Above: It's Shannon Convery's "one and only pix from this
year's Niagara Wine Festival. It's her and pal Debbie as they enjoy
rocking tunes and ice cold beer. Read the special history behind Shanny and pals Wine Festival traditions below.
Previous years fun. L to R: Pam and her fellow Troll pal, Julie, "Aunt Becky" & Shanny.
Rockin' Rollin' Wine Fest
We're certain our pal Shannon Convery enjoyed her annual Wine Festival traditions with her friends and Aunt Becky.
Each year on the day of Niagara Wine Festival's Annual Grande Parade, Shanny and her girls meet at The Chilli Papper bar in downtown St Catharines where cover band The Figure Four play a gig in the parking lot.
Later it's off to Cat's Caboose where once again the band will perform outdoors and their "groupies" will follow.
NOT a VIDEO LINK -ignore play button
It is as much of a traditional now as the parade itself and I can say that I have been there to join the gang in past years. Today I would not be able to stand (or sit) on those concrete parking lots for very long before I'd be in massive pain. I am on meds, so adding sucking back cans of beer all day is not a good combination, as I have learned in the past.
Be that as it may, I will always be thinking of Shannon, Becky and pals whenever I think about Niagara's Wine Festival.
Our new friend JJ is feeling much better these days, as evident by the mischief he gets into. Although I made him a play area which he really enjoys, this curious kitty has found lots of other "NO" spots to hang out in.
My plants are a popular choice and have been raised to areas JJ will hopefully not get to. He did discover the window sill with a couple of plants on it, but there were no causalities. My favourite spot was finding him balanced on top of my digital photo frame...that was a close call!
Now that he is feeling better, JJ has been meeting more new friends. Recent guests included Becky Lee, Cathy Neil, Kerri Fortier-Thompson, my sister Jane and my nephew Graham. Everyone fell in love with him, with more than one friend wanting to take him home with them!
He's also scared me bigtime ....twice. Somehow getting locked out in the hall once and one time on the deadly balcony.
I've introduced him to a collar with a bell on it tonight....I don't think he is going to be thrilled about this but maybe I will be able to find him better.
When I saw this silly tweaked photo of our Welland pal Sandra Burger-Vedder I immediately thought of Shrek's wife Fiona. No, this is NOT what Sandra normally looks like, but she can make you laugh out loud, even when she isn't photoshopped.
As we acknowledge that it was 2 years ago that we said goodbye to Vivian Campbell, Scribbles reprints our tribute to her, written in 2011.
Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Friend and Neighbour.......Vivian Campbell was the Best of Each
My mother would probably be able to tell you the exact date, but to the best of my recollection, it was probably about 40 years ago that my family moved to Rebecca Street in St Catharines. Living next door to us were the Campbells. There was Lorne, his wife Vivian and their kids Kenzie, Karin, Kelly and Kirby. I became friends with the "Campbell Kids", was in the same grade as Kelly and buddies with Kirby.
Because I hung out with Kirby (and our "entourage"), I was at the Campbell's home a lot in those days and it was then that I would first meet Vivian Campbell. "Mrs Campbell" as I always addressed her as back then, was such a nice lady. Someone I always thought of as being very strong and level-headed.
Throughout the years there would be many changes at those neighbouring homes on Rebecca Street. Both my parents and Lorne and Vivian would watch as their children would eventually each leave the nest and start families of their own. The Campbell's mourned the passing of eldest son Kenzie, who left us far too young. As the years rolled on, both my mom and Mrs Campbell would become widows, with the passing of Lorne and my dad Don.
My mom and Vivian were always the best of neighbours. They'd check the mail for each other when one of them was away and in recent years, Vivian and I shared cat-feeding duty when my mom went on vacations. I visited my mom frequently and it was not unusual to see Vivian and exchange greetings.
Sadly that would change, as Vivian began her battle with cancer. Soon, instead of seeing Vivian out and about when I'd visit mom, I'd see various vehicles parked in her driveway belonging to caregivers and family.
Now even that has become history.
Although Kirby, Kelly, Karin and I all went our own ways over the years and lost touch, I'd sometimes see Kirby when he was visiting his mom and reconnected with Karin and Kelly thanks to facebook. To each of you I offer my sincerest sympathy. Your mother was a wonderful person, just like your dad and she will be dearly missed.
Vivian Campbell Feb. 22, 1933 - Sept. 28, 2011 Written in 2011 by Scribbles
It was a bittersweet 'anniversary' on Sept. 25th for our friend Pam Hopkins and her family. It was a year ago that Pam's son David Wanamaker lost his battle with Addison's Disease. He was only 24.
There's never a good time to lose a loved one but David's passing happened only a few days before his sister was to be married. As emotionally charged as it may have been, the show must go on, as they say, and David's sister's wedding took place as planned. David would have wanted it that way.
Talk about your roller coaster ride of emotions. One day saying goodbye to your son and the next day rejoicing in the wedding of your daughter. But if anyone could pull this one off, it was indeed Pam.
Truly one of the strongest women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and calling a friend, Pam used the experience to grasp even more out of each day life has to offer.
These days Pam is engaged to heartthrob Craig and moved from St Catharines to Fort Erie before enjoying a well-deserved break.
Pam I know it has now been over a year since we last saw each other and that is largely due to me forever putting a get together on hold. It's time I took a page from your playbook and started putting a little more living into my days and that includes reconnecting with those who I have seemingly (yet unintentionally) seem to have dodged this past year.
Our deepest sympathy to Bill and Janet McParland and their family on the sudden loss of their beloved little dog Monty. Monty had been missing from the family's country home in Renfrew for a few days. Sadly he had been hit by a car and passed away.
Monty was just over a year old, having turned one on June 14th.
I met Monty during my visit to the Valley in August. He was very affectionate and so cute.
Monty's dog brother Charlie joins the McParlands, their family and friends as we all mourn the loss of this dear little guy, who left us far too soon.
Back in the late 80's & early 90's Scribbles kept busy creating not one but two publications. In addition to Scribbles Magazine, we produced Gusto's Grapevine (GV). Gusto's was Niagara's #1 LGBT bar and dining lounge at the time and GV acted primarily as a guide and review of events held in and around the club.
In one edition of GV, we interviewed Johnathon Crawford, renown for performing as "Mariah" and who had also worked with Garden City Productions and other groups. Here's some excerpts from that interview.
We asked Johnathon what inspired him to become involved with drag. "It's a challenge, I think the ultimate challenge for an actor is to impersonate the opposite sex believeably", said Johnathon.
When asked if he had a preference in acting roles, Crawford told GV "I really love dramatic, serious numbers but being a larger person the comedy numbers come across better. Unless it's a powerful statement like when I do 'I am what I am' because it's a song that has conviction that I believe in, I can make it very theatrically dramatic which is different than just lip synching."
"Performing is my love...I've never made a living out of it because it's competitive and I'm not a competitive person," Johnathon shared. "I enjoy it but when something you love becomes your living or work, it sometimes loses its enjoyment".
When we asked what his favourite performance had been at that time, Johnathon told us "The double number 'A little bit of Mascara' speaks of a performer who sorta has an out of body experience every time he performs. By putting on a little bit of mascara and an outfit, all the terrible things in the world disappear. You create joy, laughter and sorrow, it's all at your fingertips."
Johnathon spoke of his involvement with GCP (he was currently doing 'Sugar Babies' at the time of our interview.) "I'd like to see myself putting together more shows and working with charities and the community" he said and which he later did plenty of.
When speaking of getting involved with one's community, Johnathon told Scribbles "It's very fulfilling".
He added, "Don't sit in the background complaining that something should be done. Get your buns up front and do something for your community and you".
Here's a look at one of Gusto's fundraising events. Click on pix to view larger version.
Timing is everything they often say and that was never truer than when my beloved cousin Jeanne Prince and her daughter Megan Fox invited me to spend some time with them in the Ottawa Valley.
As is tradition, Jeanne and Megan spent a week in Niagara this Summer. They were very much aware that I was going through some rather difficult times and asked me if I would join them for their trip back to Renfrew.
With all elements taken care of, including my bus ticket back, there was no excuse for me to say no.
I spent the following five days enjoying the company of Jeanne and her husband Peter, Megan and her boyfriend Andy and my many relatives who call the Ottawa Valley home.
From a peaceful day at a cottage on a remote island to taking in popular Renfrew attractions, my mini vacation was just what the doctor had ordered.
There's no denying it. Scribbles friends LOVE Summer and we crammed as much excitement into every moment of it as possible. Here's some of the things that kept smiles on your faces during the past few months.
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ONE LESS ITEM ON HIS BUCKET LIST
Renfrew pal Dan Toner celebrated his 50th birthday in August and was thrilled by the gift his loving wife Sarah gave him.....a chance to sky dive! Apparently, jumping from a plane at a death defying height is something Dan has always wanted to do.
I guess now he can scratch that one off his bucket list, but something tells me by the look on his face in the pix above, he will probably be doing it again soon.
DON'T FORGET MY ROOT BEER
Keira Blythin and her big brother William may be too young to drive, but that's didn't stop them from bringing their box cars to their local A&W in Niagara Falls this Summer.
Those are some mighty impressive looking vehicles kids, what kind of mileage do they get? : )
With his niece and nephew in need of rides and no longer little kids, "Uncle" Rob Dennis said goodbye to his "classic" 87 Buick and hello to a spacious 2006 Pontiac Montana. With plenty of seats and lots of storage space, there's ample room for Rob, his family, friends and whatever he wishes to transport from point a to point b.
They live in Ireland, which is often referred to as the emerald island, but our far away friends Matthew Glasgow and husband Stephen are a bit green with envy as they continue to tour parts of America. Thus far, the happy couple's destinations have included many hotspots throughout California, Arizona and Utah. Their friends back home (and here in Canada) got to follow Matthew and Stephen via their numerous facebook posts, photos and maps.
WOW, you're seeing more of America than many of its residents do. Awesome!
Lots of Scribbles pals made Safari Niagara one of their destinations for fun this Summer. Above (left) Aietch Ruberg and his parents Lee and Tammie pose at the park's entrance. On the right, Graham Clark pokes his head in the old Zooz sign and later enjoys a ride in a paddle boat with his dad Ken.
The park had become more and more popular in recent years, thanks to a little revamping, a name change and the some kick ass concert attractions.
PHOTOS COURTESY BOBBY ROCK'S FACEBOOK PAGE
HE WILL, HE WILL ROCK YOU!
Our friend Bobby Rock (B.R.) was busy this Summer, rockin' and rollin' his way across Niagara and often raising money and awareness for worthy causes along the way. Above B.R. clowns around in his Chickenfoot t-shirt and belts it out at a show with Sean Spencer and Colin Wollf.
After over 40 years living in a house, my mother Joan Storie has moved to a beautiful and spacious apartment. The big event occurred on Sept. 5th, when a team of movers packed Joan's belongings and transported them to St Lawrence Village, a cluster of apartments in St Catharines.
The "village" includes an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, community events buildings and more. Located within a short drive of a strip plaza and two large malls, Joan will find everything she needs only a stone's throw away.
The apartment is pet friendly, meaning Timmi can still visit his Nana regularly or have a sleepover. Mom is also now located much closer to both my sisters and their families (although a bit further away from my place in Welland.)
Congrats on your new home mom....I think you are really going to love apartment living. With maintenance and repairs only a phone call away and disposing of trash much more convenient, you'll never have to retrieve recycle bins like we see below, ever again!!
I love this photo of Rodney and Alina Dennis. There's no need to do a DNA test to prove Rodney is indeed Alina's dad, their similar looks says it all. Wicked!
Holy cow, how time flies! Our New Jersey pal Joanne Kildow is seen here celebrating with her sons at Kutztown Tavern, who are certainly not the little boys they once were [as seen in inset pix with cats Rocky and Dean]
I remember one of the very first pix Jojo (aka "SS") sent of her sons, taken way back in the day when we both worked for Troll Book Clubs (Jojo at the main U.S. location, me at the Canadian location in St Catharines.) They were just wee kids then. Seems they've gone from boys to men in the blink of an eye (yet amazingly, both Joanne and myself look exactly the same as ever....LOL!)
A KID AT HEART
Proving you're never to old to have fun, Terry William Lyons-Schram recently celebrated his 50th birthday with fine food, fantastic friends and fabulous fun. No, Terry didn't have an inflatable castle at his party but there was surely lots of bounce in the air that night.
SEE FULL SCREEN VERSION OF PIX BY CLICKING ON THEM
PICTURE PERFECT (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM UNKIE)
BEFORE & AFTER SCANS
Our friend Diane Murray was excited to scan and display a photo of her and hubby BJ on her facebook page [seen above on the left.] The photo was taken at Diane's son Patrick's wedding to his sweetheart Nicole. [as seen above on the right.]
Unfortunately Diane's first photo attempt was more blank scanner bed than the actual photo of her and BJ. Lovingly known to me as Endora (from 'Bewitched') I (Uncle Arthur) posted a message that her pix would look better if it had been cropped.
Challenging me to put my money where my mouth is, Diane replied "Ok
Uncle Arthur, you're the expert. How can I fix this? I scanned this
pic then uploaded and was prompted to expand it, did that, and this is
what I got...help!"
While I could have tried to write an explanation as to how to crop her scanned pic, me being me, I took it one step further by creating a "how to" video clip for her.
In case you too have wondered how to crop scanned pix, here's the DIY video Unkie created for Endora...
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School's been back for a few weeks now and here we are posting pix of June graduations. Erin Papple and her brother Patrick are seen here after their graduation ceremonies. Erin is now cooking up a storm at Niagara College's Culinary School while her brother continues his studies in high school. WOW, where does the time go?