Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Evidence Do We Leave?

      In a previous post I dealt with cleaning closets and that some of the things I found were old and not used anymore. I'm still cleaning closets. Well, I don't put in too many hours a day.

    However some of the things you find bring back old memories. Today we were doing the closet with photos and various memorabilia. We got tough today and threw away many things. Who in the world keeps tourist brochures from 20 years ago? Okay, you don't have to answer that.

    What I did find that brought back memories was a letter that I wrote in 1963 to my brother's gr. three class. I had just gone to teach in Inuvik , NWT. My brother's class was doing a unit on Eskimos. They decided to write me and each kid asked a question. I wrote them a very long letter. This letter brought back memories and also showed what I was like in 1963. I think I've changed since then.

   I began to think about the 51 year old letter. How much of my written material is still surviving? How much material  written about me is still on file? I would think that very few bits of written information about us remain.

    Two days later! I've been at it again. I've found more boxes, folders and binders. I might have to change my mind. Today I found old school stuff and was surprised at how much I had. Here's a list: thank you notes, programs, awards, teacher evaluation reports, evaluations I did on teachers and student teachers, letters to my superintendent about me, professional development conferences. I was very surprised at how much I had. For most of the material , I would bring it home to show my wife and it would disappear. I naively thought it had been disposed. 

    Well, this material survived for a while but now it is gone. At this stage in my life I had no use for old information.  

   Then I started to think about the present time with the Internet. Much more material is left today. My blog leaves all kinds of information. I have pictures saved instead of lost in some box. Institutions such as government save much more information on me.

   So in the future  how much information will survive? Will people find more information about us? If there's more information left, researching families should give us much more information.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Snow News

     Here it is April 18, Good Friday, and my major news is snow. We received about 2 to 3 in. of heavy wet snow today and just for emphasis some rain. What makes this a bigger surprise is that it was not forecast. 

Muhgo pine and juniper loaded with snow

    Needless to say road conditions have been treacherous. The QE 2 has been closed south of Calgary because of too many accidents. North of Calgary the going has been very slow on the QE 2.

A yard full of snow

    About half of our winter snow has melted so now we get a little new snow to top things off.

Spruce loaded with snow

    Today our sunrise was at 6:31 and sunset is at 8:39 so we get 14 hours and 8 minutes of sunshine. At one time today the ceiling was 400 ft. The ceiling is the bottom of the cloud layer. The low ceiling made for a very dull day. And also the high was plus 2 C (35 F).

Slushy road

    At this rate it could be a very short summer.

    And with that, a Happy Easter to all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cleaning Closets

      In a very weak moment, in fact , the weakest moment in my life, I agreed to help the Micro Manager with some spring cleaning.

    Yesterday we bumbled into cleaning the main bedroom closets. There are two shelves above the rod where  clothes hang. We found stuff to be very dusty so took it all down shook  it outside, dusted the shelf ceiling and wall. As we cleaned things I looked over the contents of some boxes. I found two boxes containing items from my teaching career. There were certificates, programs, superintendent reports and principal reports. There were programs for all award ceremonies that I ever attended. Along with this, were my teaching certificates. There were those fancy certificates you get when you receive a degree. And oh ya...all of my school report cards! My Mom had saved my report cards and gave them to me. Now all of this stuff has to go except the certificates and report cards. I didn't say it's gone. It's back in the closet and who knows when it will actually be laid to rest.

     The Micro Manager started on  the clothes. All articles of clothing had to be taken out to shake off the dust.

    This morning I was assigned  shift on cleaning the clothes in the closet. Now the Micro Manager buys clothes very carefully, wears them carefully and looks after them meticulously. She also does not get  rid of any clothes. You guessed it. This closet is more than full. Now I got to see a great range of styles. But when the pant suit with the bell bottoms came out, I was impressed! You've got to be old to know what pant suits are! So to say the least, there is a huge number of clothes, many of which should have been disposed of long ago.

    We have lived in the same house since 1970. If you move you part with stuff rather than go to the effort of moving it. At this stage of life the Micro Manager is in panic mode as she knows that the big move may not be that far off. 

   If it was me, I would have little more than a suitcase of possessions. I am completely opposite of the Micro Manager.

    So my weak moment has resulted in some interesting discoveries, some shocking realizations  and some reflections on what we've been doing since 1970.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Good-bye Murray

     Today I attended a celebration of life for Murray and thought of the many things that made the man.

     I first met Murray in '97 when I started senior skating. Murray was a very active skater and influenced others to skate and have fun.

    Murray was lively, feisty and energetic. He was also kind, caring and thoughtful.

    What I really liked about Murray is that he was a great story teller.

     Murray had been a farmer all his life. He was a farmer from his boot toes to the top of his ears. Of course, his stories were farm stories. Since I was brought up on a farm I appreciated Murray's stories. It was easy to set Murray up to tell a story. Mention tractors and Murray had stories...green tractors , yellow tractors, red tractors. He had tractor stories! Mention storms and he had stories of snow storms, hail storms, wind storms, dust storms and thunderstorms. Mention crops and there were good, bad and bumper crops. Wells? He had many experiences with wells. Machinery breakdowns? He fixed them all. Cows? There wasn't any experience Murray didn't have with those darn cows.

     So these stories were about a way of life and there was always something you could learn or take away from a story. Murray's stories were descriptive and memorable.

   I mentioned Murray's story telling to his son today, and there was a big chuckle of agreement about his Dad's stories. He told me that his Dad had his first heart attack when he was 48. He said, "I don't think Dad thought he would have a long life so he lived and cherished each day that he had."

   Murray was a great example of how to face challenges and live life to the fullest.

    Murray and his stories will be missed.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Freaking Out When You Think You're Old

    About 1992 we hired a young single male teacher. Tom was well qualified and quickly became a very good teacher.

    Tom was single and as single guys go he could have  good time. 

    Soon Tom was married to his long time girlfriend and of course children appeared. Now Tom is a very affectionate, caring and sentimental guy. Tom's wife is a very lucky woman and his kids have experienced a solid family upbringing. The family traveled and participated in sports.

   I saw Tom and his family from time to time and it was always interesting to see the kids grow. Tom was very proud of his two boys. Oh yes, they learned how to fish! They also became good hockey players.

   Tom is a Face Book friend. The other day he said, "It's happened and I can't believe it. We took Gord to the high school orientation night!"  Tom couldn't believe that his son had grown up so quickly and was ready to enter high school. Yes, Tom was freaking about his age.

    So we have kids and are extremely busy with them and don't notice the time going by. I was surprised when my kids were ready to start school. It seemed like the time they were little went by very quickly. Where time really seemed to race is when they were in Middle school. Once they were through Middle School they seemed to be out on their own much more and away from home. I still wanted to have them at home. 

     All at once a certain milestone is reached and we are keenly aware of time going by rather quickly. Our kids are growing up and we are getting older.

     I'm sure the people who have children mark the passage of time by what happens with their kids.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hiawatha House Goes Dark for Today

     Today I don't have anything ready to write about. I have a few ideas in the back of my head but I'm not ready to work on them. Maybe I'm a little lazy today.

     So today, Hiawatha House will be dark!

     Dark comes from the theatre when there's no show on for the day. The lights for the stage are off so it's dark. Dark also comes from horse racing when there's a day with no races.

    I know that bloggers quite often have dark days. We need breaks. Forcing a post probably results in so so post. Forcing a post puts stress on the writer. 

    I've been following some rooky bloggers and they find it challenging to come up with ideas for posts. I think some of them are too fussy. You have ideas and then you have to build a post on that idea. Tell an interesting story.

    Do you get stressed out when stories dry up? What do you do when the well runs dry?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Limps to Hiawatha House.

      We are experiencing some spring weather. We've had above 0 C (32 F) highs for 7 days. Some of our snow is starting to disappear. However , things have moved very slowly.

      We've had snow since the end of October. When snow melts all the grunge that has been mixed in over the winter shows up. It's not a pretty sight.  Some leaves fell after the snow fell and they are pretty messy. We have bare patches of ground but the grass is still brown.

It's incredible how dirty snow can get

Snow plows make windrows when they take the sow off the road.

Now the camera has picked up some green bit I assure you I don't have green grass.
     Sunrise today was at 6:56 and sunset is 8:20 so we get 13 hours and 24 minutes of sunlight a day. 

     Now if I could only send some snow to Far Side of Fifty I might win here prize for guessing the day her snow disappears!

     So as you can see, spring is slowly coming to Hiawatha House.