Saturday 31 October 2015

Fish Urine

I don’t spend my time asking people just how they clean themselves. Perhaps someone should though and it might be an idea to license people so that everyone would have a basic standard of cleanliness. It wouldn’t be hard to enforce, the Klean Kops would just have to spend their days on the bus, in elevators or the subway. Pretty much any enclosed area would do.

I am not sure what they would do when confronted with someone that emanates a toxic aura. They could carry one of those large weed sprayer backpacks filled with some kind of chemical deodorizer and hose the offending person down. That might be a little much. Perhaps a couple of squirts with “Ocean Fresh” Fabreeze would be a good temporary fix. I was in a store recently, waiting in line behind a gentleman that had probably never been introduced to a bar of soap. I suppose this guy might have an allergic reaction to soaps, perfumes, toothpaste, mouthwash and laundry detergent.

I accept a certain odour from people who have been working all day whether in an office, warehouse or on a job site. Sweating is the way we humans cool off our bodies and very few of us have pleasant smells. There is some research that states we are sexually attracted by people whose pheromones somehow interact with our own. I can buy this. We make all sorts of allowances when we are in love, even with stinky people.

I have probably mentioned this before, but I have a theory about washing. People who work for a living clean themselves immediately after work. They are dirty and have been sweating all day and really need to scrape some of that off in the shower. People who spend their days working in an office rarely work up a sweat or get their clothing dirty, really dirty, not “I got toner ink on my dress” dirty. Office workers have showers in the morning to wake up and get presentable for the day ahead. Of course there are those who have a nice, long, hot bath to ease away the aches and pains of life. I am not sure where wine and candles fit in, but I am told that they do.

In my life I have done all of the cleaning I have mentioned. I would shower after a particularly hot, dusty day of pounding the streets. It would tend to refresh me and keep me from the afternoon “power nap” that I liked so much. I don’t really get very dirty any longer now that I am retired. I have a shower in the morning to wake up and to assure myself that I won’t offend anyone in the grocery store line.

I could go days without cleaning myself if I lived in Hawaii and had the opportunity to spend an hour or two in the ocean every day. Well, maybe a shower to wash the ocean off of my body, but to tell the truth, I kind of like the smell of salt and fish urine.

Friday 30 October 2015


Here we sit on the eve before All Hallows Eve. When I was younger and living in Toronto, this evening was for planning the optimum candy collecting route. Oh, and fine tuning that costume of the hobo or businessman. I could use the same old suit coat of dad’s and depending which I was I would need a stick with a handkerchief tied to the end or a briefcase. I liked being a hobo more.
When I moved to Calgary there were a few differences in how Halloween was carried out. The night before Halloween is/was referred to as “All Devils Eve”. This was the night when teenaged trouble makers would go out and tip over out houses, empty the garbage cans, soap car windows, toilet paper the neighbourhood trees and throw eggs at the houses of people who needed it. In Toronto, we combined the two activities into one night, and to tell the truth collecting the candy was far more important than causing trouble. We had our priorities right and didn’t risk getting in trouble and possibly grounded on one of the more important nights of a kid’s year.

We looked forward to the first Halloween in our new city. We were adults in a new apartment and we spent a small fortune on candy to hand out to the cutest ghosts and goblins we had ever seen. In Toronto when a kid came up to the door he/she would shout out “TRICK OR TREAT”. Some people would make the kids do a trick of some kind, but I thought that a little cruel. Kids don’t want to interact with you, every second they spend talking to you is a second less spent candy collecting. That first Halloween in the prairies the kids came to the door and cried “HALLOWEEN APPLES!” What the hell did that mean? I understood that I was supposed to give them candy, and I did, but what was with the apple thing? Neither Louise nor I figured it out. Well, she may have but didn’t share it with me. I just chalked it up to a history of poor farmers that couldn’t afford candy and gave out apples instead. If all they gave out on Halloween was apples, I don’t know why anyone would go out a second year.

Maybe that’s why All Devil’s Eve was a big thing. Might just as well trash some stuff if you were only going to get apples. “Go ahead and ground me, I don’t need a bed full of rotten apples.”

Anyways, I make sure that the gates are locked up, the exterior lights are on and my car is safely parked in the garage. The dog has free run of the back yard and hopefully, the locks, lights and barks will encourage the little bastards to go next door to make trouble.


Wednesday 28 October 2015

On The Bottom

I think I am an okay kind of guy. Mostly.

I keep getting phone calls from people who want to save me money by switching my phone plan, changing the way I pay for my energy, buy a new car with a lower interest rate or get my ducts cleaned. This doesn’t include the people who want to help me with my computer problems that have somehow been detected in far off Sri Lanka. Of course if I subscribe to the newspaper for a year I will get three months free. We just went through an election in which all of the parties running promised that my life will be better in all ways if only I vote for them. I voted for one of the parties and now I get to see just how my life improves.

I don’t understand why any of these people want to go out of their way to help a complete stranger. I don’t personally know anyone at the gas, electric or phone companies who would put my name forward to have a financial helping hand. I sure don’t know anyone in Sri Lanka that is willing to fix that pesky computer if only I provide some personal banking information to them. I used to love watching the TV show “The Millionaire” where every Monday night at 7:30 a deserving person or couple would be given $1,000,000 provided that they make no mention of how they came into the money. I always suspected that it was drug money that needed to be laundered and the crime lords just didn’t want the IRS to find out what was going on. It was a nice show and of course I wanted to be the recipient…just once. Oh, it was pretend of course.
I never have had a million dollars handed to me by a stranger. Now, the lottery has made the idea of getting a paltry million dollars laughable. It’s $55,000,000 for me or nothing! Okay, I’d take a hundred and thirteen bucks gladly.

Maybe it’s me, but I am very suspicious of people wanting to help me. I shouldn’t be, because I would gladly help anyone that I know. I have helped people move, build fences and decks, watch children, loan tools and I have given an untold amount of advice over the years. If it is in my power, I will help pretty much anyone. However, I have never called anyone randomly and offered to fix their computer. I have offered to help Gordie, but he is a bonehead and alas there is just no help for someone like him. What I am trying to say is that if you are a friend and need help, I am here. If you are a stranger and need help, I might be here. If you are someone that is running a scam that will put my money in your pocket, then you can go fuck yourself.

I always automatically think the latter. I was born to be on the bottom of the pyramid and so were 99.9999% of the world’s population. All you have to do to get along is be nice and help your friends and neighbours if they need it. It isn’t so bad on the bottom as long as you remember that.

Image result for pyramid workers

Monday 26 October 2015

Rest Easy

Here we are creeping up on Halloween the time when we embrace the dead in the form of ghosts and ghoulies of every description. The roots are metaphysical and retain little of that deeper meaning for most of us in today’s world. Today Halloween is about decorating, dressing up and giving candy to little kiddies. In my mind that is the way it should be.

Of course we should remember those that went before us and hopefully learn from their lives. I, like most everyone, remember my dead often and wish there was some way to communicate with them. On my terms of course, I think I would shit myself if the spirit of my dead father or mother appeared before me in a ghostly state. Very likely, my heart would stop and I would be able to spend endless eons with them. I think I should just cherish the memories and leave it at that.

When Louise was a little girl her family lived on a dead end street. At the end of this particular dead end street there happened to be a graveyard. In her child’s way of looking at the world this made a lot of sense and she thought that every dead end street ended at a graveyard. If the world made sense that is exactly the way it would be.

We had occasion to go to a graveyard when we were visiting Toronto earlier this month. We took the opportunity to peel the years of overgrown grass and leaves from Louise’s mom and dad’s stones. We cleaned them as well as we could and took a few minutes to commune with their spirits. Personally I doubt there were any spirits there, but there was something that commanded reverence. I had the feeling that respect was earned by those whose remains filled and respect is the way you should behave.

In Calgary there is a field of crosses that is erected along Memorial drive a few weeks before Remembrance Day. Every year it grows in size and this year there are 3200 crosses with the names of veterans that have given their lives. When you walk among the names of those brave men and women you can’t help but feel the same reverence there is in any graveyard. I know that there are no remains under the crosses, but I felt the same as I did when we were at the cemetery in Toronto. It is respect I suppose.

This year I plan to spend more time walking in cemeteries, looking at the names of the people entombed there and the dates when they walked the earth. Some had lived long and prosperous lives and some had barely lived at all. Some lived lives that made the world a better place and some made it a worse world I guess. Good or bad, they all ended up underfoot and the world grew up over them and continues to do so.

I hope that they approve of how the world has grown and they can rest easy.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Friend From The Hood

I don’t think I am a lot different from most of the people living on the planet. Out of seven billion I figure that 6,998,999,997 people are more or less just like me. That small percentage that aren’t like me are those super successful people that use their time wisely and think things through before they act. You might call them the yeast that keeps society growing. We need them, but you don’t want them as friends.

I live my life for the most part in a relatively small area that circles my house. I worked pretty close, I buy my cars and have them serviced in the neighbourhood, I shop pretty close by, the kids went to school close by, my friends all live in the neighbourhood for the most part. Yes, there are exceptions but my comfort zone is pretty close to home, maybe a few square miles. I have friends that have moved away, and now they are Christmas card and facebook friends. There are some stores that I like to go to that are in a different part of the city and my doctor and dentist are both twenty minute drives away. I can’t seem to make them understand that it would be advantageous for them to move their practices because it would be better for me. Some people are just inflexible.

This weekend, I drove my son and his wife to a wedding that was in the far southern end of the city. In the old days it would have been two or three days travelling on horseback and at least a week by foot to get there. When we arrived in the general vicinity, they needed a coffee. Why they needed a coffee I don’t know, but need one they did. I pulled into a shopping plaza that I had never been in before and watched people as they went about their business.

I have a theory that people in more affluent parts of the city dress better to go shopping. For the most part the people in my area can wear baggy sweat pants, stained, dirty t-shirts and worn out runners or flip flops. There is a mall near my dentist that I always feel underdressed in. I suspect that the women plan their shopping for just after getting their hair, nails and botox injections. Their clothing is freshly pressed, clean and is co-ordinated. In my area “freshly pressed” refers to sitting on your pants to get the wrinkles out of your ass.

This particular plaza fell somewhere in the middle. I wouldn’t have felt under dressed or over dressed. I was underdressed, but I doubt anyone would have made a comment. I may take Louise down their sooner rather than later just to check out some of the stores and there happens to be an IHOP just down the road. I don’t have to dress up or comb my hair, but I probably will and I just may trim some of those stray hairs that stick out from the beard. Louise always looks nice so she won’t be a problem.

No way am I taking my friend from the hood, he would embarrass me.

Friday 23 October 2015

Early Morning

There is something intriguing about being awake when most everyone else is sleeping. It is like having a great secret all to yourself. Even if you tell someone how wonderful it is, they look at you like you are crazy.

I like to be up very early in the morning, it feels like there are endless possibilities stretched out in front of me. Today anything can happen. I suppose that has been true for everyday in the past, but there is nothing I can do about the past and a lot I can do about today. Even if I don’t do anything today, at this time tomorrow it is past and there is nothing I can do to change it. See, everyday is new and my options are varied and plentiful.

This morning I awoke around five o’clock. I have no idea why I woke, whether it was the furnace starting, a loud truck driving down the alley or one of my particularly loud snores. Whatever the cause, my eyes began staring at the darkened room which was lighted by the numbers on the alarm clock. Normally the numbers don’t seem so bright, but to eyes that have been derived of light for seven or eight hours the room was quite visible.

Random thoughts began entering my head. At first it was ‘why am I awake?’ but since there was no answer forthcoming, my brain started to move in other directions. The weather will be turning cooler in the next few days so today is the final harvest day for the carrots and potatoes. I should have done it yesterday because I could have gotten rid of the yard waste since today is garbage day. With the weather change there is a very good possibility for rain and or snow. That means I should get out the ladder and do a final clearing of the eaves. There have been leaves falling and blowing off of trees for the past month or so and I don’t want clogged eaves. Who does?

If I am talking about final for the season, I should do a final pass with the lawn mower just to get all of those blades of grass to the same height in order for them to have an equal opportunity to grow next spring. It is already too late for spreading fertilizer, well, that is what I am telling myself anyways. I should put the lawn chairs in the shed so that they don’t deteriorate any more over the winter. If they do, Louise will want to pick up new ones next spring and that can only cost money.

I decided that I will have too much to do to go on a bike ride with my buddy this morning. He likes morning rides so that he can get stuff done in the afternoon and I like to ride in the PM so that I can work in the morning when I am fresh and have a certain amount of energy. Today there will be no ride probably.

We have little Tsunami this weekend while her mom and dad get to go to a wedding. I have to prep the house for her arrival. She is never very critical except when it comes to her food, comfort and conditions in general. I need to dig out the playpen and find a bunch of stuffed toys for her to play with. Oh yeah, I need to move breakable or dangerous things at least three feet off of the ground. I should make sure there is a clean floor to play on and that all doors are safely secured.

Looks like it might be a busy day, I guess it s time to get out of bed and get at it…

Thursday 22 October 2015

Doomed To Die

We are all doomed to die.

From the moment of our conception we start the long, slow process of death and decay. That is the cornerstone of life. I could be wrong about the timing, but death is definitely in my future and yours. Hopefully, it is a long way in time away from this particular instant.

I am certainly closer to death than birth and surprisingly, I am just not that bothered by it. Oh, I have no intention of going very early but go I will eventually. I received an email from one of my cousins catching me up on what is going on in the family. Her dad passed away last year at 95 years of age and his sister is still going strong at 95. Well, perhaps “going strong” just means vertical and breathing. I like the idea that somewhere buried deep in my DNA there is a strand that says “Give this guy another thirty years or so.” The idea of collecting my pension for that long gives me a warm feeling inside.

The longevity picture isn’t all positive though. My dad passed away when he was 73 and theoretically his chances for a long life were equal to his two siblings and his mother who lived into her nineties. I guess luck has a little to do with it.

Dad passed 18 years ago today. This is traditionally a morose kind of day for me. I can still remember my boss finding me on the street and telling me that I had to go home right away. I wanted to finish my work but he insisted I go home. He didn’t tell me why, but I suspected that I would get sad news when I arrived home. I thought that my mom had passed since she was the sickly one. Fate had different plans though.

I often find myself wishing that dad was here still. He would have loved Hurricane, Tornado and Tsunami so very much. He would have laughed with me when I told him what they had been up to and he would have shared my pride at what wonderful children I have raised. It is all due to him really. He is the standard I have for being a good father. If the kids ever want to thank anyone for the people they are, it is due in a large part to my dad.

I don’t believe there is a Heaven. I wish I did. Nothing would be better at the moment of my death than to be greeted by dad and welcomed into the afterlife. He would be able to tell me that he had kept an eye on me and mine ever since he passed. He could say that I had done a fine job and should be proud of the life I have lived. That would make me pretty happy.

I think that for today I will pretend that there is an afterlife and I will get to hear him laugh once more and see him smile. If I can for a moment believe in that pleasant afterlife, then I don’t mind being doomed to die.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

I Am Still Here

I'm still here, I just don't have the drive to write anything. 

Tomorrow for sure...

Maybe the next day...

No, for sure tomorrow.

Sunday 18 October 2015

The First Day

I don’t stay in hotels as often as I would like, yet it seems that I have been in far too many recently. By recently, I mean in the past few years.

We have been on vacation in various places and in those places we have stayed in motels and hotels. For the most part they have been clean and well looked after. They are generally pretty small and although they have everything that we needed, it was …compact. Compact can be good, but I like to spread out. I like to bring far too much stuff and distribute it around the room to make it feel like home.

It never really does though. Perhaps that is why I start the countdown to return home on the first day. “Fifteen days till I get home.” “Fourteen days till I get home.” “Thirteen days till I get home"...etc. You get the idea. Counting the days left makes the time away a little easier to take and I know that soon I will be back in my comfort zone.

Perhaps that’s why I pick up little mementos along the way from as many stops as I can. I will pick up a local map of the area at a rest stop even though I have no intention to ever explore the area. I like to pick up cheap t-shirts with the name of wherever I happen to stop, ticking off one more leg of the journey. On our latest trip I picked up a small piece of string when we stopped to take a photo entering a new state. One step closer.

Every hotel I will always pick up what ever I can. I bring home the key cards for the room and the cardboard holder they come in. I grab a soap and or shampoo as a reminder. Usually neither is very good, but it will do in a pinch and when I use it at home I remember the good times about the trip. I take a lot of pictures generally. Lately however, I haven’t taken as many and I just don’t know why. Maybe, somewhere deep down inside I know that I will rarely, if ever, look at them again.

I have little bits and pieces of everywhere we have gone to. Most of it is uncatalogued and sitting on a dresser in my bedroom. The only time I look at it is when I am looking for something that has gone missing or if I am packing to go on yet another trip. Maybe it’s the bits and pieces that carry significance for me. Maybe at some future date I will tell the great-grandchildren of the places I have seen by showing them a dried up piece of soap, a piece of string or some foul smelling lotion.

The memories are the things that stay with me though. Mostly the good ones, but if there is a really bad memory then I suppose that would be there too. Lucky for me I have no really bad memories. I find that as time passes the trips or the memory of them changes and I actually look forward to going away again. That is the thing about good memories, you want to repeat them. “Sure, another trip sounds like a great idea…”

Until the first day, or as I like to call it “Fifteen days till I get home…”

Friday 16 October 2015

The Loser

I spent a fascinating three hours today in training for my work on October 19th as a Deputy Returning Officer for the long anticipated national federal election.

I had applied earlier for work on the election, but for whatever reason I wasn’t selected. My buddy and Louise were, and after the first little bit of disappointment I was kind of looking forward to a quiet, relaxed day while my lovely wife worked enforcing the democratic process. I thought that listing things that indicated I was a good, productive and contributing member of society was the way to go. Who wouldn’t want an upright citizen that volunteered with kids sport and Scouting for many years? Turns out that Elections Canada had different criteria in mind.

Louise went for her training and when she came home she said that they were still looking for people to work the election. Yayyy??? She told me not to put the same lame shit down this time, but to talk about years of service delivering mail, being bonded and passing numerous security checks. I was called about an hour later. I hate being wrong when I know I should be right!

Today I and about twenty others were sworn in as elections officials. A sorrier bunch of reprobates you’ve ever seen in one room. One of the guys was a chain smoker and said that he could go 14 hours without a smoke no problem. Sure, if he were being held in solitary confinement. He would know. I’m sure that several of the people couldn’t read or write but were pretty good at making X’s. Two of the guys there were twitchy drug user types and were looking forward to getting enough cash for a hit or two. One of the women was bored from the first minute and when the instructor mentioned there would be a break midway, she got up to leave. She heard “break” and figured that was it.

I’m pretty sure I can do the job just as long as there are no real complications. If someone comes in with a mask on, as long as they have two pieces of ID then they can vote. Anything really serious and I just refer them to the person in charge. This should be pretty easy, and I think I should get a lot of reading in.

My biggest worry is that when I tear the ballots out of the book I will destroy the ballot. If I ruin enough ballots, I have no idea what I have to do. Do I get more? Do I have to tape the wrecked ones back together? Will I still get paid?

I am sure that this is a pretty mindless job. Well, it should be judging by the losers I took my training with and the loser they took their training with.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Empty Box

I spent most of my adult life delivering mail, magazines and unwanted junk mail to the households on my route. I loved my job most days. Rainy days I liked a little less and those -40°C snowy, stormy days were the worst. For the most part the weather was controllable with the proper clothing and a good mental attitude.

I liked most of the people that I worked with. It helped that I only spent an hour and a half to two hours a day with them. For some of them, an hour and a half to two hours was and hour and a half to two hours too long. There were some mighty big assholes working at the Post Office. I’m sure that someone, somewhere is writing the same thing in a little unknown blog but he is referring to me. See what I mean about big assholes?

I retired just as the Post Office was making major changes to the way Canadians receive their mail. I never have liked change and from what I have heard and seen, I would not have liked these changes. I am not in any position to know what is best for the Post Office and Canadian mail delivery; hopefully much brighter people than I have given it a lot of thought.

I received a notification in the mail today that as of Oct. 30th my mail will no longer be delivered to my door. I will have to walk a half block to a Community Mail Box with a key to get it. I really have no problem picking my mail up, but the way I look at it there will be a lot fewer good jobs in the country come Oct 30th. I guess that is what the kids call “Progress”.

I suppose that what does bother me is that the job I spent 30 years doing in the sun, wind, rain and snow has changed. If I had stayed, I would have been replaced with an empty metal box.

I am really glad that no one thought of this earlier.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

They Deserve It

I am not really a sports fan. To be fair, I ignore all sports equally as a general rule.

When I was visiting relatives in Ontario who are sport fans, I spent time with them watching the Blue Jays win their division/league/ title/cup//ERA/RBI’s or whatever it was that led them to jump around spilling perfectly good champagne. I have to admit that the games were exciting and perhaps in another life I will become a big fan. You know that life where I have even a modest amount of ability and an equal amount of competitive drive.
 Image result for blue jays win today
It was a lot of fun spending time with them trying to figure out why things are done the way they are done and not a sane way. I couldn’t very well ask questions even little kids know the answer to. Most of the time, I would smile and take my cues on cheering from the others in the room. Like I say, it was fun.

Surprisingly, I also was introduced to another sport that Mike and Sharon have just taken up. Lawn Bowling. Yes, I know what you are thinking, but it is a lot more involved than you might think. There are a slew of rules, most of which make sense when put in context. There are some that seem to be hangovers from days gone by when the world was a more mysterious and regulated place than it is now. The balls (bowls) aren’t even round! Mike and Sharon are having a great time and this is just their first year. Of course they have that competitive drive and more than a little athletic ability.
Oh well, next life I suppose.

Back to baseball. I found myself sitting in front of the TV cheering the Blue Jays on to win the best of five series. It was an exciting game and the seventh inning in particular will be one for the record books. Listen to me being all sporty and everything.

Ah well, soon I will return to normal; hopefully after the Jays win the World Series.

They deserve it!

Toronto deserves it!

They should at least have one winning team to make up for the pathetic showing the Leafs give year after year for the past 48 years.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Running in the Black

For those of you that live in a country other than Canada, we are having an election. The vote is in a week’s time and I am optimistic that the guy we have as Prime Minister and the party he heads up will be licking their wounds and wondering what happened and why no one loves them any longer. That is what I hope. What will more than likely happen is that we will have a minority government which will be toppled in a few months once again taking us on an expensive trip to the polls. Such is life.

I have often wondered why anyone would want to be a politician in this day and age of media scrutiny and dirty tricks. I understand what motivates someone to enter politics at a local level; they wish to effect a positive change in their community. Maybe they do a good thing and maybe they don’t for some reason. Perhaps they will be happy making lives better for their neighbours and friends. Too often however, they set their sights higher and higher, moving into provincial and then federal politics. To make a better world…

I am reading a book that involves the physical domination of one person over another. I find it disturbing, compelling but disturbing. The desire for power over another or group of others seems to be a driving force. We have all met people like this in various degrees during our lives. The bully at school, parents, older brothers, spouses and bosses at work. Most of the time we are being told what to do because something needs to be done and someone needs to tell us to do it. That is right and normal.

There seems to be a point where it is no longer helpful information that is being passed, but abuse of power. There are good bosses and bad bosses, the bad ones like to throw their power around and force the employees to their will. Sometime (often) they are wrong but end up blaming an underling for the error. Someone like that can cause a toxic atmosphere and make going to work an unpleasant experience.

The party in power here is causing that toxic atmosphere and have been for a number of years now. There seems to be a culture of lies or misinformation but it is always possible that I just don’t see their vision.

What bothers me and makes me wonder is why anyone would spend $1,000,000 to get a job that pays $175,000 per year. I will freely admit that I don’t understand high finance and my math skills leave a lot to be desired. However, I do understand pay cheques and basic addition and subtraction. Something just isn’t right. If you spend $1,000,000 then you expect to get at least $5,000,000 back. In politics that translates into selling influence and giving your “backers” lucrative government contracts. Of course when you have finished your political career you will be given a seat on a corporate board or ten as a reward for services rendered.

I could be wrong. Perhaps they just don’t get how money works, that would explain why governments are so bad at running in the black.

Sunday 11 October 2015


I’m glad that I wasn’t born a turkey today. Actually, when I think about it I don’t believe I have ever wished I was a turkey. Why would I?

Perhaps in times gone by, before the advent of Thanksgiving or Christmas and New Years feasts it may not have been an issue to be a large, more or less flightless bird. I think they are flightless…they can’t fly can they? Sure they would be hunted by man and beast while in the wild, but back then it was a numbers game. There were far more birds than hunters and the chance of attracting an arrow or thrown stone would be relatively small.

That all changed of course when instead of a turkey being one of many options that a hunter would go after at this time of year, it became the only desired meat. I’m sure that cattle and pigs breath a sigh of relief when Thanksgiving roles around. I can’t imagine the millions and millions of turkeys that are having bread crumbs shoved in places bread crumbs should never be shoved, today and tomorrow. I can smell the turkeys baking in my mind right now.

We are having a smallish roast tomorrow since there will just be the two of us. Potatoes, carrots and onions from the garden will also be on the menu. In the past we have bought a turkey breast and cooked that with stuffing and all the fixings. There was still a lot left over, not as much I will admit, but just enough. I am glad there won’t be an obligation to eat until I can’t eat any more. I have been thinking I should lose weight and binge eating doesn’t fit into my plans.

A number of years ago a guy I worked with, John L, raised about thirty turkeys to sell to friends and family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a weird way to make some extra spending money, but he was a farm boy and I guess his mind just worked that way. The first year he sold out, but the process of killing the birds, plucking and gutting them proved to be really time consuming. The second year he took the birds to the Hutterite women who killed, plucked, dressed and flash froze the birds for five dollars a bird. That was a great deal, and if I ever decide to raise turkeys, I will definitely approach some Hutterite women.

Just want to wish those that celebrate Thanksgiving a good day of feasting and an enjoyable time with family. Have a second helping for me… 

Saturday 10 October 2015

Human Scavenger

I have been a little too trip-tired for the past few days to write much of anything and to tell the truth I just woke from a very pleasant afternoon nap. It was reminiscent of the naps I would have in the afternoons when I was working on a warm, sunny fall day. Those were good days.

Louise and I went downtown to donate blood today, she has donated 64 times and today was my 75th donation. I don’t do it for the lapel pins; I do it for the cookies!

On the way home we were driving along a one way street when a young man carrying a small bag bolted across the road in front of us. I figured that he was trying to catch a bus, but commented that someone should stop that guy. We drove a little further and saw that there were indeed some people chasing him. I suppose that he did a snatch and grab on some poor woman’s purse while she was doing her Saturday morning grocery shopping. It happens all the time I suppose, but thankfully (touch wood) it has never happened to me.

The words “scumbag”, “asshat” and “waste of flesh” were bandied about for a few minutes and then we focused on the news and weather for the day. I came home, raked some leaves, cut the grass on the back lawn and Louise and I went to the advance poll to vote for the candidate of our choice. All in all, it was a pretty normal Saturday afternoon.

My thoughts keep going back to that young man running across the street with the woman’s purse. I’d like to think that a series of negative life situations had brought him to the point where he felt forced to grab that particular purse. There have been times when I might have taken the “easy” way out of my situation, but generally I have been lucky in my life.

Of course, this could just be a dirt bag that is too lazy to work and feels that the world owes him a living. It is easier to steal from the helpless than show up five days a week to do a job that seems meaningless. The job isn’t meaningless if you feed yourself and put a roof over your head. It isn’t meaningless if you can look in a mirror and feel that the world is a better place with you in it. It isn’t meaningless if your parents can think that they did a good job raising a fine boy. It isn’t meaningless if your little child thinks that someday they want to be just like you.

He was probably just a human scavenger that lives on the edge of society, preying on the unsuspecting and taking advantage of opportunities like an unguarded purse in a shopping cart. I would have been doing society a favour if I had put my foot to the floor and created some road kill. Nah…then someone working at a meaningless city job would have to scrape the scum off the street.

Thursday 8 October 2015


Thirteen hours of driving and I really, really, really hate to drive.

I will work extra hard tomorrow.

No...I promise!

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Under The Circumstances

I am perched with one cheek on a motel bed and the cheek and other leg dangling off the edge. Surprisingly it isn't as uncomfortable as it sounds. Don't get me wrong, it isn't what you would call comfortable, but it isn't uncomfortable. I have the iPad propped up against a pillow and I have my Bluetooth keyboard sitting on a pillow in front of me. I am starting to feel a loss of feeling in the leg on the bed.

I have never been one of those people who could do their homework just anywhere. I couldn't lay on the floor with binders, paper and pencils all around me in front of the TV or stereo. I couldn't do my work in the cafeteria while everyone was eating, laughing and talking around me. I, unlike Newton, was never able to think or write while sitting under a tree. If an apple had happened to fall it would never occur to me that a scientific principal was involved. I would just start to worry that the next one might hit me. Some people were able to finish a paper sitting in the hall waiting for the class to start. I would be waiting for some opportune catastrophe to happen, preventing the teacher from getting to the class on time.

I needed a quiet place without any distractions. I still do. I don't have a place like that and never did have, but I come pretty close. When I was a kid I had my little room with a desk with a mirror in front of it. I suppose that mom felt the mirror was a design feature that I just couldn't live without and heavens forbid if Better Homes and Gardens came to do a photo spread someday. The mirror was a distraction, hence the bad marks. Have you ever heard a mirror blamed for poor grades in school before? Well, now you have!

I the room that I write in at home, there is just the computer and a blankish wall to distract me. Well, there is a TV and a whole house of shit that needs doing, but for some reason I am more than able to ignore any housework. It is as good as it will ever get I suppose.

What I am trying to get at is that I won't be able to be creative under these travel circumstances. I should just wait till I get home tomorrow night, but then I am bound to be exhausted after the long drive and there just might not be a blog tomorrow.

My leg is now completely asleep and it should make Louise smile as I limp around the room with pins and needles in my foot. I aim to please. this is the best I can do under the circumstances.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

No Blog Tonight

No blog tonight, I am watching shit TV and sitting on the bed in our non-smoking room that is actually a smoking room. This kind of sucks, but when you are tired from driving all day it just doesn't matter that much.

1190 miles to go...

Monday 5 October 2015


This has been the first day of our return journey. The visit was lots of fun and well worth the effort involved.

We struggled to get across the river of insanity called the McDonald Cartier Freeway, Highway of Heroes or 401. I am sure there are some intelligent people that can come up with a reasonable solution that will move people quickly and efficiently. Well, truly all that I care about is getting those thousands of cars out of my way.

Until that day comes when some idiot savant clears up the traffic woes of Canadas biggest city I have taken action. I will put twenty one hundred miles between myself and that highway. Sure, it’s a stop gap measure but it should work.

We made a pit stop to visit an old friend in Kitchener for an hour or so and then got back on the road. It was a too short visit, but I suppose it was better than nothing. Two or three hours later we crossed the US – Canada border at Sarnia. There we met the nicest US Customs officer we have ever met. You couldn’t say that he was a nice human, just that he was a nice…ish for a border guard.

There is a town in Michigan called Frankenmuth. Am I the only one that thinks that’s a stupid name for a town? Anyways, in Frankenmuth there is a place called Bronners Christmas Wonderland. I figured that it was going to be just another Christmas store like I had seen before many times. It wasn’t. I was lost four or five times and if not for friendly sales staff I would still be there. I really couldn’t it justice, you need to see this place for yourself.

If you are ever near Flint Michigan, just take I75 north towards Saginaw and head west at Bridgeport. Follow the signs and when you see the twenty foot Santa, you have arrived.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Same Old Same Old

Last day of our time in southern Ontario.

It has been a good time overall and I will miss the friends and family when we are once again in big sky country. There are a few regrets, some from what was left undone and some from what was done. All in all though we have had a good time.

I am looking forward to getting home to the same old same old, and you will get to read the same old same old as well.

See how everything will work out?

Saturday 3 October 2015

A High Tech Ear Trumpet

Last night I attended the 50th Reunion Pub Night of my high school.

How was it? Loud, interesting and just about what I came expecting. I didn't know most of the people that were there because they had either graduated after I did or they simply weren't people I spent any time with. I was mistaken for someone that played guitar in a band back in the day which was pretty cool. It became less cool when I had to keep denying that it wasn't me.

"No, I wish!"

"I know it was you, you played the guitar with Brian and Steve!"

"Nope, I never learned how to play."


"I wish I had, but since my friends all played guitar really well I never felt the need. The girls were there at the parties so I never had to put any effort into meeting them."

"I remember seeing you plain as day!"

"Just how many drugs did you do back in the day?"

"You are sure?"

"Sadly, yes..."

It was at this point an awkward silence began and each of us looked at our drinks and eventually he kind of faded back into the crowd. Hmmm...

I talked to my buddies that were there and tried to listen for what they were saying, but as I said, it was really loud and the noise was playing havoc with the words directed at me. I did enjoy greeting a few people whom I haven't kept in touch with, but those were few and far between. I had hoped there would be more of them, but age and apathy kept them away from the affair. I don't really blame them, after all if you have managed to get through 45 years without any contact there just isn't a lot there.

Today was an open house at the school, but I really had no desire to see my old locker or that scratch I put backstage when the bike I was riding crashed. I wasn't much of a joiner back in those days and it appears I haven't changed a lot since then. There has been a horrible accident on the main highway between here and there so the commute would be a bitch.

Besides, there will be another one in 25 years and hopefully by then I will have gotten a couple of new hips, a bionic eye or two and a high tech ear trumpet.

Friday 2 October 2015

A Free "er"

I come from a long line of sea faring people. Some willingly, but I suspect that most of them were pressed into service of King and Country, waking up below decks with a large lump on their heads and the smell of the sea in their nostrils. Being pragmatic people, they made the best of a bad situation and some eventually made a good life for themselves.

Part of being a mariner is that you have to develop a sense of direction. It wouldn't do to sail into those areas of the ocean where monsters lived or God forbid off the edge of the world. Even those ancestors that avoided the press gangs by drinking at home would have had to develop a system of navigating the countryside by either foot or on horseback. I guess my point is that in the ancient world we humans had to find or way through the wilderness quite literally.

I grew up in a city and for the first part of my life I had chauffeurs that answered to the name of mom and dad take me everywhere I needed to go. Later on I walked and rode my bike in an ever expanding world, eventually knowing all the hidden routes to get where I needed to go. Somewhere along the line I developed a pretty good sense of direction, knowing which way was north, south, east and west, even without looking at the sun. I could walk in the deep woods and would always find my way home. Usually without any tears or search and rescue parties.

Recent years have seen a reversal in the inherited ability all those generations worked so hard to develop. Partly that's because I became more sedentary in my lifestyle and partly because my world has developed well defined, relatively smallish boundaries. I do venture forth every now and then, but I come well equipped with directions and maps so that I won't wander into parts of the world with monsters.

Luckily for me the good people at Garmin have come to my rescue. I not only never get lost, but I have an electronic companion who guides me every step of the way. The odd time she gets as confused as I do, but together we have always managed to return home. She will willingly find me the nearest gas station, grocery store and restaurant. The only problem is that I have to know where I am going before I go there which takes the "explore" part out of explorer. That only leaves the "er" and no one ever got anywhere just using the "er".

I guess I could take the "er" and slap it behind "search" or "find" and even "Love". I have a free "er" in my life and nothing but possibilities.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Hawaii It Is

Today we went to the cemetery to visit the final resting place of Louise's mom and dad. We took flowers of course and I spent some time clearing the accumulated dirt, leaves and other debris that has accumulated over the past few years. Although we are aware that there is no essence left there, we were still emotional. Louise due to memories of her mom and dad and I because of all the other people who have been interred here over the years.
My mom is in a wood box that is sitting on a shelf in my basement alongside the ashes of our first dog. The dog I am going to find a place for as soon as I get home, perhaps some farm where he can run all day chasing rabbits. I doubt that my mom would enjoy chasing rabbits and farms don't seem to be her style. Maybe a golf course would be a better place for her ashes to rest. I'll have a few days of highway driving to think it over and perhaps make a decision. Dad donated his body to science and I believe his ashes have been dealt with by the medical school. I should have gotten his ashes years ago, but didn't think of it. I suppose that it is possible that mom took care of him before she passed away.
I'm pretty sure that Louise would like her ashes to be spread on the ocean in Hawaii in a traditional ceremony conducted by a Hawaiian holy man in an outrigger canoe. I wouldn't have a problem going to Hawaii for that reason and I am sure the family would be behind the idea 100%. I doubt that I will be the survivor of the two of us, so that just won't be an issue. I have told Louise that I want my ashes to be put in a geode and placed on Wonder Pass overlooking Marvel Lake. This will involve either a strenuous back packing trip or a helicopter ride. You know, now that I am thinking about it, having the ashes spread on the ocean in Hawaii would be a lot more fun for everyone involved. At the very least they can get a bit of a tan while they are there and perhaps a sandwich and piece of pie at Leoda's.
Image result for leodas
I couldn't help but wonder today about those headstones that I saw in the cemetery. For the most part they are unvisited and untended except by the ground keeping staff. I imagine that for the first decade or two the children will make a trip once or twice a year on the anniversary of the death and may even bring the grandchildren along for the visit. Life gets in the way and eventually another decade passes or two and no one visits the grave any longer. Probably within fifty years no one from the family even remembers where grandpa is interred.

The only one who even looks at the headstone is a guy waiting for his wife who wonders what Joseph Abrams 1905 - 1997 was like. It says on the headstone that he was loved as a husband, father and grandfather. Would anyone ever waste the money to say what an asshole he was? They would probably like to, but just wouldn't. I imagine that Joseph played with other kids, went to school, got a job, married, had kids and did the best that he could to be a good person until time just wore his body down and he died. The kids fought over who should get what and what kind of stone dad would have liked. They should have thought about what I would like to be reading twenty, fifty or a hundred years later. Maybe something like

Joseph Abrams
        1905 - 1997
        So, what are you doing here?
        I have to be here,
        you should go have some fun while you can
see you too soon!

Yep, Hawaii it is.