Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wasted days and wasted nights

A bunch of dames, hanging around with nothing to do . . .

Mr. Molar, where are you?
 A couple of months ago a filling in one of my molars was pulled out by a piece of toffee.  I called my dentist (who I absolutely love), and made an appointment to have it fixed, a request that was quickly and efficiently accommodated.  However, upon inspection of the tooth, said dentist (a self-confessed perfectionist - not a bad quality to have in a dentist) advised that I needed a crown - estimated cost $1,100.  I begrudgingly agreed to this recommendation, despite the fact that I wasn't experiencing any discomfort, (now that the filling had been replaced), and I thought she had a better view of things than I did.  My first appointment involved lots of grinding to reduce my tooth to a post suitable for mounting a crown, and then a mold was taken to be sent away to the crown maker.  I was then fitted with a temporary crown, glued in place with temporary cement, and advised to avoid toffee until the permanent crown was in place, scheduled for yesterday.  I was advised that this next appointment would be relatively simple - remove the temporary crown, and replace it with the permanent crown, this time with permanent cement.  Knowing this, I made an eye appointment on the same day, in the same building, thinking I would kill 2 birds with one trip, so to speak.  At 9:00 I jumped onto the 401 to make the drive into Toronto.  At 9:30 the eye doctor calls me to say that his office is flooded, and therefore my appointment is cancelled.  By 10:30 I'm in the dentist's chair being told that instead of using permanent cement she is going to use temporary cement just in case I need a root canal in a few months - arghhh - I hate root canals!  Then out comes the needle, the drill, the new crown and an assortment of other tools.  "I've done a million crowns, and wouldn't you know it, yours doesn't sit right - we're going to have to take another casting", says the dentist.  Oh well, better luck next time.  With my face half frozen so that even if I was happy about this turn of events, all I could do was scowl, I jump back into city traffic to pick up a piece of recycled retail furniture at a warehouse in the west end of the city, where I met the "dames" pictured above, along with a collection of floor to ceiling used retail equipment,
Part of a former wife of Henry the VIIIth, perhaps?
many of them looking eerily lifelike and somewhat forlorn in their frozen state of naked boredom.  Somehow there had been a breakdown in communication between our people and their people and the particular piece we had come in search of was lost amongst the mayhem of unemployed retail fixtures.  So back onto the 401 four hours later with the same temporary crown, no eye exam and no new (used) retail furniture!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nothing runs like a Deere, really!

Yes, that is a building being pulled and pushed up a hill by two John Deere tractors.  On it's way to become a shelter for the wild mustangs living at the spa, this horse run-in was built in Mennonite country and arrived on Friday for placement in the mustang paddock.  This movement was actually pretty easy, as opposed to the previous lift, where one of these 10 ft. wide buildings was manoeuvred between 2 fences about 12 ft. apart.  The boys did a great job, and the horses were happier.  Just another day on the farm.  On Thursday, I called the township and applied for a burn permit, as we had quite a collection of scrap wood and brush to get rid of.  Fire Chief Dave told me it was a perfect day for a burn, as there was barely a breeze, and we'd had rain for the previous two days.  As it turned out, the fire burned quite vigorously, and at one point I had to calm it down with some water.  I enjoyed it, but not so much that I'll be taking up arson as a hobby.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Finally, out of the barn

When I was a child, we lived on a farm in, of all places, Nashville, Ontario, and no I'm not a country singer.  We had goats and chickens and cows and horses.  There was Stag, and there was Red.  Red was a wild kind of horse - I think she had some kind of racing history at Woodbine Race Track - I'm not sure.  My dad had a theory that farming built character in kids, and I suppose in hindsight, I have to agree with him.  One of my father's particularly cruel character building exercises was placing us on Red's back for a ride.  Red didn't like kids on her back, and it wasn't long before we were summarily discharged onto the ground.  I seem to remember falling through a hole in the barn floor - (I think it was meant for dropping hay from the hayloft into the cow pens), and landing on Red's back - a short, violent ride ensued.  Fast forward to adulthood, and for some reason, I had a fear of horses.  A local riding stable offered lessons so I decided to wander in and see what it was all about.  A very pleasant young lady greeted me and before I knew it, she had me dealing with my fear of horses by spending time grooming them, and eventually learning how to tack up a horse and ride.  For months, maybe even years, I would go to the stable and spend an hour with Heather and a horse, most notably one named Knight riding around and around the ring learning new terms like trot, post, and canter.  My instructor was also a great listener, so much of the time was spent talking about other life issues.  All in all it was a very therapeutic experience.  However, part of what I had hoped to achieve out of my investment in equestrian instruction was the confidence or at least the skill to take the horse out of the barn and safely ride up over the hills and off into the sunset.  We often talked about a "hack", but never quite got around to it.  I took a bit of a hiatus in my lessons when my instructor fell in love with one of her students, got married and had a child, and the stable was sold.  A few years later, another stable opened up even closer to home, and a new team of equestrian enthusiasts came into our lives.  Back I went to the barn, refreshing my rusty skills only to ride around and around in circles again.  And then last week, out of the blue, my instructor sent me a text asking me if I felt like going for a hack on Friday morning.  I had some other things planned, but I thought this might be my big chance to get out of the barn.  I sent a few more test messages to other equestrian interested lads and we all gathered at our barns with Karey (our friend and instructor), where I've now assembled a motley group of horses, most of whom haven't been ridden for quite some time - so I wasn't sure just how things would turn out.  Ryan saddled up Chance, a 23 year old gelding, Dave rode Noche, Jake was on Franklin, Karey took my crazy horse Sophie, and I rode an unnamed, but very gentle gelded horse who might just as well have been called Perfect.  Amazingly, we had a great ride down through the old deer runways, up over the hills taking in the stunning views on this unusually warm November day.  Aside from a few Sophie episodes, everyone was well behaved and the humans and the horses seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You'll never guess who I ran into in Huntsville!

OK, I haven't actually run into him, but his picture is everywhere, and there's no doubt in my mind that this is his kind of place.  I'm in Muskoka at Deerhurst Resort for a meeting of Ontario's Finest Inns and the Ontario Tourism Summit.  This past summer, P.M. Harper and 19 of his best friends also chose this place to meet and discuss pressing world issues - all part of a multi-million dollar extravaganza still being talked about in the media.  I guess for my part, I find it hard to understand why we chose to showcase this particular place to the world.  I love Muskoka, but the mega resort that Deerhurst has become is such a contradiction to everything that the natural beauty of northern Ontario, and much of rural Ontario stands for.  Don't get me wrong, this is a well run resort, the food has been good, the rooms are spacious and clean, the meeting facilities very functional, it just doesn't represent the best of Canada for me.  Obviously it works - its quite obvious that a tremendous financial investment has been made here - something I haven't been able to achieve at my little property, I just think that for the amount of money spent, and for the amount of coverage that this event received, we could have done better.  But then, I'm not in charge of Canada, so I guess I'll just have to suck it up!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A couple of days of growth . . .

If the human body can do this to the face after a couple of days, imagine the results of years of cancerous cells growing in the prostrate, the lungs, breasts, etc.  I am challenging other spa-hipster men to join the Movember campaign to help raise money for cancer research.  I'll post the final product at the end of the month, and would love to see others join in.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Acting, what a job

I'm not sure I fully understand what makes a man want to dress up as a women, in fact, sometimes I'm not sure what makes a woman want to dress up as a women.  But I suppose the old adage, "if you've got it, flaunt it" may apply.  Last Wednesday, I was taken to the theatre to see Priscilla, Queen of The Desert, an incredibly funny and at times moving musical about 3 drag queens and their trip across the Australian outback.  I had actually seen the movie of the same title many years ago, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.  However, nothing could have prepared me for the laughs, and the range of other emotions that I would experience during this show.  I guess being transgendered means, among other things, that you wake up every day feeling like you don't quite belong in your own body.  It's hard enough feeling that you don't belong in a place that you can get up and leave from, but I can't imagine how it must feel to be born a man and want to be a woman.  This production takes this topic and has some fun with it, while at the same time subtly underscoring the cruelty of society when it mocks or rejects a fellow human being (created in the image of God) for something that is totally beyond their control, or simply being different.  The play is only playing in Toronto until January 2nd, but if you can't manage to see it, be sure to rent the movie.