Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sudbury Saturday Night & Other Tales

Play for a little mood music!

Last weekend we went to Sudbury to cheer on Megan and the Almaguin Gazelles. That's Megan in the green hockey helmet. I think it was so smart, her parents buying her a green helmet, because you can always find her on the ice. Plus, it was on sale. Hell, her mother would have bought it if it was hot pink with magenta racing stripes if it was on sale! This was a really big tournament with teams from all over hell and gone northern Ontario. Megan's team won a silver medal with five wins and only one loss. Go Gazelles! (Ya gotta see how cute these little farts are, zipping up and down the ice like bumblebees after tasty pollen!)

We stayed at the Radisson Hotel because it had the biggest swimming pool, big enough for all the girls to swim in during their time off the ice. Unfortunately the pool was closed for renovations. Meh, no big deal. We decided to do touristy things instead. (I was frankly relieved, having been worried about looking like Jonah's whale and scaring the other swimmers. Just a coincidence that I accidentally threw a monkey wrench into the filtering system ...) One of the biggest draws is Science North. This is Angus, Dave and Sam in front of it. It was frickin cold that day. The wind howls up there like a banshee. The boys were yelling, "Hurry up, we're freezing our knackers off!" Only they didn't say knackers. I said, "Wouldn't it save us a lot of money if we just took pictures in front of all the touristy things instead of going in?" Ha, ha, they said, humouring me. We were so excited... and we were there early enough that we got a great parking spot! Well, no wonder! The place was closed. And talk about early – it doesn't open again until March!

Ever wondered where Sudbury was? I know, this question bothers you every day. Sudbury is three hours north of us and we're about two hours north of Toronto. So, it's pretty far north. Y'know, not like the North Pole but far enough that it's called Science North and not Science South. In this picture is The Big Nickel, the biggest coin in the whole world. Sudbury is famous for two things: mining nickel and copper; and destroying the landscape. Thirty years ago the area surrounding Sudbury looked like a moonscape with strip mining and pollution destroying what once was a beautiful, natural area. Things are improving though and Sudbury is looking better all the time.
Bracebridge isn't on the map but it's roughly halfway between Huntsville and Barrie. Surely to god you know where Toronto is? How about Ontario? Canada, anyone?

The Big Nickel is right outside Dynamic Earth, which is a theme park for mining. Well, not quite. It's the kind of place kids go on school trips. The most important thing about this photo is my red purse. My friend Dawn told me the other day that it matches Dorothy's red shoes in the Wizard of Oz. Other friends say it looks like a bowling ball bag. The boys are weighing rocks in this photo. Do we Websters know how to have fun or what?

One of the coolest things about Dynamic Earth is you get to wear a hard hat and go underground to explore a mine. Because with a hat like that, you can only go underground. After this I had hat-head the rest of the day. And I really, really hate hat-head. On the plus side, the hat hid my skunk stripe. 

This is my family, The Ghost Family. They have no blood because I'm always sucking the life outta them.. Look at their faces -- aren't they thrilled to be here? They don't miss the pool at all. Not one bit. Well, that's the end of last weekend. We also had breakfast at Perkin's, TWICE, and they make the world's best pancakes. Yup, even better than yours, Mom, sorry. And we took the kids to see True Grit because we got free movie passes on account of the pool being closed. Sam was like, "oh yeah, we get to see a sucky western when we should be swimming." Yup, life sucks when you're 10.

This was today. What happened in between last weekend and this weekend as this: work, work, work, writers' group, American Idol, work, shop, write Friday Flash, American Idol, work. Today we got out of the house early to go to Midland, Ontario, about an hour and a half southwest, where I grew up, actually. Dave wanted to buy an new outboard motor for our little aluminum boat. Which he did. It's a Mercury and we've been singing, "I'm gonna buy me a Mercury and cruise it up and down the river," ever since. Anyway, Midland is on Georgian Bay, part of Lake Huron, and it's a big shipping port. Thus the ship in this photo. My dad worked for Canadian Pacific Railway and he engineered loads of freight from all over to the big ships in the ports at Midland and nearby Port McNicholl (nothing to do with The Big Nickel, in case you were wondering. One of my favourite stories was based on an adventure in Port McNicholl. You can read it here if you need a laugh. It's called Why Mr. Dukas Smiled.

This is the house where I lived in Midland, from about 1963 to 1970. There used to be huge spruce trees on the lot but they're gone now and new ones have been planted. See the attic window? When I was a kid I used to think the ghosts of my Grandpa Robb and my friend Kim Scott's grandmother were hiding up in the attic, looking at us from the window. When we walked by at night we gave the window our version of the hairy eyeball. Notice the window is open? In winter? What's up with that? And for all you Florida-type people who have been asking if there is any sign of spring yet, I ask you this: does it look like spring in this photo?

This is the garage for that house. It used to be white when my dad fell off it. I think he was shovelling snow off the roof. When he fell, he crashed into his homemade utility trailer and he scraped huge chunks of flesh off his legs. To the day he died he had the most outrageous scars on his one leg.

Across the road from our house is this water tower. We used to play on it all the time, climbing up the ladder and generally doing stuff we weren't supposed to do. It wasn't fenced back in the '60s. It's a good thing Dad didn't have to shovel that puppy off. Holy moly.

And this is me. Lovely, beautiful me. Notice the skunk stripe (hairdresser appointment is next weekend). I figure I haven't got an ounce of vanity left in order to post this picture. God save the queen-sized jeans.


  1. I thought that red building was kind of an odd
    Sounds like the weekend was fun and your trip back to Midland equally so.

  2. What a fun, fun time.

    I love to visit homes that meant a lot to me as a child.

    I'm sorry about the broken swimming pool. I'm sure the girls were even more sorry.

  3. I never noticed before that Dave and Angus have matching clefts..... You guys had one busy weekend in Sudbury. I lived there three years and never did any of that stuff 'cept work and party....oh and get married in the court house basement. My husband was a student and Cambrian College and thats the kind of thing college students do. Its actually or was when I was there a nice town. Our apartment was ear shot from the railway station and I loved listing to the horns in the yard at night. I'd lay there and imagine that they were actually the horns of tug boats as they guided the ships in from or out to sea.
    Beautiful house that you lived in in Midland. Wouldn't want to keep that puppy clean. I guess when I see you Monday that skunk stripe will be gone. Mind you I never noticed it in the first place. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Your posts make me laugh out loud, Cathy! Love the vampire kids and, no, it doesn't look like spring has arrived quite yet. :D

  5. Nope, that does not look like Spring! But it does sound like it takes a lot more than a little cool weather to keep you from having a good time. Fun stuff once again Cathy! I'm going to have a looksee at Why Mr. Dukas Smiled.

  6. Looks like you all had a fine weekend getaway. Sorry to hear that the pool was closed. Imagine...a hockey tournament of kids and the pool is out of commission.

    You mentioned the only two things about Sudbury that I know...the big nickel and Science North. One of my coworkers back at HQ grey up there. His parents run a Chinese restaurant that he claims serves the best Chinese food in Ontario...

  7. Sounds like almost every family vacation I took as a child. Well, we did see more natural beauty and not so many giant nickels...
    I love your grew-up-in house, too.
    The 'hairy eye'? There's a cure for that, I think...

  8. Great story Kath - you know, I think you would be really good at standup comedy too!!! You always crack me up, sorry abut the pool, however I greatly admire your versatility in finding ways to explore and use your times!
    PS Love Tom Connors!

  9. It looks like you guys had a good time, despite the closed pool (no matter what Sam says - I have a 10 year old too!) The pic of you guys in the mine looks like you have huge spiderwebs over your heads. Spooky.

    I love the pic of you in front of your old house. I am always so charmed by the brick houses in Ontario. We don't have them here. They so homey and cozy looking.

    And this: "This is the garage for that house. It used to be white when my dad fell off it." Made me LOL. Not that your dad fell off the garage, but you just said it so matter of factly. Funny girl. :D

  10. I totally know where Sudbury is: my family on my dad's side is all there. Of course it warms my heart to see the giant nickel. I love the last picture! So sassy! And please, what skunk stripe?


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