Monday, February 8, 2016

I Had to Learn Something

     Recently I had to learn something and I found out I have much more to learn. 

     If you've been following me , you know that I have been mumbling about scanning photos for some time. So in January 2016 I was ready or so I thought. I have been looking at how things are done and what options there may be.  I wanted to be able to send all the photos to my kids as they are photos of them. So I have about 20 years of photos to scan and send. 

     So one of the first things I learned is that the photos I've been looking at for 40 years are not that great. The old cameras didn't take that great of photo. Sometimes they got lucky and everything was perfect. Photographers (me) didn't know much, so light was the last of things I considered. My wife always had some shake in the photo. Many photos we didn't take. Many photos were of high quality and reproduce well. School photos done be a professional turn out very well.

    I did not intend to scan all photos and I've found I've deleted many I scanned.

    I wanted to be able to put a caption on each photo. I wrote about this one before. 

    I had been given lots of advice. Make sure the photo surface is clean. I haven't learned that one yet. I can't see the dust so I go sailing on and guess what, the scanner picks up the dust. Keep your photos square. I'm pretty good at that one.

   I've had to do a lot of experimenting. You can set your scanner and then you can do more with the computer.  Some photos can be reproduced with a reasonable quality. Other photos, I can't do much with.

    So as I go along I learn more. What happens if I click on this? Oh, that's what happens! That makes a big difference. Today I clicked on a sun that's half shaded. I found it adjusted shadow and gave a much sharper image.

    Now there's also the issue of practice. Things improve as I move along. 

    I've sent some photos to the victims and they are very pleased with them. My son commented that they are "awesome."

   So guess what? With all I've learned, I've gone back and done many batches of photos over again
Must have been Hawaii Day at school!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Hissy Fit

      Hissy fit was a term originally applied to adults who had a tantrum. Today it is a more general term and applied to all ages. I hate to see hissy fits period. It doesn't matter what age has a tantrum it's a very sad performance. People become very irrational and don't listen to anyone or anything. 

     So the other day I had to deal with a hissy fit.

     I'm the administrator of a small face book page for the Red Deer River Naturalists. The page was set up as an exchange of information and photos on anything to do with natural history. There are now close to 2000 excellent photos on the page. It's a closed group so you have to be approved by the administrator. Wow! We don't want hookers any other sales people.  So keep it to the topic.

     Yesterday, an information piece  comparing the Alberta Tar Sands to Mordor was posted. Somebody got in a flap and claimed this post wasn't suitable for the face book page. Very quickly others piled on this person and defended the Tars Sands piece.

     The complainant reported the post to the!  What do I do? There's a big bar across the page saying that there was a complaint about a post. I didn't want this negative info on the front page.

     So I had to wade into the rhubarb which is dangerous. Everybody can sometimes end up piling on you.

     The big bad bar remained. How do I get rid of it? If you click on the bar you will be given three choices. One is to get rid of the bar.

     Most times when an inappropriate comment is made people will ignore it. I'm not sure why it wasn't ignored yesterday and why it blew up.

    Today it's all quiet on the Red Deer River Naturalist's face book page.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Eat Yer Heart Out DJan

       DJan has two very well written blogs: DJan-ity and Eye on the Edge.  DJan-ity tells about her physical activities to keep healthy and physically fit. Eye on the Edge deals with a heavier deeper  issue of where she came from, what she was and what she's going to be before she dies. Both blogs are interesting and well worth following. 

       DJan lives in the coastal mountains in the northwest corner of Washington state. It's a beautiful place to be outdoors. Each Thursday, without fail, Djan goes for a hike with 10-15 other seniors. Each Thursday there is a vivid account of the hike. I find out how long the hike was, how much altitude was involved , trail and weather conditions and social interactions along the way. Photographs are always included.

      Now I admit I get a tad envious of her hiking activity as at one time I was a hiker backpacker. I have lived every experience she has lived . I love the great outdoors.

     I live about 120 km(80mi) from the Canadian Rockies. The Rockies were my hiking and backpacking territory. I taught outdoor ed. and took many school classes to the Rockies where we backpacked, snow shoed or skied.

    I also went with friends on more strenuous trips.

     I've been scanning photos and found some of my backpacking activities. That's why this post is aimed at DJan. Most of my hiking was done well above the treeline which to me is the best area to be. The meadows are carpeted with flowers. Ground nesting birds are abundant

    The photos are from a four day trip over Jonas Pass in Jasper National Park , Alberta. The hike is about 72 km(45 mi). So off we go with 50 lb packs that carry food, clothing, tent and sleeping bags. It's back country and any facilities are primitive.

     Many people are familiar with the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park.  Jonas Pass takes you through the next valley east of gorgeous Athabaska pass(Columbia Glacier). The Icefield's Highway was built in the 30's. It wasn't built before that as the Columbia Glacier filled the whole valley and you couldn't put a road through a glacier. Horse traffic went through Jonas Pass. Nowadays 10 - 15 hikers a year go over Jonas pass following the old horse trails.

    The trip I took was in the first week of July. The 2 or 3 km over the Pass were completely snow covered. There were areas where snow had drifted and the snow bank was 10 m (30 ft) deep.

    Any backpack trip I've ever taken , I would do over in a heart beat. This was a great one.

I don't know where this creek was coming from but we had to wade across it.

That big deep snow bank

Watching a small herd of mountain caribou in the valley below.

There were many large boulder fields to cross.

The exact top of the pass

Moving toward the pass through the snow field
One of the 2 or 3 primitive bridges

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mr. Smarty Pants Gets Caught

     Now I make it well known that I am fairly active for my age...not super active but active. I think I am on the edge of bragging about it or outright bragging. I skate, ski and cycle. I do all my own maintenance.

     Well yesterday things came to a screeching halt. I fell and broke my collar bone! Yes me!

      I thought I go out and ski for half an hour yesterday afternoon. At the end of my driveway there was ice under a little new snow . I didn't see it so down I went.

     My ski boots are made of a hard plastic type material. I know they're slippery on ice so I'm always careful but I guess not careful enough.
     I got up quickly hoping that I wasn't seen...a little vanity. For  split second I thought I'd continue on my way skiing. Things really didn't hurt much. I went in the house to check and nothing seemed out of place but I decided not to ski.

     Between 5 and 6 the pain really set in. I could hardly change clothes to go to emergency. 

     I got to emergency at six PM and home by midnight. Then I still had to do dishes!

    I've been given a sling to wear for a month and exercises to do.

   I'm looking forward to this month! Well, not really! That's it for skating and skiing for me this year!

   So guys who show off get caught once in awhile!

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Second Shot

      In my last post I covered my son's adoption. That event was not enough to derail the plan for two children. So off we go on another adoption event.

      We discussed adoption in great detail before we took any action. We decided we wanted two children. The micro manager brought up the topic of sexes of the children. I'd never given sexes a thought. I just was ready to take whatever came along. My wife asked what I wanted. My choice was to have both children of the same sex. I didn't care if it was two boys or two girls. My wife wanted a boy and a girl. So you see whose influence carried the weight.

     We also wanted a two year space between the kids. However, that was out of our hands. We made an application that we thought might give a two year space. A home visitation was not necessary and most of the information was exactly the same. So all the paperwork is done. Now you just sit and wait.

      Oh yes, we had a very bright little two year old to consider in this application. We tried to prepare him for the arrival of a baby sister. He listened, nodded his head, but the eyes told me he didn't grasp the reality. And what two year old would understand this situation.

     Well, you'd never guess this. The Dept. phoned Dec.  22 again! Come and pick up a baby tomorrow. This time we were ready. So pack up the car with a two year old and all the stuff for a newborn and off we go the next day.

     The routine in the office was the same. We were given all the information about the new baby. A big box of toys just happened to be in the office so a two year old was completely in his own world. 

     Again they brought the baby in and left us. We wanted our son to look at the new baby which he did for about two and a half seconds.

     Immediately we had some serious questions about this little girl. Her head was twisted to one side. When the worker came back we brought this up. Was there a health problem? Was this a permanent condition. The physician who did a medical on her two days before was phoned. He said she did not have anything wrong and thought that it was as a result of her moving in and out of houses, cars and offices. 

    We were reassured and decided to take the baby.

    Off the 100 miles to home with our two kids. 

    The twisted sore neck disappeared in a couple of days. 

    With two little kids we decided to stay home for Christmas. 

    The kids birthdays were four days apart so we got as close to a two year space a we could possibly get. 

    I was happy to have a boy and a girl.

    I've always told my kids that they are the two best kids I could ever have.

    Would I do it again? Yes, I'd do it over in a heartbeat!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Good Surprise Relived

       I have been working very slowly to digitalize some of my photos. Along the way I am discarding poor photos and renewing memories of events many years ago.

    Yesterday I did photos of the first two years of my son's life.

       My son was adopted in 1969 and it was definitely a memorable experience. The whole experience was brought back by working with the photos.

      The adoption procedure at that time was handled by the government. We filled out a long detailed form. We had an interview and home inspection. We got references. Then we had to wait and see if our application was accepted. The Micro manager wanted to buy baby clothes, furniture etc. I persuaded her not to buy anything just in case our application was refused.The procedure was finished by early November. The micro manager asked precisely how long things would take. We were told that we would receive notification of our acceptance in about two months. After our acceptance it could be months or a year before there would be a placement. Fine.

     On Dec. 21 at 2:00 Pm my wife received a phone call telling us we had been accepted. Naturally she was excited. Fifteen minutes later at 2:15 PM she received a phone call asking us to travel 100 miles the next day to pick up a baby!!! By the time I got home the Micro manager was really hyper! Remember now that she had no baby materials whatsoever. Remember who was the cause of making no purchases for a new baby. My wife was able to persuade them to give her two extra days. She resigned her temporary nursing position and then shopped non stop for the next two days. All the necessities were purchased.

      Now this is a very exciting event. A major change was about to happen in our lives. Normally people have nine months to get their head around a new person in the family.

     At the agency we received about an hour's information. We were asked if we wanted to see this baby. The baby was brought in and we were left alone to make a decision if we wanted this child. After 15 min. they came back and asked us if we were sure that we wanted this child.

     One look at him and he was ours. So on Dec. 23 we were out of there with a brand new son. It was very exciting day. I think it was a scary day for him as he'd been taken from the foster home in the morning and was probably kept in some back office until we saw him in the afternoon.

    Now we had decided to stay home for Christmas as my wife had booked shifts over the Christmas holidays. We decided in a hurry to go to my parents for Christmas. We also decided not to tell them we were coming. We arrived late Christmas Eve. It was  a big surprise for them to find us   on their doorstep late Christmas Eve.. It was a bigger surprise for them when they found out they had a new grandson.

 Since were totally unprepared for this event we did not have a name picked out. We didn't know if we were getting a boy or a girl. We wanted to name him before we got to Dad's place where Dad would put in his suggestions and we didn't want to be in a position to where we might offend Dad by not taking his suggestion.. The naming took place on the 500 mile trip.

    So there were a series of eventful surprises in a few short days. Checking out the photos brought back the memories of a most important event in my life.

     I will never forget this and it will be the best surprise I ever had in my life.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ya Gotta Obey the Damn Law

       It has always bothered me when people or a group have issues of disagreement with the government and they twist , bend or outright falsify what they think the rules are which they can use to push their cause.

      Two different groups have recently reminded me of disgruntled people who attempt to take the law or part of it into their own hands.

     In my province, Alberta, Canada, we elected a very different government in May. We'd had the same party in Govt. for over forty years. They had become incompetent and tone deaf except for their own interest and that of their friends. Naturally there are some sore losers. Democracy has spoken and we have to live with it until the next election. We have all the usual ways to persuade the government to change it's policies. 

     A group here has decided to organize a coup d'etat which they spell "kudatah". Their plan is to get a petition and take it to the legislature and see the lieutenant governor . this petition would cause the governor to dismiss the current party which has 55 members and install the guy's small party with 23 members in government. It's loony but it's scary. They have a completely warped sense of how the world operates.

     The other incident is the group in Oregon which has taken over a wildlife refuge facility. They have some disagreements with their government which has gone on for some time. Two of the group are going to jail for a long time as they have broken laws. These two justify what they did as being the proper thing to do on land they lease from the government. 

     Now I look on marches, petitions, sit ins, letters, speeches as fair ways to urge a government to change policy. Then there are procedures that are set up that can be used in a more formal way. Hearings can be held in a number of ways that give the public a way to protest. Currently we are having hearings on building major oil pipelines. People who have issues about the environment, aboriginal or land can present evidence.

     When you take over a facility and prevent the government from using it that's going too far. When your main purpose is to overthrow a government rather than change specific policy differences, that goes too far.

    I once had a resolution that I put forward at our teachers' provincial annual general meeting. I knew I had very little support for my resolution but I wanted a chance to speak to the motion and get support for it. I used up every step in the process. For a last gasp I  challenged the chair. The house voted and supported the chairman and I was finished. Was I angry ? No. I was disappointed but I'd done all I could.

    Sometimes we have to accept loss in a democratic system. Sometimes we may even have to admit that we are wrong. Democracy can be very messy and slow but it gets the job done.

A scrappy little pine siskin