Wednesday, October 29, 2008

so long, saskatchewan

After tonight's Superb performance (that is, in Superb, Saskatchewan... let's hope the performance lives up to the name) I'll get on the train in Unity (I'm not making this up) for the journey back to Toronto and then Stouffville.

It's been a delightful week. My own personal tally of performances so far would be 3 great ones, 2 good ones, 1 so-so and 1 clunker (the "clunker" was also warmly and appreciatively received, but I was a little frustrated by the sound system). The joint concert with Val and Darrell was a real highlight, and we raised over $5000 for MCC's "Food For All" programs to boot!

It's been great to connect with a lot of people, many of whom went to some lengths to tell a story or describe my height when I last lived in these parts (we left when I was 11... you can do the math). In Rosthern yesterday I went for a walk (yes, the first one since I sprained my ankle) around the block, and not one but two pick-up trucks stopped in the middle of the street, rolled down a window, and a head emerged saying "... Bryan?" Lots of fun to see some folks I hadn't seen in many a year... and new friends and co-conspirators too...

The ankle is iced for the last time... the bags are packed... time to head out for a Superb evening, and a couple more days on the train... we'll see if I get back in time to see Matthew in his mariachi Halloween costume...


Thursday, October 23, 2008

whistle-stop tour, without the whistles. or the stops.

Two blocks from our apartment, an hour on the GO train, a “Jamaican Patty” and a spilt cup of coffee at Union Station, and now halfway through the 42 hours on the Via train on the way to Saskatoon (where I’ll be when I get a chance to post this). Would be nice if there were enough trains on this route to get off each day, do a concert, get back on and head right on out to the next town for the next day’s event. With only three trains per week on a very limited route, scheduling a tour by rail (at least in western Canada) is not particularly efficient. Maybe someday.

But hey, I don’t mind. This time around the extended and enforced “rest” on the train is just what I need. The air-cushion-cast is enough to get me on and off the train with guitar and backpack and without crutches... and then lots of time to keep the ankle elevated and let it heal. Hopefully enough so that I can drive a rental car to my various Saskatchewan gigs without worrying about how much pain might be involved with a sudden stomping-on-the-brakes.

Plus the time on the train is a great chance to catch up on all kinds of other work that’s been overdue and hard to get to recently... not to mention reading time and gazing-out-the-windows-in-the-dome-car time... and chatting with fellow travelers and discovering common interests (Janice and a fascination for history and archaeology and her soon-to-be-destinations Cuzco and Macchu Picchu, Bruce who plays in a Celtic band called Fingal's Last Pint, Kay from Jacksonville Florida and a gentleman from Georgia kicking around the continent on their North America Rail Passes...).

They’re right, you know - it really is “a more human way to travel.”

UPDATE: Arrived two hours late last night (this morning) in Saskatoon... 3:00am instead of 1:00am... Darrell, bless his soul, had been waiting patiently (they have Tim Hortons in Saskatoon too!) and brought me back to his house where I luxuriated in double bed (ahh - horizontal sleep!) and a bath... now I've got the rental car, and I'm ready to go... first stop, Prince Albert tonight...


Friday, October 17, 2008

"pop" goes the ankle

... at last night's ball game. Just in time for tomorrow's move, and Sunday's gig, and Tuesday's trip to Saskatchewan. Nothing broken, but a "bad sprain."

The last time we moved, in the summer of 2003, I had just returned from Zimbabwe and was sick, sick, sick... Julie has been musing out loud about my amazingly "coincidental" timing...

Thank God for the terrific community of folks that is helping us out... from the ride in Dave's truck to get the "air cast" boot thingy that I hope will allow me to hobble around Saskatchewan with backpack and guitar next week... to Sheri and Arnold and Emily and Dawn and Angie helping us finish (?!) packing tonight... to the army of folks with pickups and vans and willing arms who will help us tomorrow... and I heard something about supper tomorrow night...

We are indeed blessed. And grateful.

Please pass the ice pack.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

a bit of good news...

... on the environmental front (Tuesday's election results notwithstanding):

Yesterday Matthew and I watched 4 otters swimming in the pond beside our house. Yes - OTTERS - which, I've been told, have not been seen in the Rouge River watershed for over 50 years.

So the "Willowgrove Creek" song I wrote nearly 5 years ago, based on the story I'd heard then, has come true... again... and we got to see it with our own eyes.


two days after

In the mad rush to prepare for our move on Saturday, and my trip to Saskatchewan on Tuesday, I have, you'll notice, successfully resisted the temptation to turn this into a political blog and pontificate with my various analyses pre- and post-election... (ok, I'll agree, that was a pathetically positive way to try to "spin" the paucity of political - or personal - posting recently)...

But among the various articles I've read since Tuesday's election, here's one that I found particularly interesting.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

more than I can chew?

... and, it's no secret, I can chew quite a bit...

Just about finished sending out the second annual surge of "renewal notices" marking the second anniversary of my "membership" (or "Community Supported Music") system. The fact that it is in some ways a hum-drum administrative task is tempered significantly by the fact that it's so much fun to be in touch with all these folks who for some reason seem to care what I do... I am grateful...

While I'm excited about the chance this year to "raise the ceiling" of what I'm able to take on (in terms of performances and projects and so on), I've been so swamped for the past two weeks that I'm beginning to wonder if I've bitten off more than... ok, you get the picture...

So the fact that I've posted so little lately has - I assure you - nothing to do with a decrease in the regular bursts of brilliantly bloggable ideas... it's just that when the bursts come they've been finding me... how shall I say this... I'll settle for too-tired-to-think-straight. Not that that's ever been a pre-condition for blogging, but it does help if you can keep your face off the keyboard.

And today Matthew and I set a new world record for daddy-waking-up-late-and-getting-father-and-son-fed-and-to-the-bus-stop-just-in-time. Eleven minutes flat.

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