is that Robert is profoundly dyslexic. He can't read music, can't even read his own name most days. Everything he's ever played or taught or known is memorized.

After a long career at RCM, he retired and moved to northeast BC, where he started a new life tuning and rebuilding pianos, repairing antique clocks and charming the local ladies. He even rebuilt the antique touring car he took on his rounds.

I can't remember how I found him, or he found me, but it was a long and very enjoyable friendship. He often stayed the night at our place while on his semi-annual road trips tuning pianos. Husband and children enjoyed listening to him play the piano, or play improvised duets with me after supper (although the son did once say “It's very hard to get to sleep for school, Mommy, when you and Robert are playing music all night long.”).

I'll also state for the record that Robert is the number one, top-of-the-heap most neurotic person in our wide and diverse collection of friends. Those who share him with us agree. We still love him.

One day at our place, he told us that his life's dream was to be a welder.

Excuse me? All those gifts and talents, and he wants to learn how to weld?

He bought all the equipment and paraphernalia that any welder would want in his or her dream shop. Then he found himself an old codger to teach him how to ply his new trade.

Robert told us about his first lessons, the trials and tribulations, many failures and few successes.

Then came the greatest segue line ever:

“After I welded my gloves to the bench, the old guy looked me straight in the eye and declared, 'You can't be taught.' ”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Road Trip Rogue's Gallery

Road Trip. 

What a lovely phrase.

This particular road trip took place the first week of July.

Destination: Peace River, AB 
Distance: 1200 km each way 
Event: wedding
Ancillary action: drinking

It started out great. It didn't finish up quite as we expected, but whenever does Fate take us where we intend?

First evening.  400km. Found the very last available room in Valemount.

Sunday evening. 600km. The Oasis  a.k.a Don and Renee's yard.

Don, Renee and Bryan. Gettin' shiny.
You'll notice a beverage theme in this rogue's gallery.

Favorite son Marlon. Canada Day in Grande Prairie.
37C on the deck. Lovely visit.

Favorite son's favorite lady Krista - Queen of the Bellini.
Miss Abby was featured in a previous post.

Canada Day evening back in Valleyview.  Bev cooling down.

Gerald. Doing likewise.

Randy and Karen. Not my photo but we were so busy
having a lovely visit that the camera never got used.
Stole this pic from Karen's site and it's just perfect.
Maddox and his Grandma Bernie the Gardening Queen.
I have spent many an hour in this garden, both working and relaxing.
Grandpa Gerry was mowing, valiant man that he is.

Many years of love and labour expended here.

Can't forget Maggie the Brussels Griffon.

Obligatory flower photo - Martagon lilies in Bernie's yard, fickle beauties.
I want.

Back in Valleyview and a barbeque at Mike and Gail's.
Denise and Gail listen to the tall tales and edit when required.

Dale and Mike, storytellers extraordinaire ... and it's all true ... mostly.
Mike and I have a book project pending, don't we?!

I'm going to insert a break in the photos, here, because this is where the story deviates from the itinerary.

We arrived in Peace River Friday afternoon, checked into our motel room and gave our bones a rest.

Saturday morning was wet and windy so we didn't venture out. Friend Vince stopped by for a visit, and then it was time to go to the wedding. When we went outside to ride to the church, this is what we discovered:

If you know anything about motorcycles, you will know that this is a busted-off brake lever.

Someone vandalized both our motorcycles. Both the brake and clutch lever were broken off Bryan's bike.

It's a sick feeling, being the victim of vandalism. Sort of wrecked the mood for us, which was the joyous celebration of a dear friend's marriage, and additional opportunity to reunite with long-time friends.

We attended the wedding mass. It was beautiful. The wedded couple's decision to have the receiving line at the church directly after the mass was fortuitous because it provided time for us to briefly visit with our many friends there.

However, Bryan was so upset by the vandalism that the idea of attending the reception was not feasible. He called the motor association to come load our bikes and take them to Mike's place at Valleyview.

Bikes loaded and almost strapped down.
Interesting exercise getting bikes without hand brakes onto a tilt-deck.

Sunday morning, Mike very generously lent us his white get-around pick-up truck. The guys loaded my bike and we headed back home.

A trip down Highway 5 isn't complete without a stop at the Log Inn Pub in Avola,
for beer and one of their World Famous burgers.

Sign says it all.

A peaceful moment along the North Thompson River, south of Avola.

By the time we finished supper at Avola, we were both much more relaxed and resigned to the outcome of the trip. It could have been much worse in so many way. In truth, this was more of a serious inconvenience. And although we didn't need it, it was also a reminder of how blessed we are by the many kind and generous friends we are privileged to call our own.

So many people didn't make this edition of the Rogue's Gallery, but you know who you are and your day will come!

And we will be back because one year from the date of this latest wedding, we're heading back for another. Congratulations, Don and Renee!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cookies 'n' Milk

Bruce is the Snack King ... when things get hectic or spirits need lifting, he's the guy with the comfort food.

Friday was Cookies and Milk Day. Not just any cookies, mind you, but good old Dad's chocolate chip cookies (I think they're very much a Canadian thing).

He even remembered the milk - cartons in lieu of glasses and a jug 'o milk.

Sean instructs Bruce and Lisa on proper dunking technique

Sean and Lisa enjoying cookie goodness.
 Can't tell you how much Sean looks like his little daughter Kayden,  especially here!

"Cookies?" says Janice, "Don't mind if I do."

Not sure what's going on - graphic designers are drawn to images, what can I say?

Roger exhibits cookie dunked ....

... and cookie eaten.
"You don't get my size without knowing how to do this," he declares.

Do we know how to have fun or what?!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In the News

You can't make this stuff up.

Stories from the July 10, 2013 issue of The Morning Star, Vernon BC:

Cocaine taken to RCMP office
Morning Star Staff
A Vernon woman discovered that while on current probation conditions not to possess a cell phone, it’s not a good thing to bring a cell with her to the local RCMP detachment.

Nor is it a good idea to have drugs hidden on you.

On July 4, at around 7:15 p.m., a North Okanagan Traffic Services officer was trying to locate a 48 year old woman he had previous dealings with to issue her court documents associated to her driving while prohibited and drug-related charges.

“The officer had been given a new phone number to contact her at and what makes this case a bit unique is that she is on a court order not to possess any cell phone from her previous interaction with this officer,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

The woman came to the detachment on her bike to pick up her documents. While there, the officer noticed her cell phone in her back pocket. She was arrested on a breach of condition for two different files,
and when she was in cells she was found to be in possession of five pre-packaged bags of cocaine, 0.66 total grams hidden on her person.

“While she was in custody, her phone received calls looking for drugs,” said Molendyk.

The woman was held in cells pending a court appearance on Monday.

Impaired friends get vehicles impounded
Morning Star Staff
 It was back-to-back impaired driving arrests for police in Spallumcheen Monday.

At about 1:30 a.m. at the Otter Lake Road roundabout, a police officer checked a vehicle with a 37 year old female driver who showed signs of impairment.

“The driver blew a fail in the roadside screening device and was issued a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition,” said Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson.

The officer offered to take the woman home but he was informed that a friend was on the way to get her.
“About 10 minutes later, a vehicle approached the check stop and the officers spoke with the 47 year old woman driver,” said Molendyk.

“The driver told the officer she had come to pick up her friend who had just been stopped for being impaired. While the officer was speaking to the second driver, he noticed a strong odour of liquor on the breath of the second driver.”

The second driver was asked to provide breath samples in the screening device, and she also failed.

The second driver was also issued a 90-day IRP and both vehicles were impounded by officers for 30 days.
“Both drivers accepted a ride back to their residences by the officers this time,” said Molendyk

Biker Girl

Just a brag shot. Have more to tell about journeys north in a few days when I have space to breathe and think.

Yes Grandma's bike is dirty ... there are bugs in the north country.