Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rewards of the Gullible

    I have always liked pudding. Any kind of pudding! All kinds of pudding! I would eat pudding three times a day if I could. Mom's baked rice pudding! Mom's bread pudding! What I wouldn't give to have them again. Buffets with puddings are heaven on earth.

   When I was a little kid, a little thievery of Mom's cookies took place on a regular basis. Many cookies were baked and Mom was extremely busy so the risk of being caught was minimal. Cakes with icing? Well a small finger in the icing would never be noticed. Licking the finger was perfect.

    So one day when I was about seven or eight, I came home from school and there was a large bread mixing pan in the porch and it had the most wonderful looking stuff in it. PUDDING! It was a huge bowl of pudding. Nobody would miss a little pudding from such a large amount as this? I dipped in the vast amount of pudding and eagerly looked forward to wonderful pudding taste. Oops! It didn't taste that good. It tasted funny. Well try some more. It was definitely not pudding.

    So I was most  disappointed about not finding a bonanza  of pudding.

    When I got in the house, I asked Mom and Dad what was in the porch. They smelled a rat. They asked me if I tasted it and I admitted I had. 

    It turns out that the huge bowl of goop was home made wall paper paste! In the old days you didn't buy wall paper paste at the store. You mixed up wall paper paste from a special recipe. Mom and Dad were going to put up some wall paper so they'd made the paste. It was in the porch to cool.

   Now this event became an often told family story. I remember it so well today because I heard it many times as I grew up.

   Have you ever heard the expression, "It tastes like wall paper paste?" I can tell how that statement originated.

    I'm sure gullibility has got many people into embarrassing situations. Are you one of those?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Favorite Jacket

      I have a very favorite leather jacket. I bought it at least 30 years ago and over  the years I  wore it more and more until it's become hard to take it off me. Well, I don't mean I wear it to bed or anything. If it's fall or spring and I'm going anywhere, I liked to wear my gray leather jacket.

Note the waste and shoulder where the color is gone. Now it did make me look like a had a big paunch!

     After a few years of wearing the jacket it became very comfortable. It just felt right in every way. It was light. The pockets were in exactly the right place. Nobody else had a gray leather jacket. It was all mine. I didn't pay attention to how it coordinated with other clothes I was wearing. That jacket just had to go with me.

    Now the last five years this jacket has been past it's prime. The gray dye has left it in many places so that the uncolored leather is showing through. I knew that the leather around one pocket was torn a little bit. This fall when I wore the jacket I noticed that the small tear had become quite large. The leather had just aged so that it was coming apart on it's own. The micro manager decided to sew it up if I didn't wear the jacket out any place. She also discovered some seams that had come apart. So, all in all, it looked pretty bad for my favorite jacket. 

   So the old gray leather jacket will be down graded to being worn where I'm not likely to see anybody. 

   So do you get attached to things like the jacket that I wore for a long long time?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Some Cards are Wild

     Continuing with the birthday...

     My daughter buys the coolest cards you can find. Your card might arrive very late but the card will arrive.

    So my birthday card today has on the front:

     Birthdays always remind me of the giant redwoods
     on the West Coast. The way they stand tall
    and proud , year after year, century after century.
    Their majestic beauty never fails to
     take my breath away.

    Inside the card:
    Thank you for planting them!

     I had a good chuckle about this one. I hope you enjoy it.

    so do you have somebody who sends you really cool cards?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

75's a Good Number

    Today is my birthday and I'm a proud and happy 75. I don't think much about aging and how old I am or how much life I have left. I've enjoyed my 75 years. I will enjoy what's left and not worry about it.

    What I do like to think about on my birthday is my birth.

    I was the first born child for my Mom and Dad. They were in their mid 20's and were the young generation which lost heavily in the great depression. Mom worked as a house maid and stayed home with her parents. Dad roamed around and picked fruit, worked in the bush and sawmill. worked on a dairy and did as many day jobs as he could find. He stayed with friends and relatives. 

    My Dad was able to buy a small farm and this is what he took my Mom to when they got married. There were only country doctors and the nearest hospital was 40 miles away. Most children were born at home. I imagine my mother was somewhat terrified as there was really very little expertise as far as delivery was concerned. The old doctor had much experience but nothing to work with. Mom's two friends came to be with her. My birth went smoothly , the doctor left and Mom's two friends took over. 

    It was a very warm fall day. Dad said the house got hot when the old cook stove was used to heat up lots of water for my delivery.

    I like to think about the mixture of excitement and fear my Mom and Dad had when I was born. The story of my birth was told many times. I was born in the house and both parents shared the experience. 

    So it makes me happy to reflect on my birth once again.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Have Decided...

      I have decided, well somebody decided, that I will no longer climb my step ladder in the winter!

      We were watching the kids across the street decorating their house for Halloween. Their dad was on the step ladder putting up orange and black lights. At that time the micro manager said, "We're not putting up Christmas lights this year." That was it. The decision was made. Done! Over! Okay, I was told that if I wanted to live in this house I could not go up the step ladder.

And the ladder leans in

Great window reflection!

     Now putting up Christmas lights here has been a tradition. We've had the same house since 1970. We've had the same set of lights since 1970. The lights have gone up in the same place since 1970. You get the drift. This is a well established pattern. Simple. Except for one thing. A step ladder is needed.  Now the step ladder is really not high enough, so I have been standing on the very top of the step ladder to get the lights on at the peak. Complicating the matter is that one side of the ladder has to be on soil and the other side is on cement. There's usually lots of snow. Sometimes the ground is frozen and solid so there's a firm base. Sometimes the ground is only partially frozen and will suddenly give away.

    So it was decided that the old guy would not go up the ladder any more to put up Christmas lights. It is risky. Step ladders aren't user friendly. 

   I have always been a risk taker. Now I realize that if I fell on the floor I might hurt myself and if I fell from the top of a step ladder it might be game ending. So I have happily come to a conclusion and made a decision.

    Have you made any live changing decisions?

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Spent Two Nights in the Maternity Ward.

    Now some of you are saying, "Big deal.! I spent several nights in the maternity ward and did the real thing! "Others may say, "Ya,visiting?" Others are saying,"Ya , visiting your wife!" Ya, I know . You were born there.

    None of these are true. I was admitted overnight twice to a maternity ward.

    Two beds in a regional hospital are dedicated to sleep testing. Those two beds just happen to be carved out of a maternity ward.

    I was sent twice to sleep overnight for sleep testing. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing in your sleep. You'll always start breathing again. The problem is that your blood oxygen level gets low. You wake up the next day feeling very fatigued.

    I have allergies so sometimes I get nasal drip which irritates my throat. What really sent me to sleep testing is one time when my daughter stayed in the same hotel room as us. The next day she complained about all the noise Mom and Dad made all night. She said, "One of you snores and one of you makes choking noises." I knew who snored , so that left me with the choking noises. That's what prompted me to get some testing done. The test showed that my oxygen level stays above the minimum level.

     You check into the hospital about 8:00 PM. About 10:00 PM they put you to bed but not until an awful lot of wiring is done to you. This equipment will keep track of your sleep patterns and your blood oxygen levels all night. Sleep is almost impossible with that much wire on you. You can't roll over without worrying that you pull some wires off. Going to the bathroom is a major event. However, morning comes and they take all the wires off and you're good to go. You make your way to a restaurant for breakfast. The cheapos don't even give you breakfast.

    Now getting back to maternity. The first night I was there there were no maternity patients, just one other guy for sleep testing. The second time there was a young couple on the ward and the baby had been born in the afternoon so Mom was staying over night. So the heavy work in the maternity ward is done in the day and everybody is sent home.

    So there, I did spend the night admitted to a maternity ward!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Face Book: I'm Not a Big Fan

      I've had a face book page for about 4 or 5 years. I haven't found anything on face book that really excites me and a lot that aggravates me.

     I started a face book page to keep up with family as I am far away from them. At first there was information from nieces and nephews. I guess they grew tired of the thing and gradually one by one did not post on face book.

    The aggravating part is when people like and recommend a bazillion different things that I have no interest in.  People find all kinds of things from God knows where to put on thinking that I or somebody else may be interested. For example: religious pieces, food, recipes, restaurants...

    Now the other day I did find something interesting to follow on face book. This is a long and convoluted story. Get ready! I like Vinyl Cafe on CBC radio. I don't miss it. Once  a year they have a segment called the Arthur Awards. Arthur is the name of the dog in the story. The Arthur Awards are for somebody who does something good which is not rewarded in any other way. It's something that is a common everyday act of kindness or help that is completely volunteer.

     I was not listening terribly well at the beginning of the presentation but grew very interested as the interview moved along. The guy being interviewed had walked across Canada and now was walking from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean. It was a fascinating interview. At the end the guy gave his face book page "The Great Hike." He had described how the previous night he had camped along the road and in the morning a buffalo was outside his tent. He looked out the tent and the buffalo was right there. To take a picture he had to back into the tent in order to get the whole buffalo in his photo.

   This page really interested me. So I searched for the page. The page comes up with his photo of the buffalo. Of course, there were many more photos. Also one of the people liking the page was my friend Cheryl! What a surprise!

    So this is a site I really like and if I made more effort I might find other pages I like. Oh yes, this week I began following a birds of Alberta page. It has awesome bird photos.

    What do you find interesting on face book?

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Much Pain Does One Have to Endure?

     I have a friend that I meet about twice a month. Albert is a spunky, feisty, with it, little 88 year old. Albert spent all his adult life in upper management and was very successful in his field. Albert was active socially and with his five children.

    Around age 50 the roof began falling in on Albert. Albert's wife developed what they thought was Alzheimer's. She deteriorated rapidly and passed away in her mid fifties. After Nellie's illness began Albert took her to see her sister in California. The first time, they flew and Nellie refused to walk down the stairs from the aircraft. The second time, they drove and Nellie became hysterical when she couldn't see over a hill on the road. They persuaded her to lie in the back seat so she couldn't see the road and this worked. Needless to say, there were many more challenges

    An autopsy showed the condition was fronto temporal lobar degeneration. This condition is not Alzheimer's. This had only been diagnosed  recently at that time.

    Now Albert was told that the condition is hereditary. Albert began to worry about his children. Sure enough, his eldest daughter developed the condition in her late forties. It was first noticed when she was staying temporarily with her Dad and went to the wrong house on her way home for dinner. She had gone to the house her Dad had previously lived in. She had no idea were she was to go. Albert got a phone call from the people who he had sold the house  to, saying that he should come and get his daughter. She continued working for a while. Her husband had her tested for the condition and when it came back positive, he quickly left her. She went into a relationship with another guy and he fleeced her. Albert tried to get custody but it was difficult. By the time he got custody of his daughter, her assets had disappeared.

    When  Albert got  custody he  had to put her in a nursing home and watch her deteriorate. She has lived 17 years with the condition. The usual life with this condition is five to six years. Now her muscles have contracted and become rigid so that she is malformed. She has been fed for several years.

     Genetic testing can be done to show if you have the gene for this condition. His son was tested and does not have the flawed gene. His daughters chose not to be tested.

    When you hear a story like this you first wonder how somebody can be so strong to carry on and then how much pain can one person endure? I enjoy my visits with Albert as he has a zest for life and loves a good conversation. It's difficult talking about his daughter as the tears flow many times. I have learned much from Albert as he's demonstrated tremendous strength to carry on with his life and look after those around him.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


      This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. To all my Canadian followers, Happy Thanksgiving.

      Thanksgiving here is a somewhat moderate long week end. There are a few exciting Canadian foot ball games, but foot ball is not a big deal except for those few who like it. Mostly families get together for some visiting. The big turkey feast is all but gone. We had roast turkey breast with the trimmings. If the weather is fine , outdoor activities are enjoyed. If we have rotten weather well inside activities take place. 

     So yesterday was a fine fall day. We had a high temperature of 21 C (72 F) with lots of sunlight and calm. I wish I knew how to take a photo of a nice fall day.  We didn't set any high temp records ,but it was very nice.  We are looking forward to a pleasant weekend weather wise.

     Now it is tradition for one to identify what one is thankful for. Usually we pick one thing that has been a major influence in the past year. I'm not good at selecting one thing that is above all others. I am thankful for all the usual: family, good health, good friends, peace, hope, excellent community, fine neighbors, blogging, bloggers... My hope is that as many people as possible can be thankful  for what I am thankful for.

    And to my American followers, have a great Columbus day week end.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


       All of enjoy fall colors. Sometimes if we work it right we can get double the colors. I was supposed to be birding when I saw these two shots on the pond. 


I forgot about the birds for a minute and let my fellow birders keep their eyes on the birds.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Lost My Underwear!

     Now with a title like this some of you have your brain working in overdrive right now. Some are saying," Could there be pictures?" And some are saying, "Don't look Ethel!"
     Now yesterday morning when I was getting dressed, my underwear were not in the place they were supposed to be. They are supposed to be on top of the chair with all my other clothes for the day.  So if they weren't on the top of the chair , where could they be?  I looked through the clothes on top of the chair...nothing. I looked on the floor under the chair...nothing. Well what about in the clothes hamper...nothing. Could they have got mixed up with the bedding...no. 

    So I'll just get another clean pair of underwear. As soon as I went to put the new underwear on I found the old ones. I was wearing them!!! Now I got mad first but then I thought it over and did I feel stupid!

    So what's my excuse. Well, it's awfully dark here in the morning at 7 AM. The sun rises at 7:45 AM. Okay, I did put the lights on. Okay , I'm really losin' it? It's a senior moment?  Well it's some combination of all of the above.

    Me worry about this? No! If I didn't know where to put my underwear then I would be in trouble. So for now it's just a laugh.

   So what's your best senior moment? Would you admit to a senior moment? 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

1000 Kilometers!

     As most of you know, my goal is to ride  my bike minimum of 1000 km (625 mi) per summer. Today I reached that magic number. In fact, when I got home today it was 1001.97  kms. 

     What am I going to do now? Quit? Never! I will continue riding until the weather shuts me down. I hope to ride at least another 100 km. One year I even made one ride in early December.

     Making my goal this year was a bit of a challenge. We had a lot of cold and wet weather. You always think it will get better so you wait . I got very little distance ridden in April, May, June and July. We had a perfect August so I rode about 500 km . I had a problem with a leg muscle so for a while riding was a challenge.

This old bike has rolled 9000 km (5625 mi)

    So I'll ride until snow, ice and low temperatures stop me. Then I will think about riding next year.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Grammar Police

       I listened to an interview with Steven Pinker the other day. Pinker is a psychologist who specializes in communication. He's written a number of  books on the topic and is known world wide.

       Pinker's latest book deals with effective communication. Guess what? He says throw out the rules. So I assume that means toss the grammar.

      Now a couple of bloggers I follow have from time to time written about good writing and the rules that guide us.

     I started to think about his proposition. As a blogger, I rarely think about the rules. I like to spell things correctly and my friend, the spell check is a great assistant. I like to be able to write something that will make sense to the reader. If it doesn't make sense people will not read me and not follow me. I do go back over what I've written to see if it makes sense. I add more information to give the reader a fuller picture of my topic. But I don't really think of the rules. I don't think about sentence structure. I don't watch my punctuation. I've forgotten what dependent and independent clauses are. I end many sentences with prepositions.

    Now to make an admission. I was a Middle School language arts teacher. I thought grammar was important and spent much time trying to teach it. I taught grammar every year until I retired. It got harder and harder because they stopped teaching it in elementary school. All my colleagues stopped teaching grammar. And now I've forgotten most of what I taught! So Pinker's proposition got me thinking.

    Now I look around at the blogs I follow and enjoy. They get their point across and describe something interesting or present an interesting idea. I follow some awesome photographers. They don't just let their photos do the talking but they add great descriptions and discussions. If I was to consider the writing abilities of different bloggers I would soon quit blogging. The fun part of blogging is to have something to say and be able to pass it on in a meaningful interesting way and have readers respond.

    So do you think the rules should be rigidly applies?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Owl Award

      On a number of past posts I have mentioned the Red Deer River Naturalists. I have belonged to this group for a long time and participated in their activities.I have a link on this blog to their web site.

     This group is dedicated to the study, preservation and enjoyment of natural history. We try to promote the preservation of native habitat so that native plants and animals can survive and thrive. There are only small portions of native habitat left and these patches are fragmented. 

     I have been a member of this group for many years and have been on the board for a long stretch...long enough to be given the Owl Award. The Owl Award is given to some one who has been a long time board member. Needless to say, I was pleased to receive the award this year. For a small group we've accomplished much. We conduct field trips and have regular monthly speakers. These activities are open to the public. We also follow municipal development plans and comment on improvements that can be made. We've also developed educational programs for children.

I never saw a microphone I couldn't like

Something for the top of the book case

    For the presentation I was asked a few questions. They asked me if there was some one in particular who influenced me. Yes, it was my Mom. When I was about 4 my Mom asked me if I wanted to see a pretty bird. She took me down the road 400 m and we crossed the ditch and crawled through the brush. I came face to face with a mallard drake. I've never forgotten that moment.

   I was also asked what I would like to see in the future. I didn't really give them an answer. I would like to see things as they were a 150 years ago before the white man came and destroyed this beautiful area. I would also be minus 75 years old and that would be cool. 

    This award is one that is very meaningful to me.