Sunday, October 30, 2016


      This is a different post for me. It's a little out of my comfort zone.

       Some of the blogs I follow participate in the fence meme. Fences make for great photography opportunities. 

       However, my favorite fences are old with weathered posts. They are also barbed wire and if possible rusty barbed wire.

       Where I was brought up the fencing on farms was barbed wire. They required a lot of maintenance. Oh how I hated "fixing fence". We'd replace rotted posts, re staple wire, join broken wires. It was hard work.

      Yesterday afternoon I was out looking for fall scenes,birds and anything else I could see. While waiting I noticed the old fence posts. I had spent much time in this location before and was aware of the old posts. Most of the wire had been picked up.

      All of a sudden I said, "Yes. Old weathered posts to photograph!"

      So here are some photos of old weathered fence posts. There are lichens of many colors in some places. One post contains a face in the wood.

Friday, October 28, 2016


      I can predict what I will find in the comments for this post. My followers will know their neighbors well. 

      In urban areas there are places where neighbors do not know one another. People don't know the neighbor's names and some couldn't recognize a neighbor. 

     So why know your neighbors?  Neighbors are support. When we visit with people we discuss things that we share and validate what we think and who we are. We just feel more secure with a  little support.

     We need some quality social time. We are social beings and need contact with others. Networks develop and we are able to socialize with more people. 

     When neighbors know one another there is more physical security. We recognize who should be in the neighborhood and who does not belong. We cover each other's back. We know when neighbors are away and to keep an eye on their place.

     Across the street from me I know 10 out of 12 neighbors by name. One two of them are 30 plus years. The 87 year old is a feisty character and we always stop to visit.Two of them are former students. Two of them are dog walkers. So some of these people I know very well and some just to say hello to.

     On my side of the street I know 7 out of twelve neighbors.

     There's a close behind me and I know 20 of 21 of the people. I delivered papers in the close for 2 1/2 years and really got to know people well. I had many very good visits. 

     Now I don't know these people well enough that I go in their houses. I don't coffee with them. We visit on the street.

    I think it's important to know neighbors and to know more than just names. We have to share part of our lives and be willing to help those around us. This makes for a healthy neighborhood. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


      A few weeks ago a young woman in her 20's told me that she had got married in September. I was very happy for her as she's just a super person. 

      I was reminded by email that I had a medical appointment with her. I looked at the name on the email and it wasn't who I expected. A second look told me that it was her husband's name and she was Mrs--- I was surprised as I think most young women keep their maiden name when they marry of a hyphenated name.

     I told her of my surprise at a different name and said I thought I had been changed from being her patient. Then she told me the reason. It had to do with continuation of the male family name. The guy she married was the last male in that line of the  family.

    This really got me thinking. Continuing the family name? The male family name or female family name. Now I know lineage is important for genealogy research. But does it have to be the male lineage or female lineage that's followed.

     Now those who spend time in genealogy know that there are many challenges. In my family my Dad changed the spelling of our family name. At the time his family just about disowned him. However, in years to come, what difficulties will people face in trying to trace family lineage? Other families have legally changed their family name. Then there are the crooks who invent aliases for themselves.

      In my case I have a son and a daughter. I have 2 grand daughters. Some people might freak about that situation.

    Now lineages can be done whether there is a patriarchal or matriarchal system. The society must agree to a system. The Iroquois and Navajo had matriarchal systems.

    Now I had a good laugh at my daughter when she got married. She had said for years that she would keep her name when she got married. We finally got the old girl married off when she was 39. What did she do but take her husband's name. What was her excuse? She was applying for American citizenship and thought someone may take issue with her keeping her name. She thought someone may doubt her sincerity to becoming an American citizen.

    So I'm wondering about people's preoccupation with the continuation of the name. I know that in my grandparents and parents day keeping the family name "going ." was important. 

Monday, October 24, 2016


    Yes, I got my flu shot today.  For the last 15 years I have been getting a flu shot annually. Before that I did not get a flu shot as I considered myself to be healthy and (a) had enough resistance to ward off the flu and (b) I didn't think the shot did much good and maybe it did harm.

    Well, the micro manager's strong influence finally persuaded me to get a flu shot and I've been getting one every since. Now I haven't had a flu. But I never had a flu before.

    However , I couldn't help but make some observations  today. The kind of observation about red tape, bloated bureaucracy!
“We should never underestimate the flu,” said Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

    First there was a table inside the door where we were given forms and told what to do. They also took a look at my health card. Alright I filled out the form and went to the next table. They also checked my health card and found that I put my birth date down as 2016. Embarrassing.

    Next I went to the person who tells you which nurse to go to. Oh yes , I had an appointment today so I got to go to the front of the line.

    Okay , I meet Bonnie the nurse. First thing, she needs my health card! Then I get the long quiz about the status of my health diabetes and on and on. Then I get the info on how the serum is made and  why. I get more questions about my reaction to flu shots. I get told what to do after my flu shot and what to look for and what to do if bad stuff happened.

    Anticlimax. I get the shot. This took close to thirty minutes. The shot took less than 10 seconds.

    I couldn't help but think what these clinics were like when I was a kid. We were immunized for scarlet fever, measles etc. We received boosters and re immunization on a regular basis. How was it done? The old doc lined us up and wham, wham, wham, we were done. A nurse recorded the shot on our immunization card and we were done. Mom and Dad weren't there and off we went.

    So what has happened that we need such a complicated procedure. One thing that comes to mind is legal ramifications. They have to go through all the hoops because of possible law suits. Our health system has become very costly as so much has to be done from a legal standpoint. We are also money counters! Every cent has to be accounted for at both ends. Why can't we keep it simple?

Friday, October 21, 2016


    Seventy seven years ago this afternoon the lives of a young couple changed forever. I was born seventy seven years ago this afternoon. It was a terrifying time for my mother and stressful for my Dad. You see, I was born in a small farmhouse. The place was about 14' by 24' .  Mom had two of her friends , Linda and Margaret, assist with the birth. Their only claim for expertise was that they had had children. The country doctor sat and smoked and read magazines until the great event was about to occur.

     It was a very warm pleasant fall day. Dad said the house got warm as they were boiling water to be used for good hygiene. 

     So for the next 34 years my Mom cared for me and my Dad cared for me for 68 years.  Now I don't mean that they physically looked after me but as parents I was on their mind. I appreciate their support even though sometimes I disappointed them greatly. A couple of years before Dad died , he looked at me and said. "Well, you did alright!" Of all the things he said, this is the most meaningful. He approved of what I did.

   Today most births occur in a hospital with highly skilled specialists and nurses. The risks in the birth procedure for me were very high. Mothers ,in particular, paid a high price in childbirth at that time. 

      So on my birthday I like to think of the beginning and the important things that had to happen to bring me into the world. Birthday parties for being one year older? I can pass it up.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


     Sunday afternoon was nice compared to the last two weeks. I decided it was a good opportunity to get out for a couple of hours. I live less than a kilometer from a 100 acre natural area with a small creek running through it. The area is completely surrounded by an urban area.

    I often walk through this area and it's very productive as to what you see. There are many surprises. I came within 2 meters of a northern pygmy-owl. It didn't move. I stood for ten minutes watching it. I didn't have my camera. I went back with the camera but it was gone.

    Sunday I was looking for a black backed woodpecker. I wanted to find one so my bird group could see it. I didn't find one but found lots of signs that they are in the area.

    So sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. I found a female mule deer. She was very cooperative and posed for me. She allowed me to get closer and in a better position for a photo. Yes , that is snow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


    I just finished reading Common Ground I found it a very interesting and informative book. I remember Justin's birth and heard about him many times but your don't really know what his life was like or what he did. This book fills in the details.

    Justin's Dad Pierre, was late 40's when he married Justin's mother who was in her early 20's. Justin comments on this factor.

    Justin goes on to cover his parent's divorce, upbringing by his father and much more.

    Justin claims he had a fairly ordinary childhood with brothers who often rough housed. But on the other hand Justin and his brothers travelled with their Dad and met many dignitaries.
   Justin spends a lot of time covering his long post secondary education. He spent time teaching and travelling. He decided to take engineering.

   Justin then covers his slow entry into politics. He thought things out before entering the political field. He was ready. He new what he wanted and how to get it.

    He covers his mother's mental health and how it affected his growing up. His mother also remarried and had two children which of course, gave him two half brothers. He spent much time with his mother's family. He also has a half sister who is Pierre's daughter.

   He covers his romance and how he met and courted Sophie. He wants to work with his wife as a team.

   He also had major loses on his life. His brother Michel was lost in a mountaineering accident where he was carried to the bottom of a mountain lake and was never found. And of course, his father's death was devastating.

     Along the way other topics are covered and of course the details are there.

     I found this an interesting book and would highly recommend that people read it. You may not agree with everything, but you will understand Justin's main goal that he wants to find common ground with Canadians and Canada as a country. Surely unity makes for a stronger country.

Image result for photo justin trudeau

Saturday, October 15, 2016


     I have written about one of my neighbors on this blog before. I live about 7 houses away from him and always have a good visit when I went by his place. We have also walked together. We've attended community events. In other words , I know him very well.

    Said neighbor was a college instructor in psychology and also spent time counselling. From my visiting with him, he was a good counsellor. He knew the statistics and a whole lot of other things from a very active life. He was a very active bee keeper and was well informed about raising bees.

    Yesterday the roof fell in on his life. He was taken out of the home due to his dementia. For the past three years it was obvious that he was not well. He talked in very general vague terms. Physically he lost weight and became very frail. He always tried to present himself  as the same old guy. He was always going to call me and we would go walking. He never called and I was not going to ask him to go walking. He was not going to admit that he had any problems so you can't talk to a guy about his dementia if he refuses to admit he has dementia. His wife isn't going to talk about his dementia as he would argue about it and there would be a very uncomfortable situation.

     So life carried on under difficult circumstances for them. Family was supportive to this couple.

     For the last 6 months his condition worsened rapidly.

     Recently things became acute. He threatened his wife. He was going to kick her out of the house. He obviously thought she was someone else. She called the police over one incident. Nothing was done. A few days later she called emergency and he was taken out of the home and admitted to hospital. She felt guilty about turning him in but it's the only option she had. Her physician had told her that she had to make a decision.

    The next day she visited and they found that his dementia medication was very incorrect so some of his anxious behaviour was due to incorrect medication. However, he will not be able to come home.

   So I find it very sad that there's such a crash ending to a relationship that has been enjoyed for over 60 years.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


     I intended to post yesterday but I was just too busy. I had a good topic for the "day."  I'll write it and post it today.

     Now I've been known to post about "days." Many times I post about these "days '
because the are just plain silly so a little amusing. Days like national hamburger day is just silly. Mother's day and thanksgiving have more significance and have status and some are statutory holidays.

     Yesterday was one of those days that I consider important. It was International  Day of the Girl. this has been celebrated for five years now.

     Now I have more than just a little interest in this topic.

    I was a middle school teacher for my whole 37 year career. I worked with female colleagues from start to finish. I won't say that I soon learned their equal status because I didn't. It took a few years before I appreciated and understood that equality of opportunity was necessary. Over the years I worked on teams, had female team leaders, and had a female vice principal. There were many female principals in the system but they were in the elementary system.

     Where am I going with this? It's been difficult and challenging for women to not only compete but to be accepted on an equal basis as men as far as professional competence is concerned.

    When I look back on my career, I came up short in advocating for young girls. I found no difficulty to advocate for my female colleagues.

    So yesterday I was happy to see a special day with all kinds of information and support that would help young girls and women be able to be accepted with equality.

    I have a daughter who has challenged the system and done well. She applied for a position and they really wanted a male. She made a complaint to the teachers' organization.

   I'm disappointed that most of the girls that I've been able to follow have landed in positions for work. So some day I hope that women and girls are looked at in the same way as far as work placement and power  is concerned.

Myrna and an award

Monday, October 10, 2016


    Since it's Thanksgiving say there is a tradition to take some time and list what you've been thankful for over the last year.    I sometimes try to think back and remember what I said last year that I was thankful about.

    Now usually we name things that are large in our life. Such as , Mom and Dad. Mom had to put up with me for 34 years and Dad 68 years! My parents gave themselves very little credit for raising and providing for me. I'm sure I've expressed thanks for the Micro Manager in my life. Most of the time the Micro Manager is just that...someone who looks after the important details. I'm thankful for my son and daughter and granddaughters.

    However, this year, I can't help but think about all the little things that go into a year. The chat with someone. The joke shared, The warm smile. The help holding a door. The good books I read. The dogs that are walked by each day and who visit me. The birds that visit my yard. A cloudy day. All of these things are small. So I am thankful for all the small things that make up daily life.

    Daily life is what it's all about. We move through life one day at a time. There are no big gulps. Just small sips. Little things make up our life and that's what I'm thankful for.

    So Canadian friends, I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving.

Turkey, Bird Watching, Living Nature, Animal, Beak

Saturday, October 8, 2016


    Yesterday we got snow...3 or 4 cm (1-2 in) of snow. and as we say when something happens like this, "It had to happen sooner or later." It's snowing again this evening and we're supposed to get more snow tomorrow.
    Now it's not unusual for us to get snow in October. The snow will melt and disappear. Even if we get snow at the end of October , it will likely melt. It's also not unusual to get snow in September.

    Now it's a bit of a downer when we get snow like this. We've had some very nice weather to this point. 

     So I will hunker down for a few days and when the snow has melted I'll be back out in the yard. I still have lots of yard work to do.

     So to all my Canadian buddies, have a happy Thanksgiving. To my American buddies, I won't forget you when you celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


     Sometimes things happen that are very hard to believe. Such an event happened to us this week.

     10:00 AM Tues. morning I answered a call from a furniture store.  Call display said name unavailable. They said they had something at the store for us. I said just a minute you can talk to my wife. I wondered if she might have asked about something in the store.

     Well, it turned out that they had a table waiting for us to pick up!!!  We hadn't been to the store for years. They were insistent that we bought a table 3 days ago.  No we didn't. They asked if maybe we had forgotten! My wife told them that she remembered that she definitely had not been in the store.They had all our information and that we had used a debit card. Now this story was really starting to stink. They were pushy and insisted we pick up the table. We were confused. We thought maybe someone was pranking us like sending  a pizza order to the house.These people were aggressive. They told us to check our account and see if anything had been taken out of it. One person said the table had been paid for and the other one said the table had not been paid for. Neither one of them backed down and said there might be a mistake. The call ended with my wife saying she would contact the police. They did not hesitate. 

    Now we knew some things were wrong. We don't have a debit card? That really raised our level of suspicion and anxiety.

    My wife did call the police and talked to a very helpful officer. She suggested contacting the manager before going further. We had been reluctant to call the manager for if he had been in on the scam.

    We did contact the manager and he said he would check it and get back to us. Several hours later he called back . He had solved the problem. A telephone number is used to call up all your information like address, names and more. The table was paid for. So what the manager found was that the phone number the sales man entered had one incorrect digit which of course, made it our phone number. The manager was much better than his staff. He explained the problem and apologized and we were much relieved. Then he had to trace down the people who had bought and paid for the table.

    If the first clowns had taken a deep breath and thought for one second that they might be wrong they may have prevented the situation from escalating. They really made us suspicious. We didn't know if it was a scam. 

    After two days it was a relief to have things solved.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016


      Several months ago I met my neighbor on the street and we had our usual visit. She told me that she had been trying to sell her piano. Now, she had one of the newer pianos which was not as high as the older ones.  She gave up trying to sell the piano as no one was interested. She couldn't even get an offer on a ridiculously low price. Then she decided to give it away as she just wanted it out of her house. She had one person express interest but the person never came back. What's her only option? Pay to have it taken to the dump.

     Now I thought this was a rather sad situation that a perfectly good instrument would be thrown in the garbage.

     I was thinking that I sold my piano 20 years ago and how lucky I was to sell it.

     Now yesterday I was listening to a documentary on pianos. Yes the older pianos cannot be traded anymore. They were interviewing a piano technician. Many people come to him for help to sell their piano. They want to leave the piano with him. He has to refuse their pianos as he knows he won't find a buyer and he's left with the expense of disposal. He explained that many pianos are about 100 years old and they are at the end of their life. The wood in them has lost it's strength and warped. The cost of repair would be enormous and then you still have an old piano.

    Now I thought of the last 150 years when people had pianos and enjoyed music in their homes. I thought of all the children who took piano lessons and learned to play. I also thought about all those kids who took lessons and didn't learn anything. The reason I bought my piano was so that my kids could take piano lessons. One of them learned to play well and played after lessons were over. The other one did not touch the piano after the last lesson. So one learned to play piano and one learned nothing.

     In my family home we had a piano and my parents had the idea to give us piano lessons. I wasn't given piano lessons as we could seldom get to town in the winter. The other two were given lessons and learned very little.

     So it's the end of a long music tradition.

     Kids today take band and learn band instruments.

      How about you? Did you take piano lessons? Did you learn anything.

Piano, Beethoven, Candles, Chandeliers, Old House
Many of the old pianos were very ornate as this one that I found on the internet.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Aurora Borealis

      Wednesday and Thursday nights the forecast was for a good show of aurora brawls. There were  solar winds and it indicated a great show in my area - Central Alberta.

      Well it wasn't to be. there was heavy clouds both nights. Living in a city, there's too much light pollution to get a good view of northern lights but we do see them once in awhile.

     Northern lights have been part of my life since I was very young. Since I was brought up on an isolated farm, we didn't have much to do except play with things and each other. We had very few toys, so many evenings we played outside. Yes, that's when I first remember northern lights. We played by the hour outside in the dark farmyard. We did not have electricity so no yard lights. Skies were clear and northern lights were bright.

      For my first year of teaching I was hired for a one room country school. I boarded half a mile from the school and often went back after supper to prepare for the next day. Many evenings were clear and you guessed it...there were brilliant northern lights. Th road I walked on was not snow plowed and vehicles did not drive on it. I walked over brilliant white snow banks. When it was moonlight it was almost as bright as day.

     I realize that many parts of the world do not see northern lights. I enjoy the colors and the constant movement and changes in shape.

     Yellowknife NWT is a great place for Northern lights. Tourist come to Yellowknife to see northern lights. The five days I was in Yellowknife I did not see northern lights. I then spent 3 years in Inuvik NWT . There were northern lights but they weren't as spectacular as in northern Saskatchewan.

     So this week was a bit of a disappointment for aurora borealis. Maybe next time!

     So you see why I like aurora borealis. I took this from a file of photos on a net site.

Image result for aurora borealis