Friday, March 30, 2018


     As if spring wasn't late enough here , we got 12 - 13 cm ( 5 in ) of snow last night and today.  To go with the snow we have cool temperatures for this Time of year. We had a high of minus 5 C (23 F)  The forecast low for tonight is minus 21 C. So usually I'm patient about seasons , but this is a little much. 

     Some years the snow has melted and my lilies behind the back step and the blue bells are up. I've checked this year and there's nothing.

     One thing I do know is that the season will advance very quickly when the snow melts as we have long days and our plants do well with the long days. However, there are no above 0 C highs predicted for the next 7 days.

    So my photos are very dull to show the cloudy snowy day we have.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


   Every once in a while I have to give my head a shake and say I'm writing too much about myself. I prefer to write about other people, things and places.

    However , some topics keep giving and giving. (I think I invented that saying!)

    Now on Mar. 14 I wrote about how I fell off my back step in the dark. Now my detailed assessment of damage was that there was a small area bruise right on the hip joint. So I joyfully thought that in seven or so days the discomfort will go away and I'll be back to normal.

    Now it's difficult to check your own backside. For me it's just not possible.

    Now at about day 10 I could feel that down the outside of my leg from the hip joint to the knee joint was pretty tender when something touched it. This went on until I took a wee peak and saw bruising from the hip to the knee. Then I got the mirror and saw that the back of my leg from the hip to the knee was one big bruise. 

    So other than being a surprise it's okay and will take it's time to clear up. So I have a couple of photos that show the extent of the bruising.

      These photos show the back of my leg. The dark spot at the bottom is behind my knee.

    Now I also discovered that taking selfies of your backside is more complicated than I thought. Anybody want to try it? 


Monday, March 26, 2018


      This is a topic I know about. I had juvenile epilepsy and now have senior epilepsy. Juvenile epilepsy disappears with the onset of puberty. Other epilepsy will stay with you for a life time. Senior epilepsy shows up in seniors and is completely under diagnosed.

      As a child I had epilepsy which hit me when I was about 8. I had grand mals which took place just after bedtime. I'm sure that my parents were terrified  as they probably knew nothing about epilepsy. The old country doctor knew exactly what my condition was and prescribed medication to control it. Once diagnosed, medication kept me relatively free of seizures. However , in the late 40's and early 50's there was much stigmitism regarding epilepsy. I would not tell anybody I had epilepsy and I don't think my parents went out of their way to tell people either. I also didn't understand what epilepsy was and as a child I thought I was going to die. I knew that there were health risks due to epilepsy. Epileptics were feared and shunned because of their seizures.

     Most years of my teaching career, I had kids with epilepsy that was not well controlled so there were seizures in class.

     Senior epilepsy is much more surprising because I'm at an age when I understand things much better.

     I went to emergency in 2008 because my wife thought I had a TIA. I had spent about 2 1/2 hours and did not remember anything that happened. A multitude of tests were given and there was no evidence of a TIA. A neat little term was given to my condition...trans global amnesia. The medical profession could describe what happened but they didn't know what was going on.

     Three years later I had another incident of global amnesia. This time the Neurologist said, "It's no use doing all the tests over again as they won't show anything." But, she said, "There's one test I haven't done yet."

     She ordered an EEG (Electroencephalogical)  with sleep deprivation. I had to stay up all night and go in at 9: 00 AM for the test. This test showed a section of the brain with faster than normal activity. It indicates epilepsy. So the neurologist cheerfully told me that I had senior epilepsy and that it could be controlled with medication.

   I happened to get a top notch neurologist who's bright, knowledgeable and with it. She's an awesome specialist.

     I didn't say anything, but I thought , I've had epilepsy and that's not what this is. As soon as I got home I went to the computer and googled senior epilepsy. The first thing I found was all kinds of information on senior epilepsy.

     There's much research being done on senior epilepsy. It's under diagnosed so many seniors live in a dozy state and their behavior is classed as senior moments.

     So here's my contribution to publicize epilepsy on International Epilepsy Day.  I hope that with more information epileptics receive better medical attention and supportive association from the community.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


     The American political situation is an easy example of truth that has gone off the rails. Politicians are not the only group to play fast and loose with the truth.  Politicians lie to each other and about each other. Political parties hire skillful organizations to manufacture lies and skillfully publicize them.

       I read terrible things about Donald Trump and I say to myself this should do him in. Nothing happens and he continues with his wacky ways.  So then I have to ask, "Is the information dished up about Trump the truth." We know that Trump admits that he makes things up as in his discussion with Prime Minister Trudeau when Trump admits to making up information on the spot.

      Some of our news organizations churn out endless fantasy. These organizations know that the general public can not be on the spot to witness what is reported. We depend on accurate reporting to form our opinions.

    This week there was a larger scarier incident when Cambridge Analytica was caught  red handed stealing info from 50 million Face Book users to manipulate truth. They found information to use and manufacture information to feed the public. Apparently it worked.

     With modern media, news travels in many cases instantly.  Truth moves rapidly. With 24 hour news channels someone is always on display peddling their lies. At the end of the day there's usually nobody to believe. News casters go chasing another story for the next day.

     Now it used to be that people would argue their point by using available information to support their position. They played by the rules. They used logic and information. They presented the information in using intelligent discourse. They could still promote their cause and let people decide what they would choose. We could go to several sources and compare the information. We could do our homework.

     Now we have nothing that we can rely on. We must do our own research. There are limited sources that give reasonable information.

    So some how we have to turn this ship around and impress on leaders and news organizations that truth is valuable for the good of the citizens and the health of the earth.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


     Yes, old Red, the last of the great do it yourselfers, has filled out income tax forms for the last time! Now before some misread this as I don't have to file income tax! No such luck.

    I have filled out income tax forms since 1959. It was a bit of a surprise for a 19 year old to discover he had to file an income tax form. So for for 59 years I have faithfully and honestly filled out my tax forms. 

    Why am I quitting? I'll blame it on the Micro Manager. Much of our reporting has to go together and the Micro manager is not willing to go through the hassle anymore.

    I find that the forms get more convoluted every year. The government tries to satisfy many groups that lobby for breaks. So there are breaks for music  lessons, bus travel, gym got it . Everybody gets a break...even seniors.

   And that brings me to my point. Here's a challenge. Here senior couples, where only one gets a pension, can split some pension income so that they both can take advantage of a break and claim the maximum for non refundable tax credits. Okay, I won't complain about a benefit as it saves us $150.00.

    Now here's the problem and I get a headache trying to write about this. The guy withe the pension transfers $2000.00 to the spouse without the pension. Pension guy's income is $2000.00 less. Pensionless guy must add $2000.00 to their income. After that, pension guy must subtract the tax he would have been paying on the $2000.00 he's giving away and pensionless guy must add the tax to their return. It's a simple switch. 

    Now you can guess the tax people could spoil this by inventing a form that is impossibly  complicated. You have to read it a 100 times and each time the Micro Manager and I disagree because it is written in a very awkward way.

   I know , accountants have to do their job and make a form that will do the job.

   So with such convoluted forms , I'm not that unhappy to give up my job filling in my tax return.

    Now I just have to look for an accountant that I like.

    ...and I'll bet there's no prize(break) for filling out tax forms for 59 years.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


    John from John's Island asked an innocent question the other day. He wanted to know when my snow goes away. Well that's a very complicated answer.

     Weather and climate are extremely variable here. We sometimes have early spring and sometimes late spring. In other words there are years that the snow disappears early in March and sometimes it's not until early April when snow disappears.  Now complicating that is the snow storms we can get after the  winter snow has melted. we usually get most of our snow in March. In the last two days we've had 10-12 cm (5 in )m of snow. Our winter snow has not started to melt. So I would predict a late spring this year.

     We can get snow storms in May and even June. However in may and June our crops and plants are well established. We grow plants that are hardy and suited for this climate zone.

    Now for statistics for this date:

     Record low  -27.5 C (-30 F)    2002
     Record high  14 C (58 F)       1988
     Ave. high 4 C (40 F)
     Ave low -9 C 95F)
     Record snow 25.7 cm (11 in.)     2006
     sunrise 7:42 AM
     Sunset 7:44 PM

    So you see that with these conditions our spring can be quite variable.

      My daughter on June 8 1986. She was 15 and this was her sense of humor. My apologies for the poor photo quality . 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


       Well, I really didn't know there was such a word as inelegant, but I was the perfect example last night.   I was awfully inelegant.

       I was out at a meeting and came home shortly after nine.  Of course, at that time it was very dark.  I have a security light on the front of my house so parking  was fine. I walked to the back and found that the kitchen light that's usually on was off. It was pitch black. First of all you know that old guys like me don't see too well...especially in the dark. Secondly our balance isn't the greatest anymore.

       I got up the walk and the three steps to the back door and then my problem started. I was in the top step and balance became an issue .I didn't have much room to maneuver. So the way to get my balance was to step backward. That meant I was gong down stairs backwards. I'm not too good at going down stairs backwards at the best of times. 

     I made it down the three steps but when I hit the sidewalk my speed had picked up. Now I don't walk backwards very well so I tripped going backwards. I lurched against the brick wall of the house and sort of bounced. I hit the sidewalk on my butt and did a bit of a roll. fortunately I didn't hit my head. It was all in slow motion. I wonder why I couldn't have recovered at some point. My cap went flying. My meeting papers went on their own little flight. My pen disappeared. I did hang onto my keys. I had to unlock the door.

     I remember saying one very bad word and then I did what I always do when I fall...get up quickly before anybody sees me.

     Needless to say , the whole thing was very awkward and yes inelegant...totally lacking in grace. 

    I got in the house and turned on the lights and went back out to retrieve my belongings.

    I ripped my jacket sleeve and have a bruise on my left big butt. Other than being a little stiff I survived.

    It really makes one think seriously about falls when you're a senior.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


     Those readers who are less than 75 will probably not be familiar with the reel to reel tape recorder. I have a reel to reel tape recorder and I recently posted on it regarding trying to rerecord our wedding.

     Now for a reel to reel tape recorder you have to manually thread the tape through the tape head. You have to manually put the tape in a groove on the reel to anchor it on the reel. Everything was manual. If you didn't catch the tape at the end it spun around wildly.

     Reel to reel machines were developed in the 1930's with not great quality. Cassettes appeared in the late 50's and early 6o's. Cassettes could be prerecorded so you bought music. 

     Once I'd rescued the wedding from the tape I got thinking about my old reel to reel tape recorder. Way back there were few options for listening to music and quality wasn't that good.

     When I was single and mobile I didn't have the capability to own and transport a larger stereo so I listened to my trusty transistor radio.

     In the 50's there were some cabinet stereos available

     When I got my own place I wanted something better for listening to music. You guessed it. I got a reel to reel tape recorder. Now in those days you could only buy LPs. So I would borrow somebody's LP and record it. This was very low tech. I played the record and used a microphone to pick up the sound. The one I bought had external speakers.

    I had taped some get music: Harry Belefonte, Mr Aker Bilk, Dean Martin, The New Christie Minstrels, Louis Armstrong,

     So after the effort to get the wedding off the old tapes. I looked at the music I had. It was great stuff. I'm listening to it again.

     So how many people remember the reel to reels a way back? 

Friday, March 9, 2018


    Now I'm usually a mild mannered laid back sort of guy. I'm patient and give people the benefit of the doubt.

    This week I had an opportunity to complain vigorously.

     Let me back up a bit. It's income tax time. I do my own income tax. I had gone through all tax slips and decided that I was ready to roll. Well the day's mail brought one more tax slip. Now the slip was a week late but more than that a very important figure was missing on the slip.

     The micro manager phoned the company responsible for the slip. She hung up on the first person she tried to talk to. Well, I told her to hang up and she hung up gracefully like, "Thank you very much but we're not accomplishing anything!"

     The next guy was awesome and told us the company had not put the figure on the slips for the last two years. He also told us to contact the local bank and they could print the statement and it would include the missing number.

     Okay , all we have to do is phone the local branch. So first call we get an answering machine. .Well, try one of the extension numbers. Leave a message, Another extension number and still no answer. Leave a message. My third and last extension number and you guessed it. Leave a message. On top of this their message said they would get back to us within 24 hours. Now for some strange reason the Micro Manager thinks that if you phone back and leave another message there might be a reply. So she went through all the numbers again and left messages again.

     So after this run around we're a little testy.

     The next morning the manager phoned. To put it mildly, she was a jerk. She had no idea how to print out the statement we wanted. Further more she was perturbed that we were telling her what to do. She said she'd have to phone to find out what to do and would do it later and that next week she was on holidays so we wouldn't get an answer for a week. The Micro Manager pressed harder for the statement to be printed that day. The manager actually grew testy. There was no other way to do the process according to her.

    Well the Micro Manager went down to the bank at 2:00 Pm as she had told the manager she'd be there and the statement better be ready.

    As the MM was standing in the bank an employee asked her if she could help. The MM explained what she wanted. The employee said , I'll see what I can do. Five minutes later the statement was printed.

    So what was the problem with the snooty bank manager. The manager could have solved the problem in less than half the time she spent talking to us. She only had to look for five minutes!

    Customer service? First: Answer your damn phone. Second: learn some manners on how to deal with people.

    I was a little bent out of shape after this incident.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


      Last week I was looking for my niece's obituary on line. I found her obituary but I also found a site with a collection of the last year of obituaries. Since it was my old home town, which I left 61 years ago, I was surprised to see that in about 25% of the obituaries I either knew the people or knew who they were.

     I found one obituary rather amusing. Most of the items in the obituary tended to end up at his favorite pass  time which was drinking beer. No matter what he did he tended to end up at the local hotel where he had his favorite beer , Pilsener! Now this obituary sounded like a few of the old boys got together over a few beers and wrote the obituary. It was somewhat humorous and probably quite accurate.

    Now my niece's obituary was very accurate. She was talented artistically and in many ways a very fine person. My niece was a super Mom and wife. She liked fishing and driving farm machinery...the bigger the better. The person who wrote the obituary expressed very well the excellent characteristics of my niece.  I'm sure it was a female who wrote the obituary.

     And then I've read some obituaries and I wonder if they are writing about the same person I know.  Many fine qualities are listed of which I was not aware . The person was a great father. , a wonderful husband, and hard worker! Where did they get these things. Who wrote them?

     Writing an obituary is a challenge. The occasion is stressful. Consideration has to be given as to who the audience will be. What does the family want the obituary to say?

    Now there are many more types of obituaries. Some of them can become very humorous and interesting. Others sincerely and accurately catch the mood of the occasion. And some obituaries are just plane awful. 

    The first obituary was humorous. My niece's obituary was very accurate. 

     So after all this it is my intention to write my own obituary if I ever get my act together in time!

Sunday, March 4, 2018


      We just had a couple of days of snow where we got about 12 cm of snow. That's a lot of snow for us at one time . I know other places get much heavier snow falls.

      It kept me busy shoveling snow a couple of times. However the snow was light , dry and powdery which makes it easy to shovel.

      The snow gives us a very clean fresh look so why not a few photos.

       This photo is for Far Side. She wants people to set up snow sticks so here's my feeble effort at a snow stick. Can you see it? I have 14 in. (35 cm) of snow.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


     I like watching weather. I taught Middle School science from time to time and there was usually a unit on weather. One place I taught , there was a radiosonde station where they released the large weather balloons that rose about 20000 ft. I would take the kids on a little field trip. The balloons were released at 2:00 PM and 2:00 AM each day. The radiosonde technology is completely obsolete.

     As a farm boy we watched weather.

     I took my private pilot's license and that was more weather. 

    When I was in the north, I quite often gave the pilots our weather so that they knew whether to fly in or not. CAVU meant clear and unlimited visibility.

    So a few days ago a fast moving cold front went through. There were high winds and a little snow. So the trees waved and snow blew. Visibility was limited. The whole episode was over in about 30 minutes and our temperature dropped. I watched all 30 minutes of it.