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Happy 70th Birthday To My Mom!

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My mom Carolynn, who I affectionately call “Carrie” turns 70 years young today!

My family and I had the pleasure of celebrating this milestone event with my dad, sister and family a couple of weeks ago in her hometown of Gimli, Manitoba. She was thrilled to catch up with family and close friends.

She taught elementary school for many years before starting her “real job” of taking care of my sister and yours truly. She was a fixture over the years playing the piano at our schools and volunteering. I was always so proud to see her playing the piano at our assemblies. She returned to the workforce after we were “all growed up”.

Now her job as “Amma” (Icelandic for Grandma) to her four grandchildren keeps her smiling and having fun. My parents love coming to visit us in Edmonton, and enjoy the time they spend with their other two grand children, daughter and son-in-law in Winnipeg too.

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When my dad turned 70 last year, I mentioned that our family loves to have fun and laugh! My 3 favourite moments laughing with my mom are:

#1 I was explaining to my mom that I was really tired one day, and was going to watch a quick movie that night. It was called, “Back Of My Eyelids”. Her reply, “I don’t think I have seen that one dear.”

#2 She was shopping at the local mall, and either forgot where she parked the car, or it was actually moved. We may never know what actually happened. Word spread to a few of our neighbors, and the next time she went to visit our “adopted grandpa” next door, he just opened the front door a bit and very eloquently said, “I am sorry dear, but you don’t live here.”

#3 She is the best “backseat driver” I have ever seen! Her passenger seat shoulder checks are impeccable, and the “passenger side fake brake” always gets a workout when she is in a car.

We have laughed about these stories for years.

Her memory and commitment to family and friends is truly amazing. She seems to remember every person that she has ever met, and I have always been impressed by that. I recently quizzed her on our Icelandic family history, and her attention to detail as far back as 60+ years ago was incredible. I guess that is where I get it from! I have often looked at the calendar in her kitchen and asked, “Do you actually acknowledge all of those birthdays, anniversaries etc?” And the answer, of course, is “yes”.

You know our conversations would always be interesting when it started with “You remember that person from…..”

She is still sharp as a tack when it comes to the little details.

Always so selfless, I have only known her to think of others first. “No” has not been a very popular word in her vocabulary over the years. But “what can I do to help?” has been ringing in my ears since I was a kid. She has been there for so many family members and friends when they needed her; I lost count years ago.

My mom is very musical, and comes from a very musical family. I wish I was a bit older so I could have witnessed all the fun evenings at my grandparents place with the sounds of piano, violin and laughter resonating throughout the house. One of our family’s favourite traditions is to have the neighbors over after dinner on Christmas Eve. It is always fun when mom plays piano and we have a big old sing-song with everyone 🙂

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Oh I almost forgot! My mom “taught me” to stay up late as a teenager. We watched “The Arsenio Hall Show” late together long before the days of time-sharing channels on TV. Those were also the early days of CNN. To this day her and dad stay up waaaaaayyyy too late and often I will text and say “go to bed” well after 12:30 am 🙂

I said a few words during mom’s birthday celebration a few weeks ago, and did not have notes. It was a whirlwind event and what I said is all kind of a blur to me now.

What I hope I said was my dad, sister and myself, and all our family and friends love her very much.

I will never forget the time she asked me, “Why did dad and I get invited to one of your friends’ weddings and none of the other parents did?” My reply,” You guys are different mom, you are the best!”

She has been the backbone of our family for 45 years, and we love her to pieces. Her infectious smile, fantastic laugh and helpful nature have made her a fixture growing up in Icelandic communities of rural Manitoba (Gimli & Hnausa), and now in her local community (Transcona, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba).

Here’s to many more years of health, happiness and laughter my dear!

Cheers!

Love Tim and family

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Saturday Music Memories – Our National Treasures The “Hip”

There are certain things that citizens hold near and dear to their hearts in their home countries.

In Canada we have hockey, The Tim Horton’s coffee shop chain, and for music we have The Tragically Hip.

They burst on to the scene in the late 80’s and have made quality music that has united a nation for close to 30 years now (wow I must be getting old).

In the spring of 1991 I graduated from high school, and our class embarked on a bus trip from Winnipeg, Manitoba across the border to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were off to a fun-filled place called Apple River. It was an awesome time, and with 10+ hours on a bus each way, the music flowed (among other things) for a bunch of 17 and 18-year-old rowdies.

At that time, I had no interest in the Tragically Hip, but it seemed to be on constant repeat for the entire trip! Before you knew it, I was hooked, and this album did it to me. Their first real statement on Canadian airwaves called “Road Apples”.

Here is the biggest hit of that album – “Little Bones“.

Enjoy and have a FANTASTIC weekend.

 

 

 

Saturday Music Memories – American Woman and My Hometown

I am from Winnipeg, Canada and love where I grew up. Every time I hear this week’s “Saturday Music Memory” I just feel darn proud!

Many people don’t realize that Winnipeg was a music factory in the 70’s, and has continued to put out great acts over the years. Do you remember that classic rock gem called American Woman? The Guess Who put Winnipeg on the map in 1970 when this song reached number 1!

You may recognize the names of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman specifically. I have attached The Guess Who’s Wikipedia page for more information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guess_Who

Their history of success, break-ups, reunions, and changes are quite remarkable.

Burton Cummings has had a very successful solo career, while Randy Bachman went on to form BTO (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) in the mid 70’s. They had many hits, including the very popular “Taking Care of Business”.

But these boys have always been better together than apart in my opinion.  I have attached a live 9+ minute jam of American Woman from Burton Cummings’ YouTube Channel.

The legendary Neil Young is also from Winnipeg, among others. I included a link highlighting a history of music in my hometown!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Manitoba#Recent_rock_and_pop_music

Enjoy this video and history lesson of music in my hometown!

Saturday Music Memories – The Stones Keep “Rollling”

I have had the good fortune of seeing the Rolling Stones play live outdoors twice in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mick is one of my favourites front men of all time. I really like all members of the band, even the ones that barely look alive anymore (you know who you are).

As they embark on a 50th anniversary mini tour, this great tune is on the new compilation.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Saturday Music Memories – Wheat Kings And Pretty Things

It is Thanksgiving  in Canada, and I am moving a little slower than normal this weekend! The Tragically Hip are Canadian Icons, and one of my favourite bands EVER! Almost 20 years ago they wrote a fabulous song dedicated to David Milgaard who spent more than 23 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Have a listen. Details of his remarkable story are below if you would like to have a read.

http://www.hipmuseum.com/wheat.html

Saturday Music Memories – Did You Take A Rain Jacket?

When you think about successful Canadian musicians over the last 30 years, it is hard not to include Bryan Adams in the conversation. I have loved his music since I heard it for the first time in 1983 or 1984. His live shows are incredible, and his enthusiasm and love for his fans are well documented. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing him perform in a smaller venue a few years ago. It was him, his guitar and a guy on the grand piano. That is the style of performance which separates the true performers from the wanna-bees. No technology to hide behind; just the instruments and vocals –  Incredible.

What I really wanted to talk about was a late summer day in Winnipeg, Canada back in August of 1992. Bryan Adams was on the top of his game, and he rolled through town for a day festival which featured The Steve Miller Band, Extreme, Honeymoon Suite and Sass Jordan.

My friend and I planned to be there very early that day, and the forecast was cloudy with a good chance of showers. I will never forget walking out the door with a light jacket and my dad asking, “Maybe you should take a rain jacket?”

“Nah dad, I am ok”, I responded. “Those are not rain clouds”.

Well I was wrong, dead wrong. And within a half hour of arriving on the concert site at Birds Hill Park near Winnipeg, it started to rain. It seemed to rain all day, and rarely stopped. Many of us were not dressed for the weather, and absolutely soaked. But none of us dared to leave.

The other bands were incredible, and the vibe was fantastic, but we were all there really for one reason – Adams.

When he finally came out, he did an incredible live version of House Arrest. This is a newer live version that I pulled off his YouTube channel.

Unfortunately he was never able to finish the concert because of the weather – but he still played for a long time. I remember his stage hands basically having to pull him away from the microphone because he did not want to leave. That is a sign of a true performer committed to his fans. But it was getting dangerous up there.

Whenever somebody in my family has gone to an outdoor event for the last 20 years and does not take proper clothing to be ready for inclement weather, we always say,

“Remember Bryan Adams”.

Nothing else needs to be said. We just know what it means!

I Remember…

For those of you who are sports fans, you will be able to relate if I told you that I lost my favourite team once. It does not matter what sport you follow and franchise you love, but if your favourite team has ever moved, you will know what it feels like.  If this has not happened to you, you can imagine the horror of your athletic celebrities “packing up for greener pastures”.

Sports does not define me, and I would not categorize myself a sports junkie. But I certainly love hockey, and have followed closely since my parents took me to my first Winnipeg Jets hockey game in 1979.

The team left for financial reasons in 1996, and the loss ripped the heart out of the city. Over the last 15 years, Winnipeg has made great strides moving forward, and as an added bonus, another NHL hockey franchise relocated there last May! My wife teased me on a regular basis during the 13 years that we have been together, because I continued to wear my Jets stuff, and never stopped believing that the team would be back.

My son is so excited, and the prospects of us going to a game together this year is a dream come true.

Last September before the start of the regular season, I woke up in the middle of the night once. I had a dream that I should write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. I wanted to share my memories of the old team growing up in Winnipeg and express my gratitude to the new owners for bringing “version 2.0” back!

So I ran downstairs to the computer and came up with this in the middle of the night! I have attached the link to the newspaper article below. My letter is about half way down.

It starts with “I remember my first Jets game in 1979”

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You don’t have to know the people, places or references in this post, to know how much I love my team. When I need a break from reality, and the rigours of daily life, it makes me happy beyond belief that my team is back and I get to watch them again this time with my son!

I was stunned to see the paper the day after the first game last October 9th. My letter to the editor was dead centre of the page in a special inaugural season “Winnipeg Jets Edition”. What a thrill and honour that was!

If you put your mind to something, who knows what can happen. Now I have an incredible keepsake for the rest of my life!