Monday, November 23, 2015

Just Wonderin'

      I have been suffering a blogger problem for some time. I've tried all I know to solve it so now it's your turn.

      My followers widget is acting up. When I click on someone who is following me the screen breaks up and I cannot get to the person's blog. I've renewed the widget and that doesn't help. I've tried blogger and this is the first time they let me down. They didn't email a solution and I couldn't find the answer on their convoluted chat line. Has anybody else had this problem?

     Now here's where it gets murky for me. I'm not sure if the followers widget has anything to do with people being able to follow me??? People have reported that they can not follow me. So what causes that one? I suspect they are related. I also suspect that the solution is simple.

     Any ideas?

Saturday, November 21, 2015


       Most of us know someone who's had Parkinson's or is living with Parkinson's now. My Dad had Parkinson's. After a long slow helpless slide, Dad died in 2008. Nothing was done to treat Dad's Parkinson's. He was just looked after.

      So when I heard an interview about a book on Parkinson's I decided to find it. The interview was with the author , Jon Palfreman, and he caught my attention.

      The book is called Brain Storms : My fight against Parkinson's and the race to unlock the secrets of one of the brain's most mysterious diseases.

    Brian Palfreman worked in journalism and once diagnosed with Parkinson's became preoccupied with discovering all he could about the disease and if he could be treated.

    Parkinson's was discovered in 1817. Going back before 1817 many people of historical significance can be identified as having had Parkinson's.

    So Palfreman goes through the history of the many things that have been done to discover what causes  Parkinson's and the many things that have been done in an effort to treat Parkinson's. Many discoveries have been made that seemed promising and then turned out to be of little value. Each discovery and trial has lead further but not to a conclusion.

   The main area of research now is genetic. The hope is to find a cause and then to be able to treat Parkinson's.

    So on down the line we have drugs, surgery, grafting, exercise and gene therapy.

   "Parkies", as they like to call themselves, are optimistic and hopeful that treatment and prevention will be developed. I hope they're right as many of us will develop Parkinson's.

     I found this book to be a fascinating read.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Artist Returns

      A common saying is that the artist and his art doesn't become famous until after he dies. For some struggling artists , their ship never comes in. However, today's post deals with an artist who is being uncovered but not likely his art.

     My Dad liked to draw and was interested in art in a limited way. Sometime in the late 40's or early 50's when we went to the local beach an artist had set up his easel. He was there to paint and sell pictures as fast as he could. He had a system. He painted basically the same picture over and over.This was a mountain in the center, a lake in front of the mountain and trees on each side of the picture. There were a few variations. Some pictures had a waterfall leaving the lake. Some had a small animal  on a ledge. Some had a canoe on the edge of the lake. .

     Well this guy mesmerized Dad. Dad would have really liked to paint like this guy. The guy was a speed painter. His spruce trees took about two seconds flat to paint. Spruce trees seemed to just grow out of the canvas.

    Well, you can predict that Dad was going to by one of these paintings. I'm sure the painting didn't cost much...maybe $10.00 or less. Dad was very proud of his purchase. He took it home and framed it. He showed it to all people who came to the house.

    Mom? Well, Mom did not like the painting Dad bought. She grumbled about his painting to the end of her days.

   Sunday morning I turned the radio on and they were half way through an interview. I wasn't listening. I did get that they were discussing a documentary. I was waiting for the news. Then I got that the documentary was about a prairie artist and then I heard the name "Flexie". The name Flexie grabbed my attention. Flexie was the guy who painted the picture Dad bought. Check out the link as there's an interesting bio on Flexie.
   So a  documentary of Flexie was made and a show of his art was set up and shown in Regina Sask. I think it's also going to be shown in Calgary Alberta as well.

   So one little old radio interview brought back an interesting family story.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Silent Dreams

     I'm always amazed when I discover something for the first time in my 76 years. I have to ask myself, where have I been that I didn't know this before.

     Well, it's about dreams.

     Dreams have become less frequent the last few years. I can remember times when I would have several dreams in the same night. So I've had experience with dreams.

    Last night I dreamed that I was visiting China. Someone had picked me up in a truck and was taking me to a place to visit. There were no roads. There were only green fields that looked somewhat like AstroTurf. We drove into a pond and I thought here we go, we'll get stuck. No way. We just sailed through the water. 

    I was taken to a dining hall where about 30 people were eating. It seems to me there was only one thing to eat...pickles! People left the dining hall and one woman and two children were left and they were setting the tables for the next meal.

    Through all of this activity there was no sound! No sound for the truck. No sound from the young man driving the truck.
No sound of voices. No sound from the dining hall. 

    So when I awoke this morning and remembered the dream, I started to wonder. Have any of my dreams had sound? Have I been having dreams for my whole life and there's not sound? 

    I guess I'll never know. I will be ready to check on the sound the next dream I have.

    Do your dreams have sound? Do your dreams have color? 

    Sweet dreams!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Junk Book

     Sometimes when I go to the library I don't have time to look for a good book so I  grab a hand full of books and run. I hope that when I get home I will find that I want to read at least one of them.

     So the other day I picked up "I Once Was a Cowboy: Sixty years a Canadian Ranch Hand." First, I checked to see if I'd read it before as once in awhile I'll read one of these for it's historical value. I hadn't read this one and having nothing to read I read the first chapter. The next night I read some more and I was hooked. The guy had an interesting way of telling his stories and was logical and descriptive.

    This turned out to be a biography of a person who lived and worked in the outdoors not because he had to but because he liked the outdoors.

    Art Hagen was born about 1930 and was brought up in northern British Columbia , Canada. The family had 160 acres and were able to have the normal farm stuff like chickens, cows and a garden but no money. Art's Dad had a contract cutting poles for telephone and power lines. 

    Art left school at the end of the eighth grade and started doing add jobs. He worked with his Dad in the bush and worked on ranches. All these jobs were short term. Sometimes Art made the jobs short term himself and quit and moved on to another job. Art discovered rodeo and participated for many years.

    Art was also called to join the army. He was rejected on medical grounds.

   Art was on many cattle round ups and looked after cattle in the winter by hauling hay to them each day. Sometimes he had 500 cows to look after.

    Art had many horse that he liked and looked after some pretty ornery cows. Many of the horses were a story of their own. 

    Art worked with many colorful characters. He seemed to have a good relationship with his bosses and fellow workers.

    Art wrote in the common vernacular. With his grade eight education and rural background grammar was a problem but it made for an interesting way to tell a story. He had many very colorful sayings all through the book. Somebody might fall on their hind legs. 

   So this was one time I chose a book and thought I would never read . I thought it was a junk book with little merit. Art told his stories in an interesting manner and I was hooked into reading the whole book and enjoying it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Surprise Visitor

      When I came home last Sunday afternoon, there was a rabbit parked in my carport planter. Now this isn't an unusual occurrence. Rabbits seem to think my carport planter is a safe place to hang out.

     As I was unloading the car I got the sense that something was different with the beast in the planter. I had the camera in the car so decided to take some photos. I got closer and closer and the rabbit didn't move. I was now close enough to have a very good look. It was not a jack rabbit. It was a snowshoe hare.

     Now a snowshoe hare being in my yard is a big surprise. Snowshoe hares stay in the bush where there's lots of cover. Snowshoe hares have runs through the underbrush where they are protected and can eat with little disturbance. So with their tendency to stay in the bush I was surprised to see it in my yard. I'm about 800m( 880yds) from natural habitat so it's not as if he just took a little visit to my yard. This guy was out of his territory. This is the third snowshoe hare I've had in my yard over a forty year period.

     Snowshoe hares weigh 1-2 kg (2-4 lbs). They have smaller ears than the jack rabbit with a little black on the edges. They can have three litters a year so they have large fluctuations in population.

     In my opinion the snowshoe hare is a little cuter than the jackrabbit. The jack rabbit has a rather ugly head. these little guys have a rounder cuter face.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


     Today is the day we have ceremonies all over our country to remember those who've served in our military forces. There are many very colorful and meaningful remembrance day celebrations.

     I heard one statement today that makes more sense to me than others. November 11 is not the only day that we should remember. Remembering the effort and sacrifice every day of the year would be the right thing to do. Ceremonies to mark an occasion are fine, but in our heart what really counts is to remember every day.

    I was born in Oct. , 1939 just a few days after the war started. I remember very little. I do remember my Mom making up parcels to send to her brother and cousins who were overseas. I'm sure we were more of a nuisance in the parcel wrapping but it's something that stuck with me. 

    My favorite soldier is my son who was in the reserve forces from 1987 to 1992. He joined the reserve forces on his last day of high school thinking he had a good summer job.  He stayed with the reserves and took more training and became an officer. 

    He became the Officer in Charge of the local unit and supervised summer training. I was very proud to attend some of the events that he either lead or participated in.

Cadets doing their community service