Wednesday, September 30, 2009

David's Sunday Roast Continues!

Well - in all the upset and hue and cry of our lovely David McMahon leaving the blogosphere - it seems that The Sunday Roast is going to continue.

Eddie Bluelights (don't you love that name!) is taking up the banner and is going to continue with The Sunday Roast over on his blog.

For those of you who are not in the know - The Sunday Roast is a feature that introduces us to other blogs by way of an interview. Some of you may have read my interview by David already - I felt so honoured to be asked - I truly did.

So - with the torch being passed over to Eddie - let's make a note and visit his blog on Sundays to join in on the roast and see who's on the hot seat.

A special thanks to Eddie for taking up the challenge and keeping David's tradition alive.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Goodbye David McMahon

When I woke this morning, my world felt different - like something was missing. And something is. Yesterday David McMahon - the man behind authorblog - told us all that he was done.

The first thing I thought of this morning as I opened my eyes, was that I would not be seeing the familiar link on my sidebar at the top of the page letting me know that as usual David had posted. I admit that's an unusual thing to think of as you open your eyes, but this is a momentous event people. This is something that will change the routine of at least a thousand people around the world. That's huge in the blogging world.

I feel a sadness inside of me that he has gone, but I know he is going off to look after his life, to look after what he wants to do instead of giving his all to the rest of us. I should be happy for him - and I am. But I'm unhappy for myself. I am already missing him and it's like losing a close friend.

No - he's not dead - but it almost feels like it to me.

This is not an obituary folks, this is an ode to a man who showed the blogging world what unselfishness means. David spent his time letting people know about other blog posts he thought people should read and listed them in his Post of the Day. Not just one - but at least six at a time. I have been honoured more than once to make his list. Each time I found one of my posts on his list I felt special - like I had won an oscar for best writing - and the rest of my day would have a glow about it because David had mentioned me.

Besides his Posts of the Day - David showed us what photography is about and he taught us to keep our eyes open and to look at everything. I have often looked at his photos and marveled at how he could take the ordinary and show me how beautiful it could be. Nothing seemed to escape David's attention - not even me.

Once a week David 'roasted' someone and interviewed them, bringing them to the notice of the blogging world with easy questions that let us tell our own story of why we blog. Again David featured me as one of his 'roasts' and I was thrilled beyond belief.

It takes a lot of work to do a blog post every single day. It takes something special to do what David did for us all. Besides his daily posts, David also showed us what being a good human being is all about.

I've read David's book - Vegemite Vindaloo - and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My only disappointment was that it wasn't signed by David. I hold out hopes that one day - if David ever visits Canada again, that I might be able to stand in line during a book tour and have him sign it for me.

I envy the fact that he is going off to concentrate on his novels. I'm sure he is going to put as much dedication into that as he did with authorblog. And, after reading Vegemite Vindaloo, I'm sure that anything else that comes from his pen is going to be something worth reading.

What comes to mind as I say my farewell to David McMahon is something that is written in my grandmother's autograph book. This message was written in 1897 by one of my grandmother's friends as she was getting ready to move from one part of Canada to another. I put it here as I think of David's move from blogging back into the world of being an author.

"Better loved you cannot be. Will you not come back again?"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Floundering - or is that Foundering?

I don't know if the fact that I am much older than I think I am (22) has anything to do with the amount of time it takes me to recuperate from a summer of helping out my brother - but I feel like I've been run over by a raft and bumped along the bottom of the river.

I've been home almost a week now and I'm still wallowing around like a beached whale. I raise a flipper only to have it flop back to the sand and I give a sad little 'oomph' from my blow hole and sink further into the fog.

During the summer I noted that if I came home for a few days when we didn't have trips that I usually didn't get out of bed much before 10am and even then I was hoarse and had heavy-lidded eyes. Yet when I am back at my brother's I am up at 6:30am and having my coffee (roasted by my brother) and getting ready to leap from my little trailer at 8am - bright and cheery (usually) and ready to greet the incoming rafters.

Even with the recession my brother was busier this year than last and we put it down perhaps to the idea that people have remained closer to home to have fun rather than traveling further distances and spending more money. People often overlook the simple fact that there are many things to do right around them - but then the grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?

So - add more people coming through to be entertained with the thrill of whitewater rafting - to the simple fact that it was the most frustrating and stressful summer of them all. Some of my readers have had emails from me over the summer talking about what I was enduring. Suffice it to say - all it really takes is one person who can ruin it for everyone. Whoever made that statement first really hit it on the head didn't they?

I've often thought of writing a tv series about whitewater rafting. There is so much that goes on right on the river and also behind the scenes. Over the last 30 years we have experienced some of the most incredible and some of the most ridiculous events you can imagine. The sport in itself attracts a certain type of person to go out and try it and it also attracts a certain type of person who is going to be a guide.

We have discovered that in the end - all guides are basically the same. They aren't normal people. They have some kind of crack in them that makes them a great whitewater guide. All of them are a little different than what is considered 'the norm' for society. Not only do they thrive on excitement and thrills but they also have the ability to entertain people and be able to do so while holding those lives in their hands. Not showing the strain of what that entails is an incredible asset. Knowing what that entails is what is important to my brother and to myself.
We are proud of our clean track record. In fact we always say 'Safety first - fun next' to anyone who will listen.

So - all this blabbering about my summer is only to say I'm still tired and I'm still gathering my wits. When I find them and put them all into one container I will continue on a more sane basis. As promised I will do a recap of 'The Man Tales' and then continue on with the story. That is if anyone is still interested. There might also be a few ravings in there about mental health issues - it depends on the day. Stay tuned or change the dial.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm Back!

So - I'm home again.

Rafting season has ended for another year and there is much rejoicing. Don't get me wrong - the people who came out rafting had a fantastic time as usual. It was just that some of us had the worst summer - ever. I think that has been quite evident in many of my stressful posts about mental health.

I've been helping my brother with his rafting business now for 20 years. Ever since I moved from Ontario to Alberta to help him out.

It's a fun thing to do for a summer - being a rafting guide - taming the wild river - making people scream with terror and excitement and then see their happy tired faces at the end of the day and know you gave them the best time of their lives. You bet it's fun!

But then there's behind the scenes. There is always those people who do all the grunt work that make these days possible for everyone. And that's me and my brother. We work all hours of the day. Sometimes I've been known to put in 16 hours a day as I try to organize everything. And I do it for the love of my brother.

However - even though I'm considered 'The Manager' - I don't have any clout. Sure I can fix that stare of mine on a wayward guide and know they are quaking in their river boots - but I am not allowed to really lay it on in case they quit. Guides are a very rare commodity and my brother is always afraid of losing them no matter how horrendous they are.

And that is what happened this summer. We got stuck with one of those guides. And I got stuck with not being able to say anything and so my frustration and anxiety built up all summer to the point where I thought I was going to lose it.

But then! A guide who we have known for over 10 years showed up and saved the day! His incredible sense of humour and the memories that came wafting back in when he walked in the door - wow! He really lightened the hearts of both my brother's and my own. We didn't know how we were going to endure the last month until Sam walked in and made us laugh once more. Thank you Sammy! We will never forget!

So ends the worst summer of my life. With a laugh and a smile and the hope that we will see Sam next summer.

And now - a few days of recuperation for me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And Breathe - - -

Sorry Folks.

Sometimes – when I’m not posting over here – I’m posting over there!

Guess ya gotta check it out once in a while to find me.

Pewter Bookhook -

And breathe – two, three……P9020005