Friday 28 February 2014

Zen, Coriolis and a Dead Fly

I’ve always liked doing the dishes, it’s time when almost no one will bother you and it has a Zen like aspect that allows your mind to wander while your body performs the most menial task. Now, having said that, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when I wish we used only paper plates. It can be kind of Zen to toss things in the garbage can.
Often I will think about the properties of water while I have my hands submerged. I will remember being in the bath as a kid and figuring out how to squeeze my hands together and send a jet of water into the air. I will rediscover how to fill a glass and while the mouth is still in the sink, raise it up carrying the full glass of water with it. Once the surface is breached, the water drains out. I can, and have spent hours playing in the sink while I am supposed to be doing the dishes.

Lately, while I have been wrist deep in dirty water I have been thinking about those places on the equator where the natives will demonstrate how water drains on either side of the “Equator” signpost. According to the Coriolis force, water draining in the northern hemisphere will rotate counter clockwise and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. The natives will fill a bucket (with a hole in the bottom) with water and when they stand on the north side of a sign that purports to be the equator, it drains counter clockwise and then they will step to the other side of the sign with a newly filled bucket, it will drain clockwise. This astounds and amazes the tourists who will give a tip to the natives for their trouble.
To save you the trouble of a trip to the equator, these guys are hucksters. It all depends on how the water is poured into the bucket as to which way it will drain. Mind you, there probably isn’t a lot to do at the equator once you have taken a picture of the sign, so you might just as well watch the bucket guys.

I have tried to figure which way the water drains at my house in the past, but one time it will swirl counter clockwise and the next time it will drain clockwise. Often the bubbles will confuse things, but bubbles are notorious tricksters. Today, when I had finished the dishes I just pulled the plugs on both sinks and lo and behold, the right hand sink was counter clockwise and the left hand sink was clockwise. I suppose that our sink is right on the Alberta equator. I would be more than happy to demonstrate this phenomenon to anyone…for a small gratuity of course.
There was another odd thing that happened at the sink today. I was doing the dishes and when I looked up at the window, it was covered with frost and there was a fly walking on it. It is about -20° C in Calgary right now and I just wasn’t expecting a fly. It hasn’t been warm recently and believe me when I tell you that neither the doors nor the windows have been opened lately. I briefly wondered where the fly came from before I took its life, but it’s beyond me. Why would it choose such a cold day to appear, why would it appear in front of me, why would it disturb my Zen like meditation? Stupid fly!

I hope it wasn’t a good luck fly, the lottery is tonight, and I really need to get out of this cold weather.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Bison and Focus Groups

Just last week, I participated in a focus group that was gathering information on an ad campaign for a new Heart and Stroke Lottery. I like being part of a focus group because all I have to do is give an opinion and they pay me for it. I offer my opinion on a daily basis for free to pretty much anyone who will listen. It’s funny what I will do for money.
I really should have some moral objection to another lottery that is attempting to separate more money from people who can’t afford it. Instead, I am part of a study that will make the ads more palatable to those who probably shouldn’t waste their money on another ticket. They don’t call lotteries the stupid tax for nothing. The government gets a percentage of the funds (sometimes) and they don’t have to raise taxes to pay for the hospitals or medical research those lottos support. Fewer taxes are a good thing, and $75 for an hour of giving my opinion is an even better thing.

This week I agreed to work for the Post Office doing a volume count in April and July. The work is easy and the money is nice too. A volume count is done every few years whenever the management can think of a new way to make the employees to do more work for the same money. I should refuse to do this on principal, but like I said, the money is pretty good and at least I will do a fair count for the carriers.
We all justify our jobs, but I suspect few of us really help people in our work. Inadvertently we do I suppose, but the underlying reason we are working is to make money for the corporation. When I was delivering mail, most of what I delivered was bills or advertising which most people would prefer not to receive. I liked days when I would be able to deliver cheques, birthday cards or packages.

I wondered if work had always been like it is now. I have always imagined that hunter gatherers would have some pretty good job satisfaction. They would go out for a walk with a digging stick and bring back enough fruits and vegetables to feed the village. Sometimes they might bring down a bird or rabbit which would make the stew for the evening just that much more succulent. Good life!
I pictured myself back 10,000 years and wondered what I would have been doing. I’d probably be the guy that went out and came back with mushrooms and the smoking herb. I guess every now and then I would take part in a bison hunt. I’m sure at first I would help build the barriers that would direct the herd of bison off of the cliff. The next year I might get a promotion and get to charge after the herd making noise and waving my hands. The mushrooms would come in handy for that job.
The years would go by and I would get more and more important jobs. When you read “important”, you can substitute “deadly”. One of the key jobs is to light fire at the right moment to panic the bison to run over the cliff. Bison don’t want to run off a cliff that is a person’s idea. I can barely light a match on a calm day, can you imagine if I had to rub sticks together when I was under pressure? What if I couldn’t get the fire lit and the thousand or so bison got to the cliff and decided they weren’t going to jump over? Fifteen hundred pounds each of angry, tired, dusty, angry, mean bison isn’t something that I could reason with, even with mushrooms.
Best case scenario of that hunt, would be a hundred of dead bison that need to be processed on site. That’s on site with other carnivores with large teeth and bad attitudes that want to share. I’m not going to mention the bugs and having to carry all of that meat back home, or even the stink.

Nope, I think I should stay in the present, collect my pension and give my opinion whenever anyone is willing to listen.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

But Fun

I was thinking about Hurricane and Tornado today and I wondered what they think of me. I know they think of me every now and then, but I wonder just where they place me in their lives. Sure, I am Poppa, but they view the world in a different way than adults do, so just how do they fit me in to their understanding of how the world works.

I suppose they might have a little trouble understanding just how grandparents can be their mommies’ mommy and daddy. Someone as old as mommy couldn`t have a mommy or daddy, could she? Mommy doesn’t listen to her mommy or daddy and even talks back to them. Perhaps this is the moment that begins years of backtalk. Heh…heh…heh.

Why does Poppa have big eyebrows, hair in his nose and ears? Daddy doesn’t. Poppa’s hair isn’t too thick on top, so maybe the inside of his head is filled with hair and it is growing out of the nose and ears. I guess that is as good an explanation as I have heard and it goes a long way towards explaining why I have trouble remembering things. I knew what I went downstairs for, but the hair got me all confused.

Why doesn’t Poppa ever go to work? Mommy and daddy have to work, so why doesn’t Poppa? Maybe his job is being Poppa. That works too.

How come grandparents always have time to listen to kids? Mom and dad listen, but grandparents always seem to listen. They don’t always understand what we say, but they listen. Maybe it’s too much hair.

Why is there always candy, gum and cookies at grandma and Poppas house, and why can we always have some? They let us pick what we want to eat too, instead of telling us what’s for dinner. If our kids were as cute as the grandkids, they could have eaten what they wanted to as well.

We never have to clean at grandma and Poppas place, but we do at home. We learned the hard way that is one battle that you just can’t win. Sometimes you can get an uneasy truce, but you will never win.

We get to play and watch our TV programs and movies whenever we are visiting. Childhood is too short and we should make the most of their time with us. Laughter is the most magic sound in the world.

It’s different at Grandma’s and Poppa’s, but fun. It’s different with Hurricane and Tornado, but fun.

Tuesday 25 February 2014


Well, I went to see my favourite dentist, Dr. Julie today. I know it sounds as if I have numerous dentists that I go to on a rotating basis, but that just isn’t true. My teeth are bad enough to have a team of dental professionals on call, but I am a one dentist guy. Well, one at a time.
 I just had a check up scheduled for today, but it’s been my experience that a check up will generally lead to bad news and thousands of dental plan dollars. On the plus side, with the price of gold the way it is, I have a mouthful of hidden assets. I have mentioned to those near and dear to me that when I die, they should mine my mouth for precious metals to offset the funeral costs. It kind of weirds them out, but why should the guy at the crematorium get a couple of thousand in gold for the price of a pair of Powerfist lineman’s pliers? I’ll grant you that it might be a tad gruesome, but not everything in life is pretty. I’ve put it out there, but it will ultimately be up to the kids and grandkids. I think Tornado will have the stomach for it, and he is good with tools.
I had a more or less good check up. I have been taking care of my teeth so there is no new deterioration. It only took me about 55 years to figure out how to avoid all of the pain and misery involved in dental procedures. Yay me! That being said, I will have to go back for a new crown if the insurance company decides it will cover the work. What happens is that most of these things will last about ten years before the glue or cement or receding gums determine that a replacement is in order. There is a tiny cavity under the crown that needs to be taken care of. There is nothing I could do about it, or so I’m told.

From now on, I am going to get smart before I make an appointment with the dentist. I plan to get in the habit of calling the receptionist on a regular basis just to chat. I’ll ask her about her life and kids, how she is feeling and how everyone else in the office is getting along. Eventually she will be comfortable enough to give me some real useful information, like if Dr. Julie is planning a major purchase or expensive holiday in the near future. That way I can avoid funding her purchase or holiday, let some other sucker pay the tab.

I had a dentist once that would talk over a half wall with his colleague in the next cubical about their investments, new cars, boats and even how much the ex wife took them for in the divorce. I could tell by the way the conversation was going just how much work I was in for. Bastards!

I wish I could say that at least I will have a lovely smile after all of the work, but the days of me having a lovely smile have long gone. I am in a holding pattern now, trying not to grind my teeth right down to the gums. The last time I was there, I got an appliance and I brought it back for a visit this time. They clean it and make any minor adjustments that need adjusting. I didn’t know that my appliance would also make the rounds of the office so that everyone could see just how hard I grind my teeth and that I have a tendency to grind to the right. I guess the good thing is that the appliance is taking the beating, not my poor nubs of teeth.

Well, now I wait for the insurance guys and then back to Dr. Julie to buy her a summer home or at the very least a new car. 

Monday 24 February 2014

Should Be Fun

Last night I just couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to write about. God knows there is a never ending supply of things I could complain about and there are an equal number of things that I can give a high five to, but last night I just didn’t have it in me. For those too few people who read it on a daily basis I would like to apologise, but if you examine your life you will find that you are as good as you were before this morning. Well, possibly anyways.

Today is one of those days when I really have nothing to do. I know that you are thinking “Hey, you’re retired; you never have anything to do!” Well, that is true I suppose, but most days I set myself some goals and activities that I try to accomplish. Sure there are no repercussions if I don’t get my “goals” accomplished, but…ahhh…ummm…I got nothing.

It turns out that I do have some things to do today. I got a call from the library telling me that a hold item I requested is finally in. I have been waiting a month or two for it, but when you are retired, waiting is something to do. The call from the library is automated which I can understand save money by not needing a warm blooded person to make the calls. What I don’t understand is why the automated voice is so terrible. It makes Stephen Hawking automated voice sound normal. In this day and age, with the technology available to us (and the library) that voice should be nearly impossible to differentiate from a real person.

One of Stephen Hawking aids asked him once why he didn’t improve or update his voice and his reply was that if he did, no one would recognize him. His voice is as individual to him as yours is to you. That being said, the same doesn’t apply to an impersonal, automated voice from the library. Well, I don’t think it should. Perhaps I should send this link to the Calgary Public Library, not only is it better than the program they are using, but it’s fun too.

I also had to roll up the rim at Tim Horton’s, but unfortunately I didn’t have to win according to Mr. Horton. The good news is that I have been invited to “PLAY AGAIN” I guess that is something.

I guess that I have something to do every day, if you consider this blog as something. Last night was kind of an aberration but I sometimes feel that the world would be just a little emptier without it. Hahahahahahahahaha!

Tomorrow I get to see Dr Julie and listen to her give me shit about not looking after my teeth. Should be fun…

Saturday 22 February 2014

For Fun

Tonight I am going to talk about hockey, particularly Canadian hockey. I suppose I have been thinking hockey because of the Olympics and how well Canada is doing this year and how well the Canadians have always done when playing internationally.

I suppose I should preface this with a disclaimer. I don’t really know very much about hockey. I didn’t play when I was a kid, other than road hockey. I didn’t play as an adult. I didn’t sign my kids up for hockey because I don’t think that hockey is a sport that develops the traits that I believe are important in life. I chose Soccer for the kids instead. I don’t watch hockey generally, but I do make exceptions for playoffs and the Olympics. Even then, I drift in and out when I hear cheering, sort of making my own highlight reel. In short, I don’t really care that much about hockey.

Now, having said that, I am becoming somewhat concerned about the state of hockey in Canada. I’ve had conversations and watched some discussions on just this subject this week which is in itself kind of odd. Hockey is one way that Canadians identify themselves, along with maple syrup, maple leafs and beavers. Other countries have those things, but for some reason we Canadians have attached them to our collective lives. If we lose hockey, we are stuck with the maple tree and beavers, neither of which help us win medals at the Olympics.

When I was growing up, pretty much everyone played hockey in one form or another, we didn’t need organized leagues to play, we just stood in a line and the two best players would pick their teams. The games would go on until the guy with the puck got called in for lunch or the puck was lost in a snow bank. We could do this because there were a lot of outdoor rinks, some in backyards, but most in schoolyards. The rinks were maintained by dads who loved hockey and their kids. My dad would give up a couple of nights a week to go and flood the school rink so that the ice was as good as he and other dads could get it. I guess the city provided the hoses and water supply, but all the work was done for free. That kind of thing doesn’t happen any more and I don’t know why.

I suppose that it could be a result of global warming. I know that although the past two winters have been cold, a decade and a half before it would have been difficult to maintain ice in Calgary. It could have been done, but the rinks would have needed to be shaded. Personally I think that greed and apathy have played a major role in the demise of hockey. Someone somewhere realized that there was money to be made renting ice time to kids playing hockey. I’m sure that the original idea was to have the kids playing on perfect sheets of ice, with proper coaching and equipment. What actually happened over time is that the kids (like me) who were hockey challenged would drop out because they couldn’t compete and others would drop out because they couldn’t afford the ice time or cost of equipment. In effect, somehow when it became organized, the fun was taken out of the game.

Now there are too many indoor activities for the kids, so why would they go outside to play on a cold rink. Why would they walk to the school with their skates on their shoulders when their parents will drive them across the city to play hockey in an indoor ice temple with perfect ice, change rooms and vending machines. Why would they play with kids two years younger than they are who aren’t any good when they could play with kids the same age and ability. Why would they spend hours arguing about the rules when a paid, adult referee will keep the game running according to the official rules? Why would they play with old sticks and homemade pads when their parents are willing to spend $1000 on the official CCM equipment?

Why? For fun!

Until we can figure a way to get fun back in the game for everyone, Canada will continue to look back on our glory days.

Friday 21 February 2014


I’ve got to be quick tonight because I can hear my bed calling me. That might give you an idea of just how tired I am, I’m having audio hallucinations.

Speaking of audio hallucinations, I received a call from the Audiologist today to set up an appointment to have my hearing tested. What? I thought it was a telemarketer and I was kind of looking forward to being rude to whoever it was. Lucky for me I let her say something before I started ranting about how her mother should be ashamed of her for doing the job she does. Her mom may have hoped that she would be more than a receptionist for an audiologist, but there is no reason for shame.

I had forgotten that my doctor had requested an appointment for me, since it has been three or four months. I don’t even actually need my hearing tested, but the doctor wants me to go to an eye, ear, nose and throat doctor. I was going to type “Otolaryngologist”, but I figured that no one (including me) would know what that was. It seems that to see an Otolaryngologist you first have to see an audiologist, I guess to prove that you are really serious about your ears. It does seem to be something of a Medicare scam, but who am I to question the professionals?

The reason I need to see an Otolaryngologist is that back in October I would have this crinkling in my ears every fifty seconds and for the ten seconds of crinkling I would have vertigo. Even without a medical degree, I knew that something just wasn’t right, hence the trip to the doctor who requested a visit to the audiologist who will I assume decide if I can be admitted into the presence of the Otolaryngologist. I’m kind of getting excited!

Of course the symptoms have long since disappeared. Well, I’m not sure if they have disappeared or I have become so used to them that they are now my normal. I still have my tinnitus, so maybe one of the specialists will be able to give me some advice on how to deal with that. I have had advice, but I’m hoping for better than “Nothing we can do about it. Just live with it.” I do just live with it, but sometimes tinnitus can get worse and drive a person to madness or suicide. There is speculation that many of the people who hear voices are actually suffering from tinnitus.

Joan of Arc is thought to have had tinnitus which became her instructions from God. Now, as cool as it would be to dress in armour, ride a horse and lead an army into a battle for God, I think I would prefer to sit in Tim Horton’s drinking coffee. That is just me being an underachiever I suppose.

I am looking forward to the next three weeks. Normally when I have an appointment with a doctor, my symptoms will disappear and I will be at my healthiest on the day. I’ve been feeling shitty for so long, that it will be nice to feel good, even for an hour or so.

Thursday 20 February 2014


I used to love this time of year. Well, maybe a few weeks from now when spring is just beginning to be sprung, but it’s close enough.
I would love walking to school in the morning after the melt from the day before froze over creating mini ponds of ice that we could slide on. I’d take a run and launch myself across the pond, hoping to make it all the way across, but not too fast. Too fast meant that you would come to an abrupt stop as soon as your boots hit the pavement and possibly flip over. Too slow and you would be tempted to run on the ice and of course land on your ass. Sometimes the guys I walked to school with and I would see who could slide the farthest. No one kept score.
Some of the puddles would have ice over air for some reason and it was just like breaking glass when you walked on it. Without the fear of getting caught breaking glass of course. That was how our road hockey games would always end, with Mr. Findlay running out the door to see whose parents would pay for a new window. Lucky for me I was never good enough to shoot the ball all the way to Findlay’s window.
Often there were icicles hanging from every branch, fence and eavestroughs all the way to school. Sometimes they were only good enough to suck and if you had a vivid imagination, you could pretend they were popsicles. I always had grape. Often you would get an icicle that tasted an awful lot like car exhaust. When we were especially lucky, the icicles would be large enough for sword fights. Of course the fights would only last for one strike, but that didn’t deter us at all, we were pirates!  

When I was by myself, I would stop and look closely at the snow at the side of the road and the sheets of lace like ice that covered them. They were very delicate windows looking out at the world. I never did find out who it was that watched me from behind those windows, but I suspect they thought I was pretty funny looking. Years later, I read a book that told of how mice would have snow tunnels just under the surface that they would use as little mouse highways, out of the wind and cold.
I still think how wonderful it would be to travel along those miceways. I suppose that every now and then you would have to venture into the snow and cold where some clumsy, large person had placed his foot. It wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience, just enough for you to be thankful to the builders of the miceway.

I imagine that there would be larger rooms or way stations every now and then that had seeds and nuts to nourish travellers. Perhaps there would be some straw for sleeping, kind of like a mouse Holiday Inn. The better rooms would have large windows made of ice and every now and then, especially in the morning, there would be a very large, very funny looking being looking in at you.

Yes, this is a magical time of year…

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Banish The Clouds

Did you ever have one of those days when almost everything pissed you off? The only thing worse is when there is absolutely nothing that you can do to change things. Oh well!

First, I woke up late to a phone call. Not the callers fault, I should have been awake at least an hour earlier. To make matters worse, I still have that damned virus with the draining cough and now a new thing; I am stuffed up in the morning. I’m a nice…ish guy and really I have been sick for far too long already. Why not let some real prick get sick? No one would care if the prick got sick; I have a neighbour that I’d be willing to kiss on the mouth if I could be sure he would die a slow, lingering death. Anyways, I’m not going to kiss Bob the asshole, and he such a miserable prick that any virus wouldn’t be able to stand living in his body.

I spent a good part of the morning feeling sick and wishing that there was a magic pill. There isn’t, and I had to go out to return something to the library or else I’d have to pay the fine. The weather isn’t bad, but I still had chills even all bundled up. I don’t know what the problem is this year, but for some reason the people of Calgary have forgotten how to park cars in a shopping centre lot, so I considered myself lucky to park at the far end of the lot. My timing was piss poor as the high school had just let out for lunch and I had to manoeuvre around hundreds of laughing, underdressed, healthy, vibrant, loud, obnoxious, junk eating kids.

The high schools in Calgary have taken a stand against serving or having junk food in the schools at all, so the kids just go to the nearest store to fill their needs. I understand the motivation, but it’s like just telling the kids that they should wait until they are married before having sex, except junk food is much easier to get.

My buddy and I save our metal and every six months or so we will take it to a metal scrap yard where they pay cash for it. I don’t have very much, just food cans mainly, but Ken gets all sorts of scrap from his in-laws. It pays for coffee and keeps us focused. Today we were told that they no longer accepted food cans. Are they fucking kidding? Metal is metal isn’t it?  I think that the city told them not to accept cans or they would take all of the recycled metal to another yard. I don’t blame the scrap yard; I’m too busy blaming the city. I was comfortable recycling the old way, but now I have to pay monthly for something I did for free before. Nothing I can do about it except complain.

There were other things, but I’m getting more and more pissed off writing this blog, so I’m just going to hope that tomorrow will be a better day than today. I’m going to the doctor and maybe she will have a magic pill or be able to transfer my virus to some asshole that deserves to be sick. Maybe I’ll win a free coffee at Tim’s tomorrow and it’s possible that I will be able to let a little sunshine into my life and banish the clouds that have been hovering for a month or more. 


Tuesday 18 February 2014


Well, it’s the middle of February and that means “ROLL UP THE RIM” time in Canada. Every year Tim Horton’s will give away free cars, BBQ’s, bikes, coffee for a year and free coffees and donuts. All you have to do is to buy a coffee and when you are done you roll up the rim and see if there is a prize written there.
More often than not, it will say PLEASE PLAY AGAIN, but sometimes you will get lucky and find “Donut” or “Coffee” written there. That’s what happened to me today, I won a donut. I don’t need a donut and more than likely, I shouldn’t be eating donuts, but free is as they say, free.
This year, because it is the 50th anniversary of Tim Horton’s, each cup gives you two chances to win or in my wife’s case, two invitations to “PLEASE PLAY AGAIN”. You can tell it is a Canadian company because we are polite even when you lose. I imagine that in other countries you would get a message like “LOSER” or “HA-HA SUCKER”. Well, actually in most countries they wouldn’t even offer free anything. It is a wonderful marketing strategy that they have come up with. You want to have a coffee and you might just as well get it from the company that may give you a prize.

Years ago when this promotion first began, I would win on at least every second coffee, just a coffee or a donut, but a win just the same. The coffee didn’t cost the company much and the donut was probably not too expensive either. What it did is to build a large number of dedicated consumers that would have their coffee at Tim’s not only during the promotion, but during the rest of the year as well. Now, they seem to have made it more difficult to win a coffee, but I guess like in most businesses, the bottom line is king. Too bad!

Louise wrote the blog last night and I think she did a pretty good job. I was feeling a little over whelmed and decided that there was no reason to write the blog last night. Thanks for keeping it going Louise; I may call on you more often. Maybe I should get Hurricane to write the blog one day soon, that way we could get a six year old perspective on life. Maybe not though.

I would be upset when he became more popular than I am; I wouldn’t be surprised, just upset. I’m going to give him a few more years.

Have a good night and if you live in Canada or a small section of the US, don’t forget to “ROLL UP THE RIM”, you just might get a free coffee, donut or Toyota Corolla.

Monday 17 February 2014

Childhood Memories - Guest Blog – Louise writes tonight

Ken is still feeling under the weather and his head is full of coughs and groans and not too many blog ideas so I thought I would pinch hit for him.

I love to watch shows on home renovation and caught one called “Rehab Addict” where this women fixes up older houses, making them safe and livable while trying to ‘rehab’ the building to its former charm and glory. She does a wonderful job and the houses are now ready to be homes for some lucky people. The thing that struck me about this house is that she cleaned up the storm windows and added them as a feature to the house.

Because the old houses had single paned windows, in the winter you would put the storm windows up to add a layer of window and air space to try to prevent heat loss over the cold winter months. In the fall you would bring up the storm windows from wherever they were stored, clean them up, re-caulk any panes that needed re-caulking and then attach them to the outside of the house, usually with wing nuts. Then in the spring, the storm windows would be taken down and stored wherever they were stored for the warm months. I remember the ritual of putting them on and taking them off and am ever so grateful for modern windows, where this is no longer necessary.

This set me off to remembering other things that everyone had and almost no one has any more. Percolators for making coffee is what came to mind next. I can smell the coffee as it perks thru the machinery and can still hear the ‘pop pop popping’ as the coffee was brewing and popped in the glass bubble in the top of the lid. You could use the percolator on a wood, gas or electric stove – a coffee maker for everyman. Of course everyman has their own idea of how much coffee one should put in the machine and how long it needs to boil for the perfect coffee. The next step in homemade coffee was the innovative use of the Melitta coffee system where you put a measured amount of coffee into a filter that went into a plastic holder that sat on top of your coffee pot. You boiled water and poured enough water to cover the ground coffee, which foamed up when covered with boiling water. You then had to wait a few minutes while the water filtered down and then you would add more boiling water, washing down the sides of the filter to make sure all of the grounds were covered again. I remember how amazing it was to watch the first time I saw it – even if I did miss the percolator sound letting you coffee was brewing. What a long way we’ve come from percolators to keurig and tassimo machines where you pop in a tiny container full of coffee, push a button and voila – you can have any flavour of coffee you want.

Another thing that brings a smile to my face as I remember is the classic kitchen chair with fold-back stairs. We didn’t have one in our house but most people did and any time we visited a relative who had one, that is where I would head. As I recall, I would fold the stairs out and then would climb up and that the steps would fold back out of the way when not needed. As a child I thought those chairs were magical and I felt so special whenever I sat in one. And of course, whenever I was lucky enough to be sitting in this throne, I was usually treated to a home made treat from our hostess – how could I not feel special! Now people have breakfast nooks with various stools, but none as cool as the ones below!

These are some of my memories – hope they jogged a memory or two in you.


Sunday 16 February 2014


I don’t have a lot to say tonight, so instead of not writing anything, I will just plough forward and make you suffer.

Once again, I just want to mention why I write this blog. For those of you who have read this before, have a good night and maybe tomorrow will be more to your liking. I want to give myself a challenge of sorts every day. I don’t really care if you as the reader enjoy the posts, but I have to be able to enjoy them a year or so later. I am mostly successful, often I will laugh or smile and sometimes I’ll forget that I wrote the blog and really get into it. I have tried to make most of them interesting (to me) and hopefully informative.

One of the regrets of my life is that I never really got to know my grandmother, my father or my mother as people. I was the grandson or son and there was a line never to be crossed even when I became an adult. I suspect that it was a line that I drew myself, but it was there none the less. I don’t know if any of them kept a diary or a journal, but it was never passed down if they did, so all I know of them is from my rapidly fading memory. My children have even foggier memories of their grandparents and the great grandchildren have no memory at all.

This blog is for my kids and my grandkids and really anyone else that happens to know me or gets to know me through the blog. I suspect that some psych student would be able to draw a pretty in depth picture of who I am. I have kept copies of all the blogs on a memory stick which hopefully won’t be tossed out with all of the other trash that I have collected in my life. I doubt that anyone will continue to pay for the blog once I’m dead and gone. In the years after I have gone, the kids can read over a thousand blog entries if the get melancholy or just have some time to kill.

I don’t think the grandkids should read any of this until they are in their teens, but that will be up to their parents.

Every now and then I get a spam comment saying what a great blog this is and that I should install a “DONATE” button. Sure, I like money as much as the next guy, but it would carry more weight if it weren’t coming from a guy whose website is Others compliment me on the web design which is one of the basic Blogger designs that anyone can use. I am suspect of these people. Maybe I am just paranoid.

It is fun for me to see that people (or computerized spam programs) from all over the world have read the blog. People from most countries of the world have stumbled upon this blog in the past three years, which is pretty cool.

I’ll keep writing for the reason I have mentioned, but I won’t give advice to others who want to start a blog (I don’t trust their motives) and I won’t monetize this unless I think I can actually make some folding cash. I’m a long way from there.

Keep reading

PS        To Hurricane and Tornado, I wish I could be there in person with you while you are reading, but in a way I’ll always be there with you and yes, this is partly why you are the way you are. Sorry!