Friday, September 29, 2023


      Over the years I taught about 3000  students in this area. I have lost touch with about 99% of them. Two former students live across the street from me. One of my former students is a city councellor. Many of them are teachers so I keep in touch with them. One former student came back to the same school and taught with me.

     One student I was reminded about today is Ricky.

    Ricky was a tiny little guy with a face full of freckles and lots of wild unruly red hair. His lips were flapping all the time. Ricky liked controversy. He was right in it immediately  when any disagreements occurred. Ricky had a few problems when it came to debate. Quite often he was missing information on either side of the issue. At other times he misinterpreted things and at other times he was just plain wrong.

    Today I accidentally found myself on a local history face book page. Ricky was on the page. Our school had too major fires and one smaller fire. As usual Ricky did not know about one of the fires. That didn't stop him from talking about the fires. 

    So on Ricky's face book page it shows a bald man so he's lost his unruly red hair. It shows a short rather chunky man. 

    So there you have a little twerp almost 50 years from his time in gr 7. Some things change and others never change. 

   It was good to see Ricky again even if it was only on face book. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023


       My great next door neighbor showed why he's so good today.

       Our back entry just had a cement step with three steps. There were no surrounding rails at the side or back. Kids did fall off the back step but they bounce up with no harm done.

      So today, Tyson made a railing that fits against the wall so that we can come up the back steps with something to hang on to. The Micro Manager needs the railing to safely come up or go down the steps. There's also a hook at the top of the railing for her to hang her purse while she unlocks the door. 

So Tyson, this rail is much appreciated. 

    Tyson is also a para medic so if we do fall down the steps there's somebody to take care of us. Tyson also shovels snow if I don't get out right away. 

   Thanks Tyson. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Thursday, September 21, 2023


     The helicopter ride was fun but the dinner had it's laugh and cry moments. 

     The Captain was on the deck to welcome us to the ship. He was dressed in a formal dress uniform , shirt etc. Since I was classified as a local administrator, for some strange reason I was to be of equal rank. He was an excellent host. 

    Now my  paternal family were Ukrainian, Polish, Russian peasants. They had a small plot of land...40 acres. There wasn't any lumber so they had a small clay house. These houses were made with a mixture of straw and clay. There was a dirt floor and straw roof. They were warm but small. They had only  very basic cooking utensils. They did not have a stove but a fireplace. 

    When they came to Canada they had very few cooking utensil and built the same kind of clay house. Things were limited. 

    On my maternal side they were also very poor and did itinerant farm labor. 

   As a result  formal manners around eating were limited. In fact, they were unknown. 

   When my Dad set up house he bought cooking equipment on auction sales. We did not have a set of cutlery or dishes. Your spoon, knife and fork may have come from 3 different sets. 

    Well, you can predict what's coming next. The dinner on the ship was very, very formal. I had never heard or seen salad forks or the proper place for soup spoons.  Or soup spoons for that matter.  Some of the dishes I had never seen before. Or for that matter more than knife , fork and spoon on a place setting.  I was not used to being told where to sit. I sat down before the Captain told us where to sit. As a result there were quite a few boo boos as far as etiquette was concerned. 

    The Captain was a gracious host. We had good conversation. We had soup, salad, main course and desert. For us the best part was salad as we hadn't had any fresh produce for a year. We still talk about the salad. 

    So the trip back had a heavier load. 

     I had also learned a few things about eating that evening. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


      A former student told a few days ago of her 10 or so years working for Stars air Ambulance in the promotion department. She had an official looking photo of herself in a helicopter with the helmet and all. 

      This reminded me of my helicopter rides in the Arctic. The ice breakers would come in and do a medical check on all aboriginals. This is where the dreaded tuberculosis was picked up and people were taken south for treatment. Most people were taken to the ice breaker on the tender. However some where taken by included. 

      One summer an ice breaker was doing sounding at the end of Wakeham bay. They were preparing for shipping ore from one of the mines about 50 km inland. 

      One day the helicopter came over with a message from the captain. He was inviting us for dinner. Well, yes we'll come for dinner. The helicopter came back to pick us up at the appointed time and take us to the ship.

      Well the 10 minute ride was pleasant but The ship looked awfully small from 10 miles away. When we got closer we could see the circles the helicopter was to land in. The circles were very, very small. So all of a sudden down we go and guess what? We landed exactly in the circle. 

     We had a nice dinner with the captain and then the helicopter took us back to our house. 

    Returning to Wakeham Bay after dinner on the D'Iberville. You can see how small the village was and yes, that's snow on the hills behind the village in July. It's snow left over from the winter. 

Landing pad on the D'Iberville. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023


     In early Sept. I noticed that a zucchini was becoming a  very different shape. It was becoming a 90 degree angle. Apparently the front of the zucchini got stuck on the ground but the zucchini kept on growing. Fruits and vegetables quite often have weird shapes. 

     Then sometimes the zucchini owners can get bent out of shape. So this particular zucchini owner thought the zucchini would make some kind of collar! 

     Another caption may be "some people don't have enough to do."

Wednesday, September 13, 2023


        I should have posted these photos when I took them on Sept. 10 when I took them. I wanted to show how fall and fall colors are progressing. But this is what it looked like on Sept. 10. It seems early for leaves to be changing color. 

       I wasn't paying much attention when I shot from the dark to the bright light. 

There's  large beech tree in front of the car. Of course , it's not native here and doesn't grow that well here. 

Friday, September 8, 2023


       I don't know how many posts I've started with "I was a teacher." Then comes another teacher story.

       During my career I had about 20 student teachers. They came from the University of Alberta and did a 6 week practicum. Sometimes this was split with another teacher. I enjoyed having student teachers as I could keep my eye on what methods were coming up. For most students, you knew they were ready to go. I would check the lesson plan and leave the classroom. They needed space to develop confidence. 

      One of the students I had was Maggie who got her degree at age 40. Maggie had many hardships. Some she bought on herself and others hit her. However,  Maggie had turned her life around and finished an education degree with very high marks. And she came out to do her practicum with me. Maggie struggled with her practicum. She just wasn't confident enough to mix it up with the kids. However, she passed the practicum. Our school hired Maggie on a contract. The principal had confidence that with experience Maggie could teach. 

    Maggie made the decision on her own not to continue teaching. She found something that was very suitable for her. She was hired as  marker for the local college and loved this position as she was much more suited to the college level. The remainder of her career was spent at the college. 

     Maggie struggled with some health conditions. She had fiber myalgia and several other conditions that influenced her quality of life. 

    Even though Maggie lived in town, I didn't see her very often. When we met it was mutual pleasure to have a good visit. 

     Last week Maggie passed away . She knew some terrible struggles in life and also some major achievements. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023


      On Aug . 28 I wrote about the evacuation of Yellowknife because of wildfires. 

     Today I can tell you that the evacuation order has been lifted and people are able to return to their homes. 

    A combination of things happened to make the area safe. They had some heavy rainfall. The winds blew in the right direction and the firefighters did and amazing job                                                                                  People have been in Yellowknife for the last few days getting things organized. They have to make sure that water and sewage are working. Some of the hospital is ready for patients. Electricity is running properly. Businesses like grocery stores have to have stock  so that people can buy groceries when they get back. 

    The road back will be less chaotic. To go out they were  mostly going at once. Now some people say they will wait a few days so that traffic isn't as heavy. Maybe things will be better organized if they wait. 

    All people can breath a sigh of relief that there wasn't any damage.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023


     Yes , I spent my whole career teaching. I loved it most of the time!

     So , today kids here started back to school. When I first retired this tie of year held a lot of emotion and I thought I should be there doing something to get ready for school. It took a long time before the feeling left me.

     Now I'm aware of what time of year it is but it doesn't get me thinking about preparation. 

    When I was teaching I would spend time at school in August getting books and material ready. When I was department head I had the responsibility to help teachers find materials. It was a time of year that I enjoyed even if the Micro Manager didn't enjoy it. 

    So today I thought about how long I've been retired. I've been retired for 26 years. I'm approaching retirement time that is equal to teaching time. I taught for a little more than 37 years.

    So today I gave a quick thought to school starting, looked out the window to see kids walking by on the street. Then it was back  to retirement. 

Sunday, September 3, 2023


     My son in law teaches French and Spanish in a large high school. He is very good at teaching languages and learning them. 

    When I talked to him this morning , he had just finished his German lesson. So every Sunday morning he has an hour of conversation in German. He is very fluent in German. 

    Then he told me that he had an hour learning Czech. This is a  new one to me but I wasn't surprised. So I asked him a naive question. Does knowing German help in learning Czech?   Oh no he said. Czech has nothing to do with German. Czech is an Indo European language

    Then I started going through all the European languages to see the relationships. I had thought that all European languages were related. So there are Germanic languages such as Austria, Germany. There are a number if Indo European languages. There are the romance languages that come from Latin which would be France, Spain, Portugal, England. . There are Norse languages in northern Europe. I was surprised that Dutch is the closest language to English. And then I thought oh what about Hungarian. Hungarian is a northern language closer related to Northern languages. This one really surprised me. 

     What he told me makes perfect sense but I had just never bumped into the idea before. 

    I had to take French as a first year class. I tried to become fluent in French but I never got there. Today , I remember very little French. 

    So I wonder what he's going to teach me the next time I talk to him.