Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nuclear Effect

 Most parents that I've talked to say that I'm nuts for having a group of eleven year olds playing rock music every Sunday in my basement.  I say they are wrong.  I LOVE the fact that this group of young people are learning how to play music at my house.  My husband and I are so excited about this that we invested $1000 to get the basement half way decent  so they have a place to hone their musical skills.  Yup...you betcha'...we now have a drum set, amps for both the bass and guitar- wouldn't want them to have lung that heavy equipment around after all - a mike and mike stand and a 300 Watt PA system.  We made many trips to the local dump to get rid of all the boxes and stuff that you just couldn't get rid of before.  You know...clutter.  We now have an air hockey table set up and couches surrounding the camping TV - yes....we have a camping TV, but that is for another blog -  hooked up to a brand new digital box.  The abandoned basement  has transformed itself into a teen hang out of the most righteous kind.
Why would someone do all that?  Well...think about this for a moment.  I know who his friends are, where they are, and what they are doing.  To top it off there are many studies that draw the correlation between music and increase in academic success.  Then there is the added increase in social stature within the teen ranks when you are part of a honest to goodness ear splitting...heavy metal....Rock Band.  Add all of this together and you begin to see my point. 
Now here is the added  bonus.  They are playing good rock music...the kind that we lived on in our youth......AC/DC...Guns and Roses....Rush.....Ozzy Osbourne.....KISS....Led Zeppelin.  They are a dedicated group of kids.  I don't know of any other group of eleven year olds who would meet every Sunday for over three months.  I can't even remember what I was doing when I was eleven years old, but I am pretty much sure I didn't start a rock band in my parents basement. I am very proud of all of these kids.  They are AMAZING. So let the floor boards continue to rattle.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My First Bottle Drive

Today was the very first bottle drive that I have EVER done.  I know...how can a 42 year old adult that has lived in Alberta all of her life never been involved in a bottle drive before?  This is something I cannot explain.  I am involved in sports, non-profit charities and education.  All of these things practically scream bottle drive.....but alas I was a bottle drive newbie today.
So I looked to a friend of mine for help.  She is the bottle drive queen.  She knew EVERYTHING.  That was good because I knew NOTHING.  Who knew that green plastic pop bottles could not hang out with the clear plastic pop bottles? That different beer bottles cannot be put into the same box because one was a screw off lid and one was not.  There are many rules surrounding sorting bottles I found out today.
There was a lot of volunteers helping out in their disposable gloves today...parents, students and teachers...even the principal came to lend a hand on her day off.  All of the proceeds go to the Saint Gabriel School Grade Six Field Trip to Edmonton. We need enough money to make sure that all of the kids go on the field trip regardless if they have enough money or not.  Cost needs to be taken from the equation to ensure that this opportunity is not lost.
The gym at the school was taken over by a dedicated group of individuals who worked diligently to sort all the bottles, count them into clear plastic bags and finally take them down to the local bottle depot.  Bottle after bottle....bag after bag....truck load after truck load...it all went away.  All that was left was the cleaning of the gym floor.  We worked through the "eeks" and "eeeww's"...through interesting smells....sticky floors....hands that were so covered in sticky goo that it required another change of the blue disposable gloves to continue....laughter.....jokes....and in the end a sense of accomplishment.
Does this mean that I am signing up for every bottle drive in the future?  Heck No.  But it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  Well, except for the overwhelming need to vomit when you first open the door to the bottle depot downtown, but even that does go away each time you make another delivery. It does mean, however, I am no longer a bottle drive newbie. Thanx for the experience.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Baseball

Fort McMurray Minor Baseball Association has an amazing program to engage youth in this community.... Winter Baseball down at MacDonald Island.  From November until May of each year baseball is a huge part of our life.  Twice a week for an hour and a half a group of youth meet down at the field house to learn new skills, stay active and have fun.  The group's leader is Reggie Rivard and with help from volunteers the baseball drills and scrimmage runs like a well oiled machine.  With a price of only $125.00 for the entire winter ball season and a new baseball uniform which makes this an affordable for quite afew families.  It got me wondering....how much would this cost elsewhere and is it even offered throughout Alberta.  So off to the Internet for me.  I found two different winter camps- one for 26 weeks at a cost of $450.00 + GST and another that was 10 weeks in duration for $250.00 + GST.  Hmmm.... makes one wonder doesn't it?  We often hear how Fort McMurray doesn't have much to do and we always pay more for things.  Rumours and half-truths are like fog, once the light shines it disparates and disappears.  We have a wonderful program right here in Fort McMurray that has done much for my family.  My son is excelling in a sport he loves, he is getting fit, and learning the importance of teamwork.  My husband has decided to volunteer with the baseball program which has helped strengthen the bond between father and son.  Not only that but both of them are spending extra time helping out on Sundays mentoring the younger kids. It is things like this that make Fort McMurray one of the best places to live.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

40 Something

Birthdays are a day to celebrate, eat cake and have red wine.  I was surprised early with my birthday presents because tomorrow is baseball night.  I usually spend both my birthday and Mother's Day beside a baseball diamond and it doesn't look like this is going to change any time soon.  This year I was pleasantly surprised as I gave no direction or hints as to what to buy.  So what did  learn? First,  I have to admit that gift certificates are not the end all be all when someone gets it right.  And second... the boys did good.
I received a 40 Something Wine Glass by Lolita that is beautiful with multicolored candles on it with 40 something written on the base.  Needless to say that the first thing that one must do when presented with such a gift is to get a bottle of good red wine - Shiraz to be exact - break out the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator and put the present to good use.  Anything else would be...well...rude.

To top off the birthday surprise I got a new Kodak Play - Sport Waterproof Video Camera.  I didn't think that I would be excited about something like that, but I was.  It is the same size as a Blackberry and can stand up to the punishment of my life.  I am not good with keeping electronics healthy.  I once had a laptop that lasted just alittle over a year - just past the warranty.  With a new blog and a new video camera that can also get still photos to use that also works under 10 feet of water?  Seeing definite potential here.  So stay tuned for some new videos of the places I have been once I figure out how to use this thing.  Manuals...one really should read manuals when dealing with new electronic toys.  Maybe that is something for tomorrow.  Tonight wine and card games.