Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Sister-in-law's Husband is Going to Kill Me

     My sister-in-law's husband is actually a pretty nice guy. He's friendly, quiet, well mannered and talkative. He's careful... to the point of frugality. But who wouldn't be frugal if you'd gone through the depression with immigrant parents who came to this country just before the depression set in.

    But Josh has a side that shows up whenever I go to visit him that gets me into serious trouble. Josh may be frugal but he likes cars. Not that he buys lots of cars. He bought a Dodge Charger in 1968 and kept it. Even though he's frugal, he bought the Charger which was a very pricey car at the time. I didn't say he was poor and didn't have money. Josh just looks after his money very well. Now he's had other cars since the Charger.

    Whenever I would visit him, there would come a time when he would quietly say, "Let's go for a ride in the Charger." So he'd bring the Charger out of storage and we would go for a ride.
    Now Josh would always like to test the old Charger to see if it still had it's zip. He would find a straight piece of road where there was little traffic and  probably no radar and then he would put the pedal to the metal. He always wanted to see if the Charger could still do 100 mph. The road would have farm entrances and there would be cross roads. It may have been a straight piece of road but it wasn't safe at all. As Josh would get close to 100 he would watch the speedometer instead of the road. He would have to get his bifocals lined up to see the speedometer. As Josh would do this the Charger would ease over the center line. At this time I was sure  that I would be killed .
    So after driving for about half an hour we would come back home and Josh would carefully put the car away.

    The next time I would visit Josh, he would say again , "Let's go for a ride in the Charger." Same thing. I never learned to say no. So I guess I'm partly to blame for my dangerous ride.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Make Things Simpler or me Smarter

   Too often I find things complicated computer wise and wish that I had more smarts to figure things out.

    Just look at my header! What is there is thanks to my son. I'm too afraid to throw everything away and start from scratch. There are unknowns that I don't feel comfortable with. I would like to be assured that there will not be snags on the way. I had buttons on my header at one time. Three buttons! I made them myself and it seemed simple. About a year ago I wanted to add another button and I couldn't do it. Worse than that, I lost my other buttons and couldn't put them back on. Things had changed since I first put the buttons on and I couldn't conquer the new system. It may have been a very small change but I couldn't get it.

     The new blogger format came in about a year ago. I decided to tidy up my reading list a little. There were some very dead blogs. I didn't feel obligated to follow these blogs when they were inactive. When I went to delete blogs , things had changed and I couldn't get rid of them. So my usual solution...forget about it.  So a few rainy days ago I decided to get rid of the blogs again. I noticed a button on the far right of the page that had the reading list on the left. I thought, "What's this for?" Yes, it was for managing the reading list. Soon   I was deleting the dormant blogs. What's really infuriating is that there are probably two other ways to manage the reading list  and delete blogs!

   Now I think the chances of making this old boy any smarter are between zilch and nil. So guess what? Things on the computer are going to have to be made simpler.

   I read an article today about cell phones. A high percentage of seniors have cell phones. Doro makes two cell phones geared to seniors. Bigger screens and keypads make cell phones easier to handle. Better sound makes it easier for seniors to hear. Cameras are also simplified. The other high tech stuff is taken off. Samsung has an Easy mode which is aimed at seniors. The European market has recognized and found seniors a long time ago.

    So my point is that they can make things simpler. But I would like to be able to do more things independently. I guess I'll just have to face up to the music and work a little harder to discover how to do things. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Morning with Cadets

    We have the remains of a large training airbase which was set up to train pilots for WW II . Today a large cadet camp is held each summer. At one time there were up to 2000 cadets and the program ran all summer. Now the program is much smaller as the facility has been getting smaller as old buildings are not repaired.

    Now one of the parts of the program includes a 2 hour community service segment. This is where I became involved. I volunteer at a nature center. The nature center set up a program where the cadets could get in their two hours of community service. The Nature Center has 299 steps to take people up and down in  few steep places, a few  benches at convenient spots and three viewing decks. All of these get covered with spruce needles . Ah ha! We'll get cadets to come in and sweep these off. 
Sweep and clean out the stuff between the cracks.

    So today I was assigned 7 cadets and 8 work sites that had to be cleaned up. The kids were given shovels, rakes, brooms, and scrapers. The kids had fancy army gloves and lots of water.
Looking into the sun with all the tools and a fine background.

     Off we went.
A little break in the shade.

    I enjoyed my 2 hours with the kids. I found that I really miss the banter with kids this age.Some of them had no idea how to use  tools. I had to show some to put pressure on the brooms so things could be swept off. Some had to be reminded that the loose material on the steps had to be taken off. They seemed to think that waving the broom around the area did the trick.
Work on the steps

    As always when you are taking a group on a three Km walk , there are 2 or 3 who have to be in your back pocket. They walk right beside you all the way and chat the whole way.
Homeward bound. The other crew cleaned this bridge.

   We were happy to get some things cleaned up in the sanctuary and I hope the kids learned to feel good about community service.
A fine work crew on the way home.

    Pictures were a challenge and I didn't have time to think about things as I was watching the kids. I hope you'll be able to see what we did.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Debate About Managing Kids

      When my daughter was here a few weeks ago we got on one of her favorite tops...micro managing kids. Of course, she doesn't have any kids.

     Most of her conversation is that her parents did not micro manage her and she didn't get into any trouble.This is true. She could wander around within for or five houses even as a preschooler. Mom and Dad only knew were she was in a general way. She was predictable so we knew where she would be. As  she got older she went further away and for longer times. It's one of the things she is thankful about that she was not on a tight rope and learned through her experiences.

    It got me thinking about how I was raised and one of the accidents I got into. My  bother and I  were the definition of free range kids. We lived on a farm and my mother had two smaller children and was not always able to supervise us. She was happy that we could be occupied in play so that she had more time for the two younger kids.

     One day we had an accident right in the house. Mom had a set of drawers in the bedroom that were five high. My brother and I decided that we wanted something out of the top drawer. We were too small and short to reach the top drawer. Since we were free rangers we could always figure out some solution. We said, " Let's pull out the bottom drawer and if we stand on it we can reach the top drawer." Simple plan?  We both stepped on the drawer. The whole chest of drawers tipped  over  pinning us against the bed. What made it worse, was there were two old lamps on top of the set of drawers. These lamps  had glass chimneys so there was quite a clatter. There was a four year old and a five year old under the set of drawers yelling their heads off. Mom had another toddler and an infant to look after. So she was frightened as to how she would find her little screaming boys. She got us out from under the drawers and then the clean up started. We probably got something else later on that made us holler again. It also made us think twice about some of the silly plans we made.

     So part of my point is that even if kids are tightly supervised they can easily get into trouble. It only takes a second for kids to act. 

     My brother and I may have got into the odd accident , but we certainly learned independence , judgement and caution  by being free range kids.

    So I really hate to see kids micro managed and I see that these kids have little opportunity to learn from experience. 

    Before I retired from teaching you could see children coming who had little life experience and they were having difficulty dealing with other kids and their own independence and responsibility

    I really wish I had a picture of being pinned under the set of drawers!.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Place Don't Want to go to

    Now I can't think of very many places that I wouldn't want to go to. I'm sure some people have places they'd like to send me. I probably wouldn't like those places.

     This is about senior care. Most of us will end up at some level of senior care before we take our leave. Since I visit people, I have been in a few senior care facilities. The two facilities my Dad lived in were a community of staff and residents. They did the best they could for Dad.

    I found a senior care facility recently in which I would  not want to become a resident.

     A few posts ago I told you about Mitch finding a long term recuperation bed. I visited him 5 or 6 times while he was recuperating. I made up my mind that it was a very poor facility for seniors.

    The place is a privately owned and run facility. It's huge with about 50-60 suites and  various rooms. So they have people who rent a small suite and are completely independent. There are people who rent a small suite and take meals in the dining room. There are other people who need some care with dressing, washing or medication.

    I saw an exercise room but didn't see any other amenities because I didn't look. Nobody was in the exercise room. There was a lounge for snacks and coffee. People sat around there by themselves but didn't seem to be enjoying a coffee.There was a small library with books, magazines, games and newspaper. Mitch was the only one I saw use the library. Mitch can read three newspapers a day.

    People seemed to be roaming around by themselves and completely unoccupied. These people were not ill or suffering dementia. There was no community. These people were completely lost and alone. I thought what a wretched place to live. They house and feed the people but not much more.

    There were three people around a front desk who were superficially very, very pleasant. But that doesn't transfer to the occupants.

    So I decided that this was I place I would never like to become a resident.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Solid Statements

    Sometimes art pieces make a very strong statement.

    We recently had a creation put in a major park that depicts aboriginal culture. The creation was long in the planning and aboriginals were in the loop from the beginning. 

     So the piece is to depict native elders telling stories to other members of the group. So how did they depict people ? With huge boulders. Why boulders? Arrangements of stones have been found a various places on the prairie. For some of these stone arrangements aboriginals still remember the meaning. Other arrangements have been there for so long that nobody knows the meaning. So in this piece the elders are sitting in the center of the circle in a haphazard order. The listeners are sitting around the elders in a circle.

I hope you can make out the elders in the center.

The elders sit in no order

    It's hoped that younger aboriginals will see the creation as part of their culture and feel good about how they were taught. For the rest of us we can appreciate how aboriginal culture, history, behaviors and technology were taught to their people.

    It's a strong statement about where we fit in.

This was hard to photograph as it should be shown from above. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Bridge I Use the Most

     I had never thought about the bridge I have gone over more than any other bridge. I took the picture on my bike trip. This bridge was put in to take traffic from our trails across the river. So there's this bridge on the west end of the trails and the exact same bridge on the eastern end of the trails. I have crossed this bridge walking, cycling and skiing. 

     I ride at least 1000 km a summer. Although there are many other trails I do ride this one quite often. In the winter there are cross country skiing areas on both sides of this bridge. It's kind of cool to ski across a bridge.

    Now I like the look of this bridge although it doesn't compare with the old steel rail way bridge.

I hadn't noticed the clouds in the photo

It's a hard bridge to photograph as there's not a good angle on it.

I did get a shot with most of the bridge.
     So there's the beautiful bridge that I have crossed more than any other bridge.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Fine Old Bridge

       Hilairy for The Smitten Image quite often advises, "Take your camera and stroll through your neighborhood." She tells us that we will find all kinds if interesting things to photograph.

      On Sunday I did about 20 kms on my bike instead of walk. I did find some things to photograph. However, I would find more if I walked.

       We have a large trail system in the city which was put together in the early eighties. Some interesting deals were made. The railway was moving out of downtown. This old bridge was in the way and the railway was going to take it down. So a deal was made that the bridge would remain and would be used as part of the trail system. The railway reconditioned the bridge and we were left with a bridge with fin decking that could be used for riding or walking. So the railway didn't have to go to the expense of taking the bridge down and we got a fine bridge.

     It's easy to imagine the huge black locomotive easing it's way across the bridge. I can hear see and smell the large beast. The bridge would creak and slowly bend and shift as the heavy locomotive made it's crossing.The bridge brings back many senses.

We don't see this style of steel bridge anymore.

A fine wooden deck was installed on the old bridge.

Serving on a sunny summer day. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another Favorite Flower: Wild Gailardia

      On Sunday I did a 20 km bike tour. That's when I found the wood lily or tiger lily. Tiger lily is really the name of another flower.

      So right where I saw the Wood lilies were all kinds of Brown-eyed Susans (Gailardia artista). Brown-eyed Susans are quite common in some areas and again are widely spread across North America. They were quite thick in the area I visited. So Brown-eyed Susans are almost as favorite as the Wood lilies. It was a bonus to find them while I was looking for Wood lilies.

One bloom with some bug feasting

You can see that they grow very thick in some areas.

Another look at the bloom and it's surroundings

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Finally Find Some Wood Lilies

    A few posts ago I told you that I had been out to search for Wood lilies and I didn't find any. I went a second time but no luck.

    Today I went to a location where I had found Wood lilies before. Yes, the Wood lilies were there and lots of them. They seemed to have extended their territory.

    The location I went to was an old quarry. Some of the ground had been undisturbed. The Wood lilies seem to have been able to extend their territory into the disturbed soil.

     I didn't find any doubles or triples but that was fine.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Fourth of July Picnic

     Since I have American visitors I had a picnic today. 

We walked through the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary

We found some sort of leaf roller.

My picnic. Notice the millions of people in the area! I do live in a sparsely populated area.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July

Have a Great Fourth of July

     For Americans the Fourth of July is a very big day! It's a great party! So have fun.

     This year I get a little taste of the day as I have my American son-in-law and my wannabe American daughter visiting here.

Now I really missed out on the red , white and blue.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day


    Canada officially became a country on July 1 1867. It had 4 provinces...Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. 

    It was a country in name only. It had control over local issues and then there were strings attached.  Gradually growth took place. Now we have ten provinces. We have our own supreme court. We completely control our own affairs. We don't have a Queen anymore. We are completely independent.

    We now have ten provinces and 3 territories.

     We've come a long way baby!