Cruising

Jamming

We’ve enjoyed a pre-cruise day at the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World yesterday. And we are getting ready to make the trip to Port Canaveral this morning. We board our ship later this afternoon and we will enjoy a week or so sailing the Western Caribbean.

The weather is sunny and warm. Just the way we like it.

Limited Internet access on the ship but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Life unplugged has its dividends.

The Box

TheBox

You have to talk to me Murph. I need to fix this before I go. After you kids came along, your mom, she said something to me I never quite understood. She said, ”˜Now we”™re just here to be memories for our kids.”™ I think I now understand what she meant. Once you”™re a parent, you”™re the ghost of your children”™s future.

That line from Interstellar came to me when I opened the box.

I had forgotten about it. The box that is.

The post office had left a ticket in our mailbox to let me know that I had a parcel.

Once we picked it up, it had my sister’s return address. And then I remembered.

My sister had mentioned it to me in an email a few weeks back. She had recently sold her home and, as part of cleaning things up, she placed a number of items into a box. And she sent the box to me.

She had put it this way:

Also wanted to give a heads up. As I was going through the rather arduous task of sorting the family photos, I found several that I thought might be of interest to you from when we were children. There were also many other items that Mum had kept through the years.

I just couldn’t bring myself to make decisions on what you may or may not want so I put together a small box (truly, think small shirt box as opposed to banker’s file box!) and have sent it out to you. I don’t want to cause you any heartache by doing this.

It was definitely the right thing for her to do.

It definitely caused a lot of heartache.

Going through the contents of the box was very difficult. My mother had kept so many memories over the years. An envelope containing hair from my first haircut. My first baby shoe. Mother’s Day cards that I had sent to her over the years. Valentine cards from my two oldest children — she had never seen my third child. My father’s discharge from the first World War. My father’s death certificate. Numerous photographs, many of them cracked and faded.

I’m still not over the loss of both my parents. And I suppose it is natural to have an emotional reaction to the flood of memories that came rushing in after I opened this box.

Difficult memories.

I found myself caught between two worlds, the material and the immaterial. A physical connection to a person that no longer lives in this world. Memories of a mother now gone yet not forgotten.

And I wondered about a different box. My own box. A box that one day might find its way to my own children.

What will they remember when they open that box?

Wedding Day

Florida. In August. The weather can test the stamina of a Canadian. The sun and the heat can be alarmingly intense.

Surprisingly enough, after a few days, the intensity of the Florida heat moderates. You get used to it. You screen. You mix indoor and outdoor activities. Indoors for air conditioned comfort. Outdoors because the sun looks so inviting.

That said, I’m not sure I would go out on the bike for 2 or 3 hours of hard riding in this weather. That might be a bit too much for someone not used to the heat and humidity.

Why did we come down to Florida in August?

To attend a wedding.

This particular wedding was unique in many ways. All weddings are special. Some weddings can be moving. This wedding was especially moving.

It was held outdoors. There was one focal point under a canopy of tree branches. Simplicity and minimalism intersected with creativity and informality. The charge and commission of marriage. The union of a young couple. The start of a journey. A new chapter.

As Lorraine and I approach 36 years of marriage, a wedding like this one brings back a flood of memories. Our journey together has gone by with such surprising speed. So many wonderful times together. This wedding was a reminder of the special joy and privilege of our love and of our commitment to one another.

Here are a few images from the day. The last photo includes a quote from C.S. Lewis, hand painted by the bride on one of many signs that surrounded the wedding place:

Now at last they were beginning Chapter 1 of the great story that no one has ever read, and which goes on forever in which every chapter is better than the one before.

Wedding4

Wedding1

Wedding2

Wedding3

Wedding6

It Is A Dry Heat

MatthewMe

Travelling down in Florida this week. Weather feels like 35 Celsius. Really, really warm.

Posts will be a bit infrequent for another week or so.

Matthew’s Theme

The above video summarizes some work that I did for my son’s company. He needed a theme song and he had some musical ideas that he sketched out on piano. We captured those ideas and we created a full arrangement. This next video is the finished soundtrack. It does have a gradual, soft ambient introduction for the first 45 seconds or so — as many soundtracks do — but it does pick up a little bit after that so be a little careful with your volume.

Matthew played the piano parts and the synth pad parts. I played all of the guitar parts and bass. I programmed the drum loops. As mentioned in the first video, I did use a software modeler for a number of the guitar parts: left guitar underneath the two guitar solo sections, the two guitar solos, and the two drone parts during the interlude that follows the first guitar solo. There are a number of synth-like guitar sounds as well including the part that doubles the main melodic line and the swells that are interspersed throughout portions of the track.

I was surprised at how close S-Gear came to the real thing. Their Custom 57 amp model is almost indistinguishable to the sound of the Tweeds that I have in the studio.

Land of the Free

20150313_washington_029

We are in Washington D.C. for a few days. And then we make our way to the Great Smoky Mountains.

It is nice to finally be free of snow and to experience temperatures about 10 degrees Celsius.

Here are a few shots from our first day in the capitol.

20150313_washington_059

20150313_washington_161

20150313_washington_121

20150313_washington_056

20150313_washington_187

20150313_washington_031

20150313_washington_139

20150313_washington_063

Happy New Year

GoogleBirthday

Google knows everything.

Today marks the start of 58 years on the planet.

Still here.

Enjoyed a wonderful birthday dinner with family last night.

HappyBirthday

Eighteen

CardFront

My youngest son turned eighteen on the weekend. Along with my oldest son, we took a road trip up to Ottawa to celebrate the event including a Senators hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Roughly 40 minutes into the game, two representatives from Bell came up to us with a gift bag for Matthew. It included a handwritten card:

CardInside

There was also a Senators shirt and a few other souvenirs in the gift bag. My wife had called the Canadian Tire Centre to see about getting a birthday greeting for Matthew on the main scoreboard but we were too late. However someone decided to take some time to make a memory for my son. The envelope was personalized and the representatives were both very sincere and genuine in their birthday wishes.

We stayed overnight in Ottawa and made our way back to Kingston on the Sunday. The drive was particularly challenging due to freezing drizzle. I had no idea that we could get freezing drizzle when the ambient wind chill was closer to -30 degrees Celsius. But freezing drizzle it was. It completely overwhelmed the front defroster and I could only see through a very small opening in the front windshield. We did stop once to chip away at all of the ice but it came back almost immediately once we started driving.

Regardless of the weather, we had a wonderful time and a great memory for Matthew’s 18th birthday.