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Let the good times roll!

Have you ever felt free? No, not the Mel Gibson Brave Heart sword-throwing blue face paint kind of free…though that is cool. I mean the feeling you get when you don’t have a lot of things of your plate and life is fairly manageable. Yes? No? Well, I must say that I have not had this feeling very often in recent years. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I quite often write about how busy things are and how burnt out I feel. Well, guess what?

So if you haven’t figured it out (or read the last post), I am on sabbatical. Sweet, sweet sabbatical! I’m just finishing up my second week of this and it is fantastic. I could really get used to this for sure! It’s not that I’m doing nothing all day…I’ve actually been quite busy, but there is no work related stress. I’ll get to everything I’ve been and will be up to later, but for now I am enjoying every minute. As the band The Cars once said, Let the good times roll!

We have now passed the midpoint of February and as usual time is flying by (that has not changed). The weather has been up and down, but it looks as though were heading toward more spring like conditions. I can’t wait to get rid of this snow and get out into the field.

The first few days of my sabbatical were consumed with a project in my basement that was several years in the making. It’s about 95% complete and I hope to have in done in early March. Last weekend I plunged a little bit back into work, kind of. My fellow football coaches were interested in attending the Glazier Football Clinic in Minneapolis once again (I believe this was our seventh visit) so I tagged along. As usual it was a great experience and I certainly came back with some good information for our athletes. Getting away to another city was nice too, though twelve hours of driving in four days is a bit tiring.

Glazier clinic vendors area, February 2016.

Glazier clinic vendors area, February 2016.

First clinic, February 2016.

First clinic, February 2016.

I will have lots of time to rest up over the next week while I relax on a Caribbean cruise with my family. At the time we made plans for this sabbatical (my wife teaches at the same school I do), we decided that we would take the boys on a trip somewhere since it is so much cheaper to travel outside of March break. We did go on a cruise for our Honeymoon, but it’s been a while and obviously the boys have not had the experience. We are travelling with friends of ours, so we will be in good company while we visit such places as Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman. Looking forward to the great experiences and warm weather!

Since I’ve been so preoccupied with other things, I really not spent a ton of time on the railway. I did make one brief trip to the museum to photocopy a file and then expended a few hours at the library looking through microfilmed newspapers. I forgot how tiresome that could be, and how “easier” it was when I was in my twenties. Thankfully the museum will be of some assistance since they do have a number of papers digitized, which can be keyword searched. Unfortunately I will still have to plug through some papers the old-fashioned way, but c’est la vie!

Museum files, February 2016.

Museum files, February 2016.

Things will get on track once we get back from our cruise as life will be a little less busy. Besides the aforementioned trips to the museum, I do need to start work on my portion of the John Paulson article I’ve agreed to do. The plan is to present this paper at the Northern Great Plains History Conference in Saint Cloud, MN in September. I also have some interviews to conduct south of the border once it becomes more spring like outside. Did I say I wasn’t busy?

Anywho, I should get rolling. I still have some stuff to take care of before we leave. I’ll be back in a few weeks with I’m sure a bunch of things to report on. Until then…

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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in History, Railway, Research, Travel, Writing

 

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Can it be that time already?

Yes, clearly it can. It is amazing how quickly time goes by when you least expect it to. I mean, didn’t we just start the new semester? How could March Break be next week? Well, it is and it’s not like I’m complaining or anything; far from it. I could actually use a break. I know, poor teacher, what to do with all those holidays. I really am tired though…verging on burnout. It has been a crazy month; no wonder the time has gone by so fast. Oh well, I’ll have my little break, feel better and be in the same boat I am right now in another month. Isn’t life great?

Hey, so I’m back. Yes, I took a little vacation from the blog last week as I needed to do a lot of catching up and there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot to say. This week has been a bit more eventful and I will regale you will all the details.

So I decided to skip a post last week (I’ll probably be doing that more often) since I had just come back from my trip to Minneapolis and really had not done any railway related stuff in that time. The Glazier Clinic was awesome, as it usually is. It was a nice blend of learning, relaxation and fun. I spent most of my time with two presenters; Matt McCarty from Northwestern College and Mike Duffner from the Jacksonville Jaguars. None of the information was earth-shattering, but every little piece of new information helps. I certainly have a number of new things for next season and I can’t wait to try them out.

As I previously mentioned, school has been humming along, at breathtaking speed albeit. I’m still trying to cope with the challenges of my new classes, in particular the eLearning class. It’s just very weird not being in front of a class, facilitating rather than teaching and marking someone else’s assignments. Doesn’t really give you a feel for the course…it’s like going through the motions. I guess it just takes a little getting used to, but it is such a radical departure from what I’m used to. The students seem to be doing a good job and I’m very impressed with their learning and discussions.

The weather lately has moderated some, reflecting more seasonal temperatures. I took the boys up the mountain on Sunday for only our second hike of the winter. It was gorgeous outside; I even felt hot with a toque, cold gear compression shirt and spring jacket. We did a different circuit this time, just for a little bit of variety. It was nice to see a few different things. Boy did my legs hate me afterwards though; I was one sore boy! Even just pulling the boys on the flat parts is a challenge and they are going to have to do more walking in the future. 105 pounds is a lot to handle!

Going up the trail, February 2013.

Going up the trail, February 2013.

Sawdust Lake, February 2013.

Sawdust Lake, February 2013.

In the Nor'westers, February 2013.

In the Nor’westers, February 2013.

Heading down, February 2013.

Heading down, February 2013.

So in the last week I haven’t done a ton of railway stuff per se, but there has been things going on. Maybe in the next few weeks I’ll be able to get back to some research. The real excitement has centred around the Silver Mountain Historical Society.

On Saturday I received a message from my society co-President Shelley Simon to get in touch as she had some urgent info. However I was out for a much deserved dinner with my wife so I had to wait until morning to get the awesome news; on Saturday afternoon the Ontario Historical Society had incorporated us a non-profit organization. We are official! This is very exciting news and allows us to move forward with our membership and projects. It will be a very busy spring! You can read more about the process on the society blog.

Anyway, time to wrap up. As usual, there will be more to say next week. Until then…

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Hiking, History, Miscellaneous, Railway, Travel

 

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Family Day 2012

Today here in Ontario is Family Day and it was the perfect day to spend with the family. I arrived home from the clinic in Minneapolis last night and since I didn’t see my wife and the boys for four days, I really wanted to spend some time with them.

If you read my previous mini-blog, you’ll know that I was having a great time at the clinic. We did have a nice dinner on Saturday at the Fire Lake Grill and an awesome evening. All in all, our fourth trip the Glazier Clinic was another great experience. The speakers and the information they presented were very beneficial; definitely hopeful that we can get back in a few years. Kudos to my wife Jo-Anne for looking after all the parenting while I was away; I’m a lucky guy.

Now getting back to Family Day, it was an equally great day. After returning the rental van this morning, I

Loch Lomond, Nor'wester Mountains

decided that a nice hike up the mountain would counteract a relatively unhealthy and inactive weekend. My wife is not really the outdoorsy type, but she decided to join the men in her life on our little jaunt. Well, the “little” jaunt actually became a 9.1k, 1300 foot ascent marathon, but who’s counting? We took another trail that led us close to Loch Lomond and my legs are absolutely rejoicing at that decision. Ah, you only live once right?

Tomorrow it’s back to the grind. Another short week; not only because of the holiday today, but I have a meeting on Friday that will take me out of the classroom yet again. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get back to the article this week after all of the distractions of the last week. That being said, I better do it before Saturday, since our basement floor finally arrived last weekend and I’ll be trying my hand at laminate installation for the first time. I’d really like to have a rough draft done before the March break since we are heading down to the states and maybe I’ll have a chance to discuss it with my writing partner Lee.

Speaking of the railway, I likewise did not get much of anything done last week. There was a little research here and there, but no great discoveries. I did take a few minutes to do some filing today, and while doing so I came to the realization that I may have my work cut out for me on my trip to Ottawa. I thought that I should probe the files of the Canadian Northern Railway, which might be a huge undertaking. Is 6 days enough?

Anyway, I’m going to sign off for this week since this is already my second go around. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to report on railway matters next week. Until then…

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Hiking, Miscellaneous, Research, Writing

 

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Live from Minneapolis

I had a few minutes before lunch so thought I’d do a little mini-blog.

So I’m here in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the annual Glazier Football Clinic. I just finished  a session on 3-3-5 coverages. Yesterday I spent the morning learning about defensive circuits, especially with tackling. Then it was on to training linebackers for the run and pass with Coach Buh from the University of Wisconsin.

There are literally hundreds of coaches from many states and provinces here; just an awesome atmosphere. The speakers they bring in are top-notch and cover many different topics. I’m the only defensive coach that made the trip, so the other guys on staff have been taking in sessions on o-line drills and the Pistol offense.

Last night we had a great dinner at Oak City and tonight we’re going to head downtown to eat. Too bad tomorrow we have to head back home-not looking forward to the 6 hour drive. Anyway, it’s almost noon, so I’ll wrap things up. I’ll have my usual weekly blog ready to go on Monday.

Until then…

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Miscellaneous

 

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I don’t think tapping my head will work…

So believe it or not, I had no idea how to start this week’s blog. Wow, I must really be tired or my brain is seriously not working. It seems ironic since quite a bit has gone on in the past week, but I just can’t seem to organize my thoughts. Well, since I told myself that I would do this once a week when I starting blogging, I should try to come up with something. That’s why I feel like Winnie the Pooh…you know when he’s trying to remember something and he’s tapping his head and saying “think, think.”

Last week I wrote about the start of the new semester and a week later things are going well. I like my new classes; the kids seem pretty good and I hope they are enjoying history (even if they are not particularly history people). This is my 12th year teaching the Gr.10 Canadian history and you would think that it would get boring or dull after all those years, but I’m surprisingly not there yet (I teach at least three sections of this class each year).  Maybe that’s a good sign; I guess I still love what I do and I’m enthusiastic about teaching kids about history. Only 16 more years to go…

Speaking of work, this week is another in a series of short weeks that seem to be popping up lately. Last week it was preparing for our school’s annual open house for Gr.8 students; on Friday I will be in Minneapolis for our fourth visit to the Glazier football clinic. Other than the 6 hour road trip, for which I always get stuck in the driver’s seat, it is a pretty awesome weekend. College and pro speakers, coaches from all over the mid-west, Ontario and Manitoba…what’s not to like? Maybe I’ll try and do a quick mini-blog while I’m there. For certain I will have some comments to make for next week’s ramblings.

Me, photographed by my son Ethan.

Since I’m away this week, I tried to spend as much time as I could with my boys Ethan and Noah on the weekend. On Saturday we took in the 3D version of Star Wars Episode I; yes, I know, not the best of the series but my kids liked it (meesa liked it too!). It was pretty cool in 3D; makes me look forward to seeing all the other episodes! On Sunday we were up the mountain for the first time in a few weeks. It was bright and sunny and the weather was great. We pushed a little further and made it to the Loch Lomond overlook. I think the boys enjoyed it too, though they like to complain on the way up. The way down on the other hand was a completely a different story, with dad struggling to keep up!

Well, I guess I should say something about the railway since it is the theme of this blog. Last night I finally managed to get some work done on the article. I’m still finding it a tough go though; hammering out 200, 300 words was a bit of a chore. I only have 2500 words to work with, so it’s hard to figure out what to include and still try to make sense. I figure I’ll write it how I think it should read and then if I need to later, do some cutting. The only thing that worries me is that if I’m having this much trouble now, what am I going to do when I’m writing a whole book? Maybe it will get better with age…I hope.

The usual routine of research continued last week unabated. I’m still probing the nooks and crannys of Google Books, meeting with some success and disappointment. I’ve actually accumulated quite the list of books and articles that I need to find in hard copy. Again its weird how one wanders from topic to topic. On Friday I found myself researching the story of Æmilius Jarvis; I can’t even remember how I got on to that subject. Maybe it was because I was thinking about the sale of the railway. Jarvis was the successful sealed bidder for the railway when it was sold in 1899. A seemingly inauspicious purchaser, though his family connections make it quite the interesting story. Perhaps I will enjoy writing this book 🙂

Until next week, may the force be with you!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Miscellaneous, Research, Writing

 

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