Friday, February 27, 2015

Darn! Wrong Date!

      Now with my history, this could be a story about the wrong woman. But it's not.

      On my Face book today , somebody had an example of what they thought was a humorous card which said, "Yesterday was National Middle Child Day, but I missed it." I only caught the "middle child" term  and that sent me off on a tangent. 

      I immediately thought, "I have to make a post on this topic." 

     I like discussions of birth order and  day of birth. I find the assertions and all the contortions people have to go through to make their case quite interesting.. I do not know the day I was born. I once asked one of the local autistic guys, I know well, to tell me the day of my birth. I forgot it before I got home.

     So I thought I should do a little research. To my horror I found out that yesterday was not National Middle Child Day. National Middle Child Day is August 12.

    So I was looking forward to posting on a topic I find interesting.

    But since it's not the right day, I've been left at the altar!

     So how do you feel when some inaccuracy spoils your day?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Are You Safe?

      The micro manager developed a very sore neck on Friday. Yes, I know I'm a pain in the neck!!! The pain shifted around got less and got worse. 

     Yesterday we went to the walk in clinic. The Micro manager did not follow any of the directions given by the attending Physician. She was going for other medical tests this morning and didn't want to take medication that would interfere with the test. So you guessed it .This morning she had excruciating pain. So we decided to come home after the tests for breakfast and then go to emergency.

    We got to emergency and she was seen in less than half an hour. Many questions were asked. She was asked if she had a recent accident. Medications were prescribed and she was to stay for a few hours to see what the medication would do. I went home. She had a two hour sleep.

    While I was away she was asked, "Are you safe?"  She wasn't sure what they meant. They were wanting to know if there was any domestic abuse happening! She was most surprised by the question. I knew that they were asking this question of people who came to emergency showing some trauma or indication of trauma. I was not surprised . I was asked this same question when I went to emergency a few years ago with an owy.

    It has been found that domestic violence can be discovered by asking this question in emergency clinics. 

     Before I retired from teaching we were asking kids the same question when we saw certain types of injuries or bruises. The question was the same, "Are you safe at home?" We were to report to the councillor and the councillor would check the student and then if there were suspicions the case  was moved to professionals who handle child abuse. The professionals would decide what action was needed if any.

      The Micro manager still thought the question was odd when she came home. I do not find the question odd and I hope it discovers domestic abuse and that actions can be taken to prevent and resolve abuse situations.

     Have you ever been asked this question or have you been the one asking the question?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

One Enchanted Evening, Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan.

     Don't worry! I'll connect these.

     I would be willing to bet that all my followers are very familiar with the song One Enchanted Evening. Probably all of you have seen the movie South Pacific and some of you have seen it many times. I have an LP (LOL) of the South Pacific soundtrack  that I listen to once in a while. You may be able to name a number of singers who've recorded the song.

     One Enchanted Evening is a show tune from South Pacific. It was written by Rogers and Hammerstein and was popular for it's romanticism and varied musical pattern. Giorgio Tozzi , a bass , sang the  song on the soundtrack of the 1958 movie. This is probably the version that most of us have in our head when we remember this song even if we've never heard of the opera singer Giorgio Tozzi.

   Now many other singers have sung and recorded One Enchanted Evening: Perry Como, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Jay and the Americans, Barbra Streisand, the Temptations, Art Garfunkel, Harry Connick and many more. I have probably heard all of these sung but don't remember any specific version.

    Frank Sinatra sang One Enchanted Evening and is probably one of the better known and recognized versions. Sinatra sang and recorded many many tunes over many decades.  He had his fans. He carefully crafted his image.

    Bob Dylan started out in the folk song genre. Since I liked folk music at the time Dylan came on the scene, I listened to Bob Dylan. I liked the protest songs. I also liked Woodie Guthrie and all the other protest singers. Over the years Bob Dylan went through many different music genres. Sometimes he was quiet for years. His image was hap hazard. His personal life went through many changes. I liked Bob Dylan's songs but his singing and voice weren't that famous. In fact, his singing was weak. 

     Recently Dylan put out a CD of Frank Sinatra's songs and wouldn't you know it one of those songs is One Enchanted Evening. When I heard this I thought well cool I wonder what it would be like. Well, it was underwhelming. I couldn't wait for the song  to end. 

    Well, you probably haven't heard about Dylan's CD . I do wonder who's version of One Enchanted Evening you like best? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year

      Today is Lunar New Year for millions of Asians and anybody else who'd like to have a great party.

      Now before I post on the Lunar New Year I have to say my knowledge about it is limited. However, I find the whole concept fascinating. First, I find it hard to get my head around the lunar calendar concept. Then add to that, many Asian cultures have their own version of calendars.  After that each culture puts it's own spin on the celebrations.

     So Lunar New Years can very from Jan 21 to Feb. 20. These variations come about as a result of the cycles of the moon. A lunar calendar is based on moon cycles. The Gregorian calendar , which we use,  is based on the earth's revolution around the sun. Adding to the complication is a Julian calendar which was heavily influenced by the Greek Orthodox denomination.

    I think I'm going to have to do some serious research on calendars. 

    Meanwhile, I'm going to wish all Asian celebrants of the Lunar New Year a happy year of the sheep.  Next year the lunar New Year will be Feb. 9.

    Celebrations, here in Alberta, are colorful and elaborate. There is much excitement with hope for peace joy, happiness and lots of money!

     It sounds like I should go out and find a party to join instead of going to bed at 10:30 PM as on our New year's Eve. 

     Do any of you enjoy the Lunar New year's Eve? I think I've been missing out on something.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gaetz Lake Sanctuary Walk

      Saturday afternoon I had some work to do at the Kerry Wood Nature Center and left some time for a good walk on the trails.

      It was clear and mild and as a result very pleasant.

     Somebody has been feeding chickadees in that area. The woods are full of chickadees. They get excited when they see you. When they discover you aren't one of the people who carries seeds , they very quickly leave. What cheek!

I like sunlit clearings on the trail.

More sunlit trail.

A few shadows thrown in with some bright sunlight

A pileated woodpecker hole 

One of the wet lands

One the rascals who is very tame

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Canadian Flag First Went Up Fifty Years Ago

      Fifty years ago today the Canadian flag was officially raised.

      Let me go back a bit. Before 1965 Canada used several different flags. They were all a combination of varying parts of British designs. Our flag was called the Red Ensign.. Discussion went on for a long time about having a Canadian flag which is our own. A call for designs was made. Citizens submitted thousands of suggestions. The process took a long time until one was chosen and presented to parliament. There was much disagreement in parliament and the two sides dug in for a fight. Some of the population were much against the new design. Veterans wanted to keep the old flag that they fought two wars under.

     We actually had three different Red Ensigns. One was from 1868- 1921, a second from 1921-1957 and a third from 1957- 1965.

     Finally an act of parliament was passed to make the new flag official and it was agreed that the new flag would be raised Feb. 15 1965.

     Now this is a day I will not forget. I was a young teacher in Inuvik , Northwest Territories. I taught at Sir Alexander Mackenzie school which had an enrollment of about 1000 students.

    It was a bitterly cold clear day. We gathered around the flagpole at the front of the school. We had a number of local dignitaries...RCMP, Legion. Navy,cadets and administration. The old flag was slowly brought down and folded according to protocol. I can't remember who received the old flag but there were rules stating who should receive the old flag. The new flag was unfolded and attached to the lanyard and slowly raised. I can't remember if we sang Oh Canada or not.
     What I do remember is that the cadets insisted on wearing their berets. We watched as their ears steadily whitened with frost. Of course, they would never cover their ears with their hands. The cadets played a very important role in this event. I'm sure none of them will ever forget it. I think a few other people froze their ears too.

     I'm not one for pomp and ceremony but this event will stick in my mind forever. It was an impressive ceremony and we knew that something important was happening that day.

    Now Canadians love their flag and you seldom hear any criticism.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oil Companies Do Get it: From Us

    In my last post I described how big oil companies play dumb, ignore things, and get what they want.

    Today something else that big oil companies And they get money from us.

    Big oil companies get an enormous amount of money from governments and of course, that's our money governments are giving away to the oil companies. On top of giving money away there  are extremely sweet tax laws that allow big oil companies to pay very little or no tax at all.

    Here in Alberta , Canada, big oil companies receive $300.00 per meter drilled from the government!  The last time I checked oil companies were very, very profitable. Why are they subsidized $300.00 per each meter drilled?

    Provinces and states fall all over themselves to attract companies to set up business in their jurisdiction. Money sweetens the pot. Much infrastructure is built for companies so that they can operate.

  Tax regimes are another thing. Oil companies pay royalties to buy the oil taken from the ground. Sometimes royalties are very low so the oil company almost gets the oil for free. The oil belongs to the people and people should be paid fair value for the commodity.

   Business taxes can be extremely low. This is to encourage companies to come and develop the resource. Now don't forget, big oil companies are very,very profitable. There are many loopholes for right offs. Capital cost allowance allows companies to right off part of the investments they make. The capital cost allowance is subtracted directly from tax to be paid.

    The examples I've given, show how money is given to very, very profitable companies. 

    The big oil companies piously bray about how great  they are at being efficient. Go on an oil facility site and you will find waste and careless practices. They never turn off a machine if they can help it. Trucks run all the time. My daughter worked for an oil company for five years in their human resources department. She was appalled at the was. One thing she did was to go on the rigs and give safety training.

   These companies further sneer about individuals who want things from the government for nothing. They are the biggest Corporate welfare bums in the country.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Politicians and Oil Companies Don't Get It

      I live in Alberta, Canada. We have the Athabasca tar sands which covers an area almost the size of the state of Florida , U.S.A.

     Some of  the bitumen produced by the tar sands is processed in Canada and some in the US. When we sell our bitumen to the US we don't get world prices. Therefore the Canadian Govt. the Alberta Govt. and big oil companies are lobbying for pipelines. One pipeline that has receive much publicity is the Key Stone XL pipeline which would take bitumen to Texas refineries.

    The approval for this pipeline has been held up for 6 years by various groups opposed to the pipeline.

    Now the Canadian Govt., Alberta govt. and big oil companies are their own worst enemy in this project.

    The present operations cover 715 sq km. It is the ugliest project on the face of the earth. Forests, waterways... everything is destroyed in the path of these mines. Gigantic plants are extracting the bitumen from the tar sands. There are major tailings ponds that contain all the water and chemicals used to extract the bitumen from the tar sands. The tailings ponds are disasters waiting to happen. Now if this doesn't register major environmental damage and climate change then I don't know what climate change is.

    Now the three groups I've mentioned just don't get why there's opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline or at least they say they don't understand. They have done a great job of stone walling and playing fast and loose with the numbers trying to show that the tar sands operations do not contribute huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Now if they were honest and presented a realistic case they may get a pipeline. They just don't realize that the rest of the world sees through their lies. When will they ever get it?

   Each company that starts a tar sands operation has to establish a fund for reclamation of the mines. (open pit) These funds are really quite small. There are promises made to reclaim the land. So far nothing has happened except a demonstration project of around 50 acre.

   The world looks at these open pit mines with horror.

    Alberta has a very dismal record of reclamation of oil wells that are finished producing. In many cases the wells are sold to smaller and smaller companies until somebody walks away and abandons the well. The last company to own the well has nothing that the government can have to pay for reclaiming the well. The Alberta government then has to reclaim the well. 

  Now I know this is a very incomplete description of the tar sands operation but I hope that I've given you an idea of how monstrous the project is and that it's far from environmentally suitable.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fall Aftermath

      In the last 20 years I've taken four bad falls. I've fallen more than  four times but many were not serious and I don't remember them.

     It suddenly came to me a few days ago that there is more going on in a fall than just an injury.

      I've fallen and broken my wrist twice. In 1992 , while I was bird counting, I slipped on a steep icy slope. I reached back to break my fall and my hand hit on the shale of the path. The ulna broke into four pieces and the radius in three pieces. I'm not going to go on about how much it hurt.

     In 2001 I fell while skating and broke the same wrist. The lady skating just ahead of me fell and hit her head on the ice. Her head hit at my feet. I tried to turn quickly and help her and I fell backwards and broke my wrist.

    As a result of these two falls I became very cautious when it came to walking on ice. I lost my confidence. I had to work hard to be able to walk in a normal fashion on winter ice.

    I did a forward roll on my bike in 2008. I suffered some road rash and a huge bruise. I had no trouble getting back on my bike but I look back and think how fortunate I was that I wasn't seriously injured. Yes , I was wearing a helmut and there are a few scrapes on my helmut. Yes, there was some damage to my bike but I was able to ride home.

    A year ago I fell down the stairs. I was most fortunate and didn't suffer any injury other than a few bruises , pulls and embarrassment . I still haven't got my confidence back when it comes walking downstairs. I am working on it.

    So it dawned on me that there is more to a fall than just the injury whether slight or serious. Our confidence is shattered. We don't hear about that very often. The injury that takes the longest to heal is the emotional on.

     Why is it so important to get back to normal? We do much better and it's safer if we move with confidence and strength.

This is where I pivoted awkwardly and fell

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fade to Black

    On Feb. 3 I posted on bright sunshine and snow. On Feb. 6 I posted on a gray foggy day so I thought it would work if I went to black today...not the weather though.

     Let me back up a bit before I start. Every family has many humorous stories that are told and retold. For me I could have a whole chapter on wandering away when I was little.

    So here's one of my favorite stories about one of my kids.

     For a couple of summers when my kids were little we did not pack up the trailer and head off for two weeks or so. It was better for all concerned to stay home and take a few day trips.

     When the kids were about 4 or 5 we decided to take a day trip to a largely abandoned coal mine area. There was one mine that still operated for the winters and in the summer they ran tours through the mine. We decided to do the mine tour.

    My son was dressed a white Tee shirt and shorts for a hot day . Now don't get ahead of me on the white tee shirt in a coal mine. I'll get to that. A picnic lunch was packed.

    15 or 20 people were ready for the tour. We were all crammed into the cage and went 400 ft underground.

    The tour guy was an elderly miner and he was awesome. He was enthusiastic about coal mining and his presentation could hold everybody's interest. This man was in his 70's and worked in the mine when it was operating in the winter. He was a grandfatherly type. The kids loved him as he slanted his presentation towards kids.

    The mine was dark and not well lit. When they turned the lights off there was no light whatsoever. 

   At the end of the tour we ended up at a little rail car that hauled coal. He told the kids they could each take a piece of coal. Most kids just walked over and the first piece of coal their hand touched was the one they took. 

    Not my son. He looked at all the pieces of coal on the the edge. Then he got up on the side of the cart so he could see more coal. He still couldn't make a decision. I wondered if he was looking for a certain shaped piece of coal. Finally, he got me to lift him on top of the coal in the cart. He finally said, "Dad , I want this one." He had picked the biggest lump of coal on the cart. It was as big as the toilet bowl.  I couldn't have lifted it if I tried. So then he made the reasonable choice he should have made at the beginning and took a small piece of coal. 

    Oh yes, the little white tee shirt wasn't very white anymore.

    We've laughed about this situation many times.

    Do you have stories about your children or yourself when you were young.

   Now the white tee shirt boy never misses a post on this blog. He's the one who made my header. I wonder if he will comment?

The white tee shirt boy is on the left with a red tee shirt


Friday, February 6, 2015

Cloudy Days Again

     We had a brilliant sunny day on Tues. Feb. 3.  I had some photos in my last post and the new snow was brilliant. It had been cloudy and dull for some time so to see the bright sunlight was invigorating. 

     Well the sunny sky didn't last long.  Wed. Feb 4 turned cloudy. Thur Feb 5 gave us 5-6 cm of snow and fog so it was a very dull day. We had lots of running around yesterday so driving was slow and easy.

     The snow stopped this morning and you guessed it, "I shovelled."

My neighbor starts shovelling

It's really dull

Well, I'm experimenting with bird photos

More dull stuff

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Little Sunshine Makes a Big Difference

      I last posted about a 15- 20 cm(6 to 9 in) snowfall. A little more snow has come into my life. The last two mornings I've had 2 - 4 cm( 1 to 1 1/2 in) of new snow to shovel. It's been about minus 13 C(plus 10 F).  I was very comfortable as far as temperature was concerned.

     This morning by the time I finished shovelling the sun was shining. It was very pleasant after four very dull days.

     I went out at 1:00PM to take some pictures of a fine day and a little snow.

A long shadow at I:00PM

Snow piled up on a fence

I don't think the wishing well is open for business

The bird feeder roof with snow load
We're prompt with cleaning up the snow.