Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Need Help With Memory

     I do not have a good memory. I have lots of excuses for my poor memory but none of them are good. In fact, I have a very poor attitude towards memory.

     When I was a child I hated memory work. In Sunday School I had to memorize many bible verses. For memorizing a certain number of bible verses  I would get a pencil and then an eraser and God knows what else. Now when I stop and think about it there's very little that I remember of any verses I memorized. I memorized the 23 rd Psalm. It starts...The Lord is my shepherd...there's something about green pastures and something about still waters. That's it! The rest is gone!

     We had to memorize poetry in school.I hated it. I remember not one line. In our final high school literature exams we had memory work on the exam. It was always so many lines of Shakespeare. Again I remember not one line.

     As I said my reasons for a poor memory were all bad. Obviously I had a very poor attitude. Today I enjoy listening to people recite poetry.

     Now for the last few days a rogue blog has been appearing on my blog. This blog is not on my reading list.  It's in a foreign language. Things like this really catch my attention and I stay away from them and don't open anything. I don't want to open  can of worms or worse.

     I immediately began to search and find out how to get rid of this unwanted blog.  So this is what I found. Click on the star in the upper right of the dashboard. Next click blogger help. Then click on trouble shoot areas. Then click on report abuse. Next click on spam, malware and phishing. Under phishing provide the url of the offending blog. This will bring up a form to make your report.

      I did all these things. It only took a minute for them to come back with the answer. They reminded me that I had checked off that I could be informed of new products! Darn! I'd forgotten that! It was nice of Blogger to be able to remind me of what I had done. They were also kind enough to tell me how I could stop the mystery blog from appearing. 

      I find that blogger is extremely helpful when you go through this procedure. They come back with something that is easy to understand.

     Now I have to stop and ask, "How much does blogger or any other program keep track of on me?" I think I know the answer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Would You Change Your Blog's Name?

        I found out that a friend was thinking about starting a blog. He hadn't got any further than thinking that he had many good stories to tell. That discussion got me thinking about what happens when someone sets up a blog.

       I knew no one who had a blog. I had looked at blogs . But, I had no one I could go to and get some hands on advice. 

     One of the first things you are asked to do when setting up a blog is come up with a name. I had a name in mind before I actually got around to setting up my blog. I had gone to a one room rural school from gr. one to nine. I wanted to honor that little school for I had  while I attended. I thought house would make things inviting and I could use this to make people feel welcome. Other than that I had no idea that a blog name could be used to bring more traffic to your site! My decision was completely romantic.

       I think most bloggers write things because they want people to read what they have to say. For most people the writing comes easy. They have lots to say and can make it interesting. But there are some mechanics that can be used to get a bigger audience.

       Here's where I step out into uncharted territory. Some blogs seem to stand out and grab your attention. Aha! A professionally done web site. Great color combinations! An eye catching header! Attractive side bars!  Lots of great photos! Regular features! All these things count but then, you get back to that stupid name!

      I have started two other blogs for clubs. One  blog is called Natural Wise. So if someone uses natural or nature there's a good likely hood that search engines will take you the Natural Wise.

      Have you seen eye catching names? Have you seen a name that search engines would like? Hiawatha House is ranked first on the search engine listings for Hiawatha. On the other, hand how often does someone Google Hiawatha something? I  don't think my name is bringing in many readers. Fortunately there are many other ways to gather readers.

     So my question is, "Would you change the name of your blog if you thought it would attract more readers? Are you attached to your blog's name like I am? "


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Breeding Bird Count

       Every spring we conduct a breeding bird count. Most breeding birds have arrived and established nesting territory. Late migrants are still arriving. Cedar waxwings are one of the last to arrive as they show up in mid June.

      Today was a perfect day for a count. The temperature was in the 15C (60 F) to 20 C (70) range. There was thin cloud and very little wind. This combination means that birds are moving and it's a little easier to see them. 

     I have a territory that I've counted in for years. It consists of a wide ravine. Most of it is old growth forest with some open spots that have been made into picnic areas or playgrounds. I saw 19 species of birds today. If I'd known I was on 19 I'd have worked a little harder to find number twenty. There were two species that were there but I didn't get them . I heard a woodpecker but couldn't find him in some old dead poplar so I had to leave him. And of course there's always a warbler that sings his heart out but never shows himself. I'm sure I had a golden eagle but it was too far away to be definite. There were also two small birds chasing each other beside the stream.

   We are also supposed to count blooming plants. Since things are late this year some common species are missing.

    Now between me and my primitive camera, I don't get bird photos. So I do the next best thing. I bring you flower photos. Flowers sit still while you photograph them.

Buffalo beans

Early blue violet

Small flowered butter cup

        Count days are a lot of fun for me. Are there any other birders out there who do counts?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Corn Flakes for Supper

      In many rural areas the evening meal is referred to as supper. The noon meal is dinner. Many rural people have the main meal at noon. This is a huge meat and potatoes kind of meal. Lunch may sometimes be eaten in mid afternoon. So I set this up so that what comes next makes sense.

      No work was done on Sundays on our farm. It was a day of rest. Church was attended three times in the day. Sunday dinner was a major affair. By  Sunday evening meal time, people were tired from good eats and sitting around resting. 

      Many Sunday evenings Mom would say, "What should we have for supper?" One time some little kid, maybe me, enthusiastically said, "Corn flakes!" A couple other little kids said, "Ya, ya!" So this was easy for a very tired Mom because a few little kids could set the table and get the corn flakes ready. This  odd Sunday evening meal was eaten from time to time. Other people just shook their heads about our evening corn flakes meal. 

     The first time my brother brought his girlfriend , (wife to be) out for supper, it was Sunday night and the impromptu menu  turned out to be cornflakes. One would have thought that would have ended the relationship but it didn't. Their family just changed the corn flakes meal to noon.

    Now does anybody else have an odd ball kind of meal to beat this one? 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another Senior's Residence I'll Pass

        My micro manager loves anything that's free. She had a free ticket to go for lunch at a senior's residence in town and spend the afternoon with a friend who is a resident in the facility. This is a facility where residents rent a little suite. They can make their own meals or eat in a dining room. 

       Now I've written about senior's residences before. This one was better than the last one but certainly had a major glitch.

       Lunch was to be served at 12:30 but it didn't get started until 1:00 and didn't finish until 2:00. Now if you've got nothing to do and you're not hungry, I guess this would be okay. I'm sure some people may have an appointment booked before the lunch was complete and they would have to miss part of the lunch or all of it. Probably some people for health reasons should eat at a regular time.
      Now I would fault a late lunch on principle. Residents pay good money for their lunch and to have it on time. End of argument. So what happens when the terms of the contract are not met? In this case nothing I guess. 
   Now the facility had an excuse for the late lunch. This was a holiday week end and a number of staff had conveniently called in that they were not coming to work! Well okay, it's not against the law to be sick. Now some workers may have been abusing the system. The bigger issue is why didn't the facility have arrangements made so that when they were caught short staffed they could find staff for an emergency? All they could do was get administration staff to come to their aid and it was far from adequate. 

    Now many of our senior facilities are like this one. You rent a space, get meals and enjoy a few social activities and get transportation around town. Most people move into such a facility when they really need it.

    I think I'll pass on this type of residence unless I have no other options. I would rather stay in my own home with some assistance.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Queen Vickie Weekend

     This is a long weekend in Canada. It is called the Queen Victoria day weekend and marks the remembrance of Queen Victoria's birthday. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901. She was the monarch who presided over the formation of Canada. She was a rather austere person...not warm and fuzzy.

    Now I've been calling this weekend the May long weekend for a long time. I had to look and check today to see if it was still officially the Queen Victoria day weekend. Yes it is. 

    I have some mixed thoughts over this issue. I'm all for recognizing some one's birthday and achievement. Queen Victoria's reign was long and many important developments happened during her time. On the other hand I am not sure that I'm even luke warm towards the British Monarchy. I have trouble thinking that a foreign monarch is our king or queen. Yes, there's long tradition and tradition counts. I also think that we need to move on. Now I'm referring to the institution. 

    It also seems hard to to get my head around the fact that monarchs are monarchs due to heredity alone. 

    Now I don't get wound up over some of the people who are in our present royal family. They are ordinary people who have many restrictions put on their lives. Some of them do well with their royal life style and some of them need an awful lot of help. 

   The May long weekend is traditionally the first day of summer camping. Everybody has dozens of May long weekend camping stories. Many of these stories involve snow and terrible weather. However, we still go camping. I can remember more than one long weekend huddling around a blazing campfire with my winter coat on. But when it's a nice weekend weather wise it's awesome.

   Now I was married on the May long weekend many years ago. The may long weekend is a popular time for teachers to get married. Also my Mom's birthday usually falls on the Victoria Day weekend. Now Mom was a great fan of the royals. Also if Mom was living she would be 100 yeas old on May 20.

    So I hope all Canadians have a fine "Queen Vickie" weekend. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

An Interesting Dementia Documentary

     The last two mornings the CBC'S the Current has had their whole hour and a half program on dementia. They have covered causes, research, care, caregivers, medications and much more. They interviewed many experts on dementia. Governments and health care facilities are worried as the baby boomers group nears a peak time for developing dementia. They are wondering how the system will cope.

    This morning there was a major segment on care givers. Many people attempt to care for a relative with dementia. Many give excellent care but sooner or later they become exhausted. 

   This section of the documentary made me think of my Dad's situation. Dad developed late on set Parkinson's . We had a wonderful Step Mom. She was capable and competent. She was determined to look after Dad. I lived 1400 km (900 mi.) away from Dad  and my brothers were 800 km (500 mi) away from  Dad. It was good that she was determined to look after Dad. We were consulted before any decisions were made about Dad's changes care and our step mom made sure everybody was on side. 

    The problems that happened in the home were falling. At first she managed. Then he fell one night and she couldn't get him up so that ended care at home. Dad also did a little wandering at night. Our step mom would watch him as he went outside and looked up and down the street. She asked him one time what he was looking for. He said, " He was looking for his truck with a load of pigs." 

    However, a time came when it was not possible to care for Dad at home anymore. First, there were several respites and then the time came for full time care. Our step mom spent time with Dad everyday.

   Now I joked with my step mom one time that Dad may outlive her and she would not be able to complete her mission of looking after Dad to the end. Sure enough. That's what happened.

    We were fortunate enough to get Dad moved back home to a nursing home. Here he had three sons and many grandchildren. Care was still an issue as he continued to deteriorate.

   When listening to the stories on the documentary I couldn't help but think that we were fortunate in how our Dad was cared for. For many people the care can be a disaster. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This Time I WILL Quit Laughing AT people

      Sunday night my daughter from Illinois phoned to wish her Mom Happy Mother's Day. Since Mom was out walking I got to talk. 

     One of the things she told me was that a squirrel had built a nest in her barbecue. Now my daughter has a wicked sense of humor, has definite opinions, is spunky and enjoys life. So when ever you can tease her you don't miss the opportunity. So I razzed her about her squirrel that built a nest and had babies in her barbecue. They were sitting in the back yard around a fire one evening when they noticed a squirrel getting very irate with them. The squirrel was quite menacing. Finally the squirrel dived into the barbecue. Then it hit her...babies. When she lifted the barbecue lid the whole thing was full of nesting material. Then they    watched as mother squirrel took each baby to another nest in a nearby tree.

    Today, as I went out my back door the resident squirrel ran down my brick siding and under my barbecue. Was there stuff in the squirrel's mouth?  I didn't realize she had stayed under the barbecue. Just to be sure I banged on the cover with my broom. Nothing happened. I walked past the barbecue and heard a little scuffle and the squirrel was leaving the other way. Ah ha!!! My wife helped me take of the barbecue cover and yes, there it was , a big babies yet. And yes, there were a couple of holes in my barbecue cover.

     So the laugh is really on me! I can't believe the coincidence of the same thing happening to us when we're 1600 km (1000 miles apart). Maybe I should check with my son who's on the west coast.

     I was so startled by this that I didn't think of my camera until I had things cleaned up.

    I must admit that I don't like red squirrels. They have a nasty temperament and do damage. They get into places that they are not supposed to be. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Trail of Mishaps.

     I have written a couple of posts this winter about equipment  that has  broken down. 

     The first couple of break downs happened last fall. I was going to cut my grass for the last time in late October.  The forecast for the next day was for snow. I was trying to start the lawn mower motor and all of a sudden the rope went limp.  Yes you guessed it. The rewind spring had broken. Under the weather conditions I quickly put the lawn mower away and said , "I'll attend to this next spring."

    Just a few days before the lawn mower crashed, I had put winter tires on my car and had to adjust the air pressure. My air compressor wouldn't work. Since it was cold and late in the season I said, "I'll attend to this next spring."

   In the winter my thermostat crashed, my CO 2 detector  died and my microwave oven ceased to work. I dealt with these three things when they happened.

    So it's now spring and time to deal with my other two problems. I checked the air compressor first. I first checked the fuse and it was fine. Then I checked the switch and it was dead. So I replaced the switch and away it went. I turned the switch off and then on and the compressor would not start. I discovered that the air pump needed lubrication. So one thing repaired. That air compressor was a pretty sick puppy.

    I started with my lawn mower. I took it apart to make sure that it was the rewind spring. Yes the rewind coil was in several pieces. Now since this lawn mower is very old, I had to work pretty hard to find parts. When I found a part , I didn't like the price , but that was the only choice. I had replaced a spring 12 years ago and decided to do it myself again. The Internet is a great help. I want to check with the technician before I proceed because there are a number of methods that can be used to change the spring. I want to get his advice,

    So you notice that I don't have a picture to show the lawn mower running. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

    Is anybody else as stubborn and cantankerous as I am and insists on fixing things on their own?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Good Bye Farley

         Farley Mowat , a prominent and prolific Canadian writer, died yesterday at age 92. He wrote 42 books that were published in 52 languages and sold 17 million copies.

         I first discovered Farley Mowat when I was 12 and read People of the Deer and I was hooked. I loved the north at that time, and Farley just made me that much more fascinated with the topic.

         Farley Mowat wrote on a wide variety of topics but his home base was on environmental issues. Farley was passionate about environmental issues and never found an underdog he couldn't like.

      Mowat was a colorful character. He was passionate in defending his favorite causes. As a result he could argue vehemently to support an issue. His first northern books were ahead of their time and pointed out that Eskimo populations were in great danger. Feisty is another word the aptly describes Farley. 

     Because of Mowat's outspoken tendencies, he had a few people who did not see eye to eye with him. Mowat had his critics. Mowat had a tendency in his writing to exaggerate. He admitted to using exaggeration. Some critics took it upon themselves to argue with him. Farley was at his best when he was in a battle royal. People who considered themselves experts on a topic criticized Farley on his understanding of a topic. Farley wanted to use a topic to advance and issue. He was a master at moving issues along.

     I read 11 of Mowat's books. I enjoyed every one of them. I still have 31 more of his books to read. 

     I read his first book People of the Deer. Next , I found Desperate People. I also read Lost in the Barrens. So I read his 3 northern books first. Owls in the family and The dog Who Wouldn't Be were humorous stories for young readers , but I enjoyed them too. Never Cry Wolf sticks out because it was made into a movie. Grey Sees Under, the Black Joke and the Boat Who Wouldn't Float were about the sea. The last book I read was Walking on the land.

     Farley Mowat's books won many awards. Farley also won personal awards such as the Order of Canada. They were well deserved.

    We were fortunate to have Farley Mowat pass our way and leave us with many stories.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Skating Season Ends Today

     My skating season ended today. I started the season on the first Tues. of September and have missed only a couple of times. I've written before of how supportive this group is. It's been another season of fun , exercise and good friendship. Now for  short summer break and then the first Tues. in Sept comes again and we skate some more.

Flying by

The great group

Dressing room prep

You bet it's fun

A good conversation
      I didn't take photos today . These photos are from previous years and you've seen some of them in previous posts.


Monday, May 5, 2014

How to Make You Feel Good

        Here I go once again,
        With some snow upon my land. (With apologies to Crystal Gayle)

My Standard snow measure

A well loaded little spruce tree

Front yards covered with snow

Wet snow has slid off the canoe
     Now these photos are meant to make you feel better. You will feel fortunate that you have sunshine, green grass and leaves on your trees. 

    It's all relative.  Vesta in New Zealand comments that they have the first cold spell of the winter, but they don't have big coats on.

    So I hope that I have made you feel good about your situation.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Red's Comments

      Comments from readers are the best part of blogging. Readers response gives me an expanded perspective of what I've written. Needless to say, I appreciate comments.

     Today I want to consider comments I make. I have to ask a few questions about my comments and analyze what I am doing. Do I make meaningful comments?

     I make a number of different types of comments.  Many times I pick one narrow aspect of a blog and make my comment. It's not that I haven't read the whole blog. I feel the one point is what I would like to consider.

    Too many times I make a comment that refers to me. Comments should be on the writer's post. 

    Are the complements I make genuine and sincere? I hope so. Are my comments supportive and positive. Bloggers put something out in public and they should be rewarded and encouraged .

    I sometimes use humor in a comment. I try to use humor with bloggers I think I know well and who get my sense of humor.

    Sometimes my comments are fairly shallow. I'm not saying much. There's little substance in the comment. I try to avoid the fluff comments.

   Sometimes I misunderstand something and make a ridiculous comment and embarrass myself. That'll teach me for not reading the post carefully.

   I hope that my comments are polite. Being careful about comments elevates the whole blogging experience.

    I follow many blogs. Too many blogs for me to make comments on every post. I admit that I have to rank things. Some blogs I find interesting to read but do not make comments. Some blogs I comment on from time to time . Some blogs I comment on every post.

    I hope that my comments are never offensive. If I do offend I hope you'll tell me so that I can apologize and make things right. 

    How about you? What do you try to do with comments?