Friday, December 19, 2014

Skater Christmas Party

     Every year our senior skating group has a Christmas party. We shame the recreation dept. into supplying donuts and then most skaters bring food. Without any organization we have great variety of sandwiches, cheese  and   all the fancy Christmas goodies you could wish for.

     We contact  as many former skaters as we can find.

     So after the Friday skate we are ready to have a good time. Former skaters are always excited to get together. It gets pretty noisy as people great one another and visit.

We get ready

Really steppin' out

On the bench when the ice is resurfaced

this is what we came for

You've gotta be careful to get all the good stuff

Good times

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bumbling Along on the Blog

      A fellow I finished high school with had a look at my blog the other day. He made a couple of comments and a compliment. Since school days take me back to the mid fifties I got thinking about the origin of  my blog.

      Now comments and compliments send me to greater wildness. This set off reflections on how I started blogging. 

      The only thing I knew is that I wanted to write. I thought I had some weighty and serious things to say. Many of you will laugh because my blog is not that serious. I was completely naive. I did not have the Internet at my house. I had an email account and had searched the web. I had also used the word processor. 

    So I set up Hiawatha House. I thought anything I wrote would be hung out there on the net and everybody would see it. People would open their computers and there I would be! I would have the world reading my blog. This would so cool! I made 2 posts in the first 4 months. Click here to see my first post. Slowly I began to realize that nobody was reading my blog.

    So fast forward to Blogging for Dummies. A few things made sense to me in this book that was written in very simple terms. I really got hung up on URLs. I couldn't figure out what they were but they were important. One time I bumbled into what a URL was. This brought about many changes and developments but still no readers. 

     I began looking at other blogs. To this point I had not read any other blogs. I bumbled into comments and related it back the Blogging for Dummies. I read comments for a while and finally learned how to make a comment.

    I discovered stat counters. This showed that my readership was between none and very few. Finally I was very surprised to see a comment. I didn't know what it was. To say the least I was very excited.

    Another hurdle was that I did not know how to cut and paste. A friend accidentally asked me to cut and paste something and I though ah ha this is how it's done. I had done cut and paste on the word processor but it had not transferred to the blog. Cut and paste helped me advance by leaps and bounds.

    The learning curve was steep and very slow. I still spent a lot of time with Blogging for Dummies. 

     When I look back I can not understand why I persisted. I just bumbled along and made discoveries. 

     Little did I realize that I would still be blogging in 2014! Little did I realize that I would some day have written over 800 posts. Little did I realize that I would meet many other bloggers and things would develop into a  very interesting and supportive community.

    My blog has become an interesting and time consuming hobby. I can not see giving up blogging.

     Thanks to all the bloggers who have been a part of supporting Hiawatha House.

      Thanks to my high school friend for causing me to go back and reflect on what Hiawatha House has become.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Felt Like Santa

      A couple of months ago I was waiting for my wife in the grocery store. At the far end of the store I saw a couple of people waving. As they got closer, I could see that they were waving at me. I recognized the two brothers and the friendly grins on their faces. These two are about 14 and 16. 

     These two boys lived a few houses down from me until three years ago. They still come back and visit their Dad. They happen to be two of the finest boys you could ever wish for.

    So they came up to me in the store and we had a chat. They convey the impression that they genuinely like you and enjoy the conversation. They're enthusiastic and never run out of things to talk about. They know what I like to talk about and they keep the conversation on my topics.

    They had been in the grocery store to get a couple of things for their Mom and obviously a few things for themselves as they had chips soda pop and I think some candy. 

   They left in the same way they came. They were genuinely happy that they had stopped for a visit.

    They left me standing with a great feeling that someone had come and given me their attention. They enjoyed the time. 

    As they left , I couldn't help feeling like Santa. They came and  were happy to see me and went away happy as if I had given them a gift. 

    I wish I would meet more people like this who really make my day.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spring in December

     On November 30 I posted about some brutal winter weather we were having. I gave minimum and maximum temperatures and snowfall amounts. It was the account of some scary weather.

     Now I'm happy to post that we have had a week of very mild temperatures. It started out on the evening of Dec. 6. I was out for my evening walk and felt a few drops of rain. Just as I got in the house it began to rain fairly heavily. It rained for two hours. The temperature was minus 5C (22 F)  so it doesn't take much imagination as to what happened. As soon as the rain hits the ground it freezes. So we ended up with everything coated with 5 - 7 mm ( 1/2 in) of ice. Movement of any kind was rather risky. Cars here are equipped for hazardous roads even if the drivers aren't. Fortunately there was some pebble on the ice so it was walkable.

    This week we had a couple of highs of 9 C. All days were well above freezing. We had three nights in a row without frost. I worked hard to get rid of the coating of ice on my driveway and side walks. Needless to say much of our snow melted. There were beginning to be patches where the snow was gone.

     This morning it snowed again. But the temperature was still 5 C(22 F)I really can't come up with excuses for not having photos. Sorry. There  would have been some good photos. Next time, I promise.

    So with such a long streak of mild weather it does seem like spring in December. It certainly makes for a nice break in the winter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Mixed Christmas Greeting

       For a long long time we have made a Christmas letter to go in cards we send out. We also did a Christmas poem until the micro manager ran out of creativity. Her poems were awesome and people liked to receive them.

       Now we send very few cards but send an email to many people. The few cards we send out are to those people without email. They miss the pictures. I know that some people consider the email  Christmas letter tacky but I think it's better than nothing.

      I have just finished a long run of producing the Christmas creation. I tried to cover some of the major events of the year and comment on each family member. I try to keep it light as it is the season to be joyful. We look back and see all the things that were positive for the year. For the last two years the micro manager has produced the Christmas message from our place.

     So a few days ago the Micro Manager sat down and produced a letter and it was handed to me to type and get them on their way down the email pipeline. ( Sorry, I live in Alberta with lots of pipelines.) I asked the Micro Manager if she wanted me to go over the letter with her. No, she wasn't interested. Just type the thing and run off some copies for the cards I do.

    I started to read the letter before typing it. I didn't get very far before  I said, "You can't send this out!." 
Her reply was, "That it was going as is." I continued reading and about 2/3 s of the way through I started laughing. Now what I found wrong with the letter was that it was very black. All the little problems we had in 2014 were listed in the letter. It would be a downer to receive this letter for a Christmas greeting.  The micro manager's comment was that she meant it to be humorous. I guess she was right since she got me laughing.

    Some how or other, I'm not sure most readers will see the humor.
     It seems to me that this is a mixed message. 

     Maybe next year I'll get the Christmas letter writing job back.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


      Many years ago I agreed to go to a work party at the church. It was one of those work parties where many little things needed to be looked after and all could be done by some work and effort. No special skills were needed.

      Since I was one of the younger men I agreed to climb the stepladder and replace bulbs in the lights. The lights were about 4 or 5 m (15 ft) from the floor. If I'd seen the step ladder before I opened my big mouth I would not have volunteered. The step ladder was an ancient rickety wood model and it was about 4 or 5 m ( 15 ft), but when it was opened it wasn't that high. So you had to stand on the second step from the top and balance. I had a nice fellow hold the step ladder for all the good that would do. There were only oak pews below me. 

     The changing of the bulbs went slowly and gradually we got to the last set of lights at the front right side of the church. As I was going up the ladder I heard a rustling sound in the  corner. The rustling noise seemed to be moving in a circular pattern. The noise went up and down. All the time I was up there the rustling was continuous. Sometimes it was quieter and some times louder. Sometimes rapid and other times slow. Whatever was making the noise knew I was there and didn't like me very much. I think as I moved from the back of the church to the front I chased the  whatever to the front and it was cornered and didn't like me one bit. 

     I have always wondered about this event. If I went back would I still hear the noise? What was really there?

    I like ghost stories but they are always somebody else's story and it's enjoyable to read or hear the story.

     This is the first time I've ever told this story and it happened in the early 1970's.

    Have you ever encountered something that was strange and eerie?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Silent Visitors

      My skating buddy, Bob, was taking it easy one afternoon when he noticed something in his yard. A quick look and he recognized his visitors. Six mule deer had dropped into his place to have a quick lunch when Bob caught them. His camera wasn't handy  but he did get a couple of fine photos of his visitors. 

Everybody seems to be finding lots to eat

The are eating sunflower hulls and spillage from the bird feeder

      These are mule deer. Notice the huge ears. Right now they are in their dark winter colors and have a heavy coat. They are also in good condition so have a fair bit of fat. Since these are does and fawns, I'm thinking that there must be a buck nearby since it's rutting season.

     When I first came here in 1969, we never thought about seeing a deer in the city. There probably were one or two that mistakenly wandered into the city. We have a lot of interconnected park space. A major river runs through the center of the city. It gives the deer a good corridor through  many areas. 

     Gradually over the years we found more and more deer in the city. For the last 20 years it's been very common to see deer in the city. Now they wander through our yards and help themselves to what ever they feel like as in this case they helped themselves to Bob's bird feeder.

     Deer are smarter than we give them credit for. They can pick places that provide food and cover. Cities have those two features in abundance. Deer also know that some of their predators won't come into the  city. Dogs are well under control in the city so some of the bigger dogs that might chase deer can't. 

    Deer have also grown accustomed to city lights and traffic. We used to talk about "a deer in the head lights." When deer were caught in the headlights in darkness they were blinded and usually didn't move. Deer will still do silly things in traffic but I have seen some incidents where they seem to watch for traffic. I saw a deer trying to cross a four lane road. It stood at the side of the road and watched for traffic. It was going to cross a couple of times but held back. Finally it gave up it's attempt to cross the road.

    I like deer and never tire of seeing them. Since I spend a lot of time wandering through the bush I get to see quite a few deer.