Tuesday 29 December 2015

Stephen John Harrison

Stephen John Harrison
July 10, 1951  -  December 29, 2015
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die;

Early this morning it was my brother’s time to die. He went out for a walk in the snow to the corner store and then to look at a construction site where he had a massive heart attack and although there was a valiant effort to resuscitate him, he didn’t pull through. I received the call around 2:00 AM that he was in the hospital and by 2:30 he was gone.

I guess I have been in shock because I haven’t been able to sleep since hearing the news. His wife seems to be taking Steve’s death much better than I am. Like everyone that loses a loved one I am thinking of all the times that stand out in my mind about my brother. Good and bad.

Steve was my older brother, the person that I looked up to while I was growing up. I suppose that I wanted to be just like him but that wasn’t really in the plan. I don’t know whether it is because I needed to be different or I knew I could never compete with him on many levels, but we grew up quite different people. He left home when I was 14 or 15 and from that point on we would only cross paths infrequently. Our life choices dictated that we would never meet socially and even when I lived with him the last year of high school, we were more strangers than family.

Years have passed and we both aged. I had a family which took up a good deal of my time and Steve was content with being an absentee uncle. We both had careers, me in the Post Office and Steve worked as a carpenter in the movie industry. There were years when we only communicated through our parents. Neither of us felt a loss.

When dad died, we came together and then again when mom passed away, all we had was each other. Since then, we have been getting closer and closer. I think that both of us mellowed over the years and whatever slights there may have been between us were forgotten. For the past three years of so, Steve and I have been Skypeing and phoning each other on a weekly basis at least. We would talk of our lives and belly laugh at some of the most ridiculous things. We both had a similar sense of humour, a little on the twisted side.

After today, I am alone, the last surviving member from 7 Dalecliff Cres. I hope that I survive for many more years, but when your brother passes, you can see your own mortality.

I wish I had been a better brother. I wish he had been a better brother. I wish we had shared more laughs over the years. I wish we could have been one of those “close” families. I wish Steve had had children so that I could watch them grow into men just like he was. I wish that my memories of my brother won’t fade, but I know they will. I wish that there is a heaven and he can be happy and content just being himself.

I am the person that I am in a large part because Steve was who he was. He was my big brother and I have always looked up to him and probably always will.

I am going to miss you Steve.

Monday 28 December 2015


So, Christmas is over for another year, the radio station that has been playing my holiday favourites since mid November are back to playing the top hits format. Lucky for me I can still get that music on Songza or Jango; for now anyways. The ads for Christmas and Boxing Day have now been replaced by Boxing Week ads and safe and responsible drinking behaviour for New Year’s Eve.

Louise and I hosted our family Christmas dinner yesterday and today I have succumbed to the illness that has been lurking in the background for a few days now. Not really a problem because I really have nothing that needs doing or anyplace that I need to go. All that I have to do is drink plenty of fluids, rest, and take whatever over-the-counter drugs that I think will give me a nice little buzz. It would help if they cured me as well, but the buzz is enough.

I decided today that I am not going to wait until New Years Day to make my resolutions this year. I know what they will be, the same ones pretty much that I made last year and the year before and the year before that. I will try to get in better shape, try to be a nicer person, spend more time on wood working, music playing, and general home upkeep. I will take the dog on regular walks and treat Louise as she deserves to be treated. I will attempt to do more wood working projects with the grandsons so that they will have a head start on something useful in their life. There are other things I need to work on, but they all pretty much fall under the category of self improvement.

The reason I have made the resolutions already is that I have also resolved to see how many will fall by the wayside in the next three days. I’ve never broken my resolutions twice in one year and if I play my cards right there is a very good chance I can make new resolutions on New Years Day after the resolutions of December 28th have been broken. I can see which ones have no chance at all and which ones made it to the third day. This way I can do some quality control on this whole resolution thing.

It could be a stroke of genius!

I guess it could also be just a minor stroke. It could be the fistful of cold medication I just dumped down my throat an hour or two ago. I suppose it is possible that the Paramedics are trying to bring me back and I am having an out of body experience. I hope that if that’s the case, then they are having a good and successful day.

Day one of the next year begins …NOW!!!!

Saturday 26 December 2015

Wait Till You See

Okay, so I went to see the new Star Wars movie "The Force Awakens" today. I suppose that it will be referred to as TFA by all of the geeky fans, so we may just aw well get used to the initials. God knows that these guys are too busy to spend the time saying the actual words. J.J. Abrams should just use initials instead of words for the title for the next instalment and give the geeks something to actually talk about. Once you and your friends have seen a movie 17 or 18 times, there really isn’t a lot to talk about.

I should mention that I am something of a geek too, although I can’t touch some of the fans for craziness.

TFA is a really well done movie and I think anyone would be hard pressed to find anything of import to criticize. Go and see it on a big screen for the first time and when you buy it on DVD you can slow it down and rewind to your hearts content. Personally, I wouldn’t waste the extra couple of bucks for 3-D, but to each his own. I liked it on the regular screen and other movies that I have watched in 3-D didn’t seem to benefit from the treatment. Perhaps in the future the technology will improve.

There was big secrecy of the plot line of the movie before it was released and now that it is in theatres there is still secrecy. NO SPOILERS!!!!! If someone had told me that Jabba was a big slug like creature before I saw the second movie, it wouldn’t have ruined the movie for me. In fact, someone could have told me the entire plot line of this movie and I would have still wanted to see it. There are very few people on the planet that can paint a verbal picture to rival the special effects team at Industrial Light and Magic.

I am looking forward to getting the DVD when it comes out in six months or so. There was just too much going on to absorb it all, but I am far too cheap to shell out any more to see it in a theatre. It might be hard for me to keep the secret, but I will try.

I won’t ruin it for you, but just wait till you see….

Friday 25 December 2015

I Hope I Can Sleep

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, I know that I did.
I was lucky enough to talk to all of my children and spent some time with Hurricane and Tornado. I probably could have waited a day or two for that or at least until the sugar high wore off. We had a wonderful meal at the in-laws and a lot of good conversation as well. This is one of the first Christmases in recent memory that we weren't responsible for the preparation and eventual clean up. It puts the holidays in a whole new light. I just may try to wrangle an invite from some unsuspecting soul next year.

The grandkids had toys that I could barely understand. They were fun, but I suspect the shelf life is pretty limited. There were a couple of toys I wish I had, but I have no use for them and quite frankly, Louise already has one too many useless things in the house. 

Hmmmm...I wonder what she means by that?

Here's hoping that tomorrow is a good and enjoyable day and it leads you to another good and enjoyable day and so on and so on until we meet again next December to do this all over again.

Tomorrow we go to see the new Star Wars movie...I hope I can sleep!

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Just Magical

Okay, just a quick one as I am exhausted from an influx of too much holiday energy. We had a sleepover last night with Hurricane and Tornado. They are always full of energy, but Christmas seems to bring an extra burst. That is as it should be.

We began the night by having them make their own pizzas and after, they had more Gingerbread houses to decorate. Okay, they had more candy to eat. We knew it was foolish, but this is the time of year to push the boundaries of sugary foolishness. We watched a Christmas show and then put them on the long road towards bedtime.

Morning began with two squirmy kids in our bed and a long, rambling story of a dream that Tornado had. I think that the dream was embellished in the telling, but that is what makes a story worth listening to. Breakfast and getting dressed, followed by assembling a couple of Lee Valley Christmas decorations which was more work for me than for them. It was not a really kid friendly project, but what the hell.

From there we went down to the workroom and put the finishing touches on a couple of wooden swords which vaguely resembled the ones carried by the Roman legions thousands of years ago. For some reason, the handles had to be silver and one blade was green and the other blue. Mine is not to reason why… I am aware that swords are not the thing a mom wants her kids to bring home from Poppas, but I also realize that it is the kind of thing I would have liked to bring home. Moms and Poppas have different priorities in life.

After lunch, we suited up and loaded the car with an assortment of sleds, toboggans, flying saucers and crazy carpets. Not so surprisingly, they are the same ones that their mom slid down hills with when she was younger. The boys had a ball and Louise and I enjoyed watching the pure enjoyment brought on when one small boy crashes into another…backwards. It was magic!

I remembered the fun I used to have when I was little, and was sorely tempted to join the fun. Unfortunately my knee was giving me trouble and common sense reared its ugly head. I will live with the memories until the next time.

I have some friends that are living in a snowless environment since they have retired and I totally understand the draw. However, watching Hurricane and Tornado today makes up for a lot of warm weather. I doubt I will feel the same way come February, but with two days till Christmas the warmth of standing on a frozen hilltop watching my grand children laugh while covered with snow is just magical.

They are such good boys, I am sure that Santa will be making a stop at their house come Christmas Eve.

Monday 21 December 2015

A Low Profile

For most of my life I didn’t dream. Well, I did a couple of times a year, but I’d forget the dream within minutes of waking up. I found out that everyone dreams and they dream all of the time. I thought I was just weird, but it turned out that I was dreaming but for whatever reason I didn’t remember them.

I think that maybe I was living the dream… I did and do have a vivid imagination, less vivid now, but maybe that contributed to my not dreaming. Okay, not remembering my dreams. I spent my days wandering the streets delivering mail and I would let my imagination flow. Sure, there was an unusually large percentage of mis-delivered mail on my route, but I generally delivered it to the right address the next day.

One time I was delivering an apartment building door to door and mis-delivered a letter. What normally would happen is that the letter would be sticking out of the mailbox the next day and I would pick it up to deliver to the correct address. Sometimes there would be nothing written on the letter, but more often than not the people would take the opportunity to tell me what an “ignorant, stewped, morin” I was and “wong address”, usually was written in black crayon or marker. I wished they hadn’t written on the letter because it was hard to explain to the owner of the letter. Oh well, if they didn’t like the service, they should use the other Post Office.

I was called in to the regional director’s office one day and the director, some other suit and my supervisor were in the office. I asked them to what did I owe the pleasure of their company? My boss told me that I mis-delivered a letter to apartment 305-75 Morriton Road. I told them that I was sorry, but in my defence there were three apartment buildings on that street, 73, 75 and 77 that had the same apartment numbers and the lights in the hallways had 20 watt bulbs and it was hard to see. I had complained about the situation before. I asked if they could understand how a letter could be dropped in the wrong slot.

They still seemed irritated. My boss told me that he understood the problem, but it wasn’t the first time it had happened. I told him it probably wouldn’t be the last either. He said that 305 had had a government check mis-delivered and then I mis-delivered the letter of apology the regional director had sent out. Hmmmmph!

“Well, I can see how you might be a little miffed…” The regional manager jumped out of his chair and screamed “A LITTLE MIFFED…A LITTLE MIFFED!!! He was turning an unnatural shade of purple and spit was coming out of his mouth with the words.You should be fired right now, but we can’t do that because of the union.”

I smiled and said “You gotta love the union. I will be extra careful about 305’s mail in the future. Maybe you could talk to the super and see if they can put brighter bulbs in the hallways. Sorry for any trouble I caused you.”

With that, I walked out of the office and wasn’t sure if I still had a job. Turns out I did. Nothing was ever said about the incident again, but the regional director didn’t shake my hand the next Christmas and wouldn’t even look at me when we passed each other on the way to the lunchroom.

It is always best to keep a low profile.

Friday 18 December 2015

The Santa Mystery

This came to me on facebook today and it struck a chord. Now, I don’t know where it began or if this Simmons guy actually wrote it. I assume he did, but who knows with facebook. The best part is that I don’t have to write a blog tonight and the two people that read it tomorrow might just enjoy it. Have fun and be Santa.

When I was a kid, I did what all kids eventually do. I figured out that Santa Claus was my parents. One by one, my friends figured it out, too. Some of them were outraged, some disappointed; none were happy about it. Being an odd kid, I was just sort of confused about it, but I kept playing along because the game was fun and I didn’t want to spoil things for my sister. Maybe it was the refusal to resolve the issue, maybe it was the background process in my brain, or maybe it was that Irish trait of being able to happily keep contradictory beliefs going, but I think I made it all the way to my pre-teens, years after figuring out the mechanics of the Santa game, before I worked through the crisis. I’d already been in on the conspiracy for some time, but then one day it occurred to me that Santa is real because we make him real. Then it hit me that parents weren’t just pretending to be Santa Claus - they were Santa Claus! And if they were Santa Claus, it was because they chose to be. They took on the role. And if they can do it... Like a thousand red and green C-9 bulbs flashing on at once, enlightenment came.

I am Santa!

I already had my presents bought and wrapped that year, but I went back out shopping again. I just got a few little extras. I can’t even recall what they were - bookmarks or candy or something. And on Christmas Eve, I waited up, listening for my parents to finish doing their Santa Claus thing. When they went to bed, I crept out to the living room and added my contributions to the stockings, then went to bed myself. Seeing the surprise on Mom and Dad’s faces the next morning was the final initiation. I was Santa Claus!

Flash forward several decades. I got married to a wonderful woman, and eventually we had a daughter - a very smart, observant daughter with a knack for figuring out puzzles. From age 6 or so, I could tell she was getting suspicious. Probably the only reason she didn’t ask the Big Question that year was she didn’t really want to know, yet. All that year, she asked questions about magical and fantastic things, trying to determine their reality. I introduced her to the concept of Mysteries, and explained how some things can be both real and not real at the same time. I joked that I don’t believe in faeries, and they don’t put much stock in me, either. The wheel of the year turned, the Christmas season approached again, and Beth and I figured that this would be the year our girl would finally ask about Santa. Unlike many parents, I was looking forward to it. You see, in addition to being smart, observant, and good at puzzles, she’s very generous and fond of secrets, and I had the perfect Mystery to initiate her into. When the decorations were up and the presents were wrapped and the season was in full swing, she finally asked Beth and me “Are you Santa Claus?”

I said “Yes. And so can you.”

She gave me that “Try making some sense, Dad” look.
“Yes, we are Santa Claus. And now that you know, you can be Santa Claus, too!”

The wheels turned. Some small trace of anxiety fell away, replaced by plans. “So I can put stuff in everyone’s stockings?”


“But you’re not allowed to peek!”

“Certainly not!”

And that Christmas, Santa brought us all a few extra candies and dollar toys and bookmarks. And the world was made richer by one more Santa Claus.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Three Favourite Toes

Just a quick blog about a new pet peeve of mine.

I have been hearing the news people on radio and TV talk about the late autumn snowfall we had last night. In the past few weeks they have been mentioning the unseasonably warm or cold weather for late fall, saying that this kind of weather is more winter like than autumn.

Yes, technically it is still fall until the winter solstice which happens on the 22nd of December. In Calgary it happens at 9:49PM December 21st to be exact. The solstice occurs when the earth is tilted -23.5° away from the sun. That is all fine and good for the weather geeks out there who care about such things.

My point is that unless you happen to live in North Carolina or on Vancouver Island, winter has been around for quite a while. You can tell it’s winter because people are wearing parkas, mitts, scarves and winter boots when they go out to warm up the car. The lines in parking lots are hidden by a layer of snow and there are cars spinning out of control on the highway and ending up in the ditch. Yeah, some morons are still wearing shorts and sandals, but as I mentioned they are morons and it would be a kindness to institutionalize them for the good of society.

Winter is here and has been for a couple of months. It will stay here until March 19th at 10:31 PM. It will be winter here probably well past that date, but by then -15° C will seem to be balmy and we will all be wearing spring jackets and trying to remember where we put our sandals back in September. Well, not the morons, their sandals will be beside the hospital bed, right next to their three favourite toes that are in a jar of formaldehyde.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Orange or Cherry Jello

Every now and then I think that I should spend more time on each of these blogs that I write. It certainly couldn’t hurt, but I am just not sure I want to spend even more time writing this drivel. My son was writing a blog for a while a few years ago and he stopped. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. Granted he is much younger and makes his living being creative with writing, or did at the time. It makes sense.
 Image result for charles dickens
If I could find someone dumb enough to pay me to write, I would never stop. I can remember a Literature teacher telling the class that Charles Dickens was paid by the word which was one reason his books described worlds in painful detail. The other reason is that he was a literary genius of course. I have noticed lately that some of today’s popular writers just seem to churn out book after book. They have found a winning formula that sells and why wouldn’t they make as much as they can, doing what they love to do.

I am confident that most of these authors have a dusty drawer located in an old desk in a back room that is just full of stories that began and ended shortly thereafter. They just weren’t commercial even though they were interesting and challenging to the author. In the past when an author of note passed away, his papers and the contents of that dusty old desk would be donated to a university. The university would find a dusty space to store those boxes of half written ideas and eventually, some grad student would “discover” the papers. He or she would write their masters thesis and quite possibly publish the hitherto undiscovered manuscripts.
 Image result for harper lee
This exact thing recently happened and now we are blessed with a “new” book by Harper Lee 55 years later. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in 1960 the critical and public acclaim and was the last major work by Harper Lee. “Go Set a Watchman” was published in 2015 and is under a cloud of controversy as to whether Harper Lee actually wanted it published or not. It depends on who is talking I suppose. I have read that it is an original draft of Mockingbird, or that it is a sequel which is set twenty years after Mockingbird ends. I haven’t read the book yet and to do it justice I will have to reread “To Kill a Mockingbird” and make my mind up then.

I know that someone other than Harper Lee is making money from the new book and at this point in her life; she is more interested in whether it is orange or cherry jello for desert tonight.

Today’s authors had better hope that their kids don’t toss out those floppy disks and hard drives that are piled in the back of the closet or future grad students will have nothing to do.

Monday 14 December 2015

What Memories Are For

I am an old guy and although there are aspects of technology that I have embraced, it is not something that comes naturally to me. I appreciate the benefit of instantaneous communication with personal cell phones. You can talk or text to your family or friends, you have access to the World Wide Web and basically all human knowledge. Well, except for the stuff that GOOGLE doesn’t want us to see and since we will never see it, we won’t miss it. Right?

What I have trouble with is the why. Why do you want to be available to all of your friends all of the time? Why do you need to know the name of Joan de Arc’s mother, right now? What can possibly be important enough for me to ignore the person I am sitting with for some comment by a celebrity that I follow on Twitter? Why will you ignore a phone call from a parent but take a text from a “facebook friend””

As I said, I have lived on the planet too long for this stuff to make sense to me. When I was growing up, my friends would phone me and I knew that they were at their house and I was at mine. Sometimes my buddy that lived next door to me would call and I told him I would talk to him across the alley. You see, our bedrooms were facing each other and it was a simple matter to open the window for a conversation. I think we actually made tin can phones and stretched the string across the alley so we could talk. Normally though, I would get a phone call and we would arrange to meet somewhere where we could talk or play. I don’t care enough for any celebrity to spend any time following what he or she is spending their millions on. More to the point, why are they wasting their time twittering updates on their lives to complete strangers.

I miss not being able to go to a library and looking up things in an encyclopaedia. You might start reading about Alexander Graham Bell but end up reading about Barnabus, Bats, bloomers, baseball, band saws, Bobby Darin and how the colour blue is made. That might have been because I had difficulty focusing on the task at hand, but it was fun none-the-less. You would learn so much more than you ever intended and looking back, that might have been the intentions of my teachers. Find something this kid is interested in!

I guess today’s equivalent is those highlighted links that lead you to surf around the web. Similar I suppose, but I am old school and in forty years the kids from today will be lamenting having a choice to click on those links. In the future the computer will decide what will pique your interest and switch you there when it senses you are drifting.

Yep, I’m just an old guy wishing he could travel back in time for awhile. That is what memories are for.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

Today is “Decorate a Gingerbread House” day at our place. We invite the grandkids over and their parents to slather icing and candy on some Graham wafer houses I have built. This year we bought a gingerbread Millennium Falcon in honour of the upcoming release of the new Star Wars movie. We also have a traditional gingerbread house that will be decorated and eventually smashed by the grandkids after the next family meal. It is always a fun time.
The whole thing is just an excuse to buy love from Hurricane, Tornado and now Tsunami with more candy than they generally see in one place. It is an interesting study in how kids see the world and how they express their artistic skills. They have very definite ideas about where a red gummi or a candy cane should go on a house. The adults have lived in this world long enough to know that doors need a knob, windows need to be outlined and of course a roof needs chocolate wafer shingles. Maybe that’s just me.

Normally in the past aunt Maegan has been here to help and guide the boys on a sugary trip into home construction. However, she won’t be making it this year so we will somehow have to muddle through without her. Like all good aunts she takes everything the nephews do with a smile and a laugh when I am about to freak out over something inconsequential. Like I say, she will be missed by all of us.

***several hours later***

My stomach hurts! I think I ate just a little too much candy. Five or six pounds too much. Although I am at least twice the man I used to be, it appears that I can’t eat as much as I once could. Hurricane had to miss today due to stomach flu or some other kid related issue. It must have been pretty bad because there was an almost unlimited supply of candy and an activity that cried out for you to taste the building materials. Poppa will make sure that he gets a chance to catch up on being spoiled when he feels better.
There were three small houses, a large house and the gingerbread spaceship to decorate. One of the small ones was set aside, but the rest were coated with royal icing and a large array of candy. Many thanks to Tara, Brendan, Arwen, Louise and of course the stars of the show today…Tornado and Tsunami. I think it was a successful time. The only way to know for sure is if there are people puking in the middle of the night.
Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday 11 December 2015

Permanently Horizontal

Buster and I went out this morning for our daily walk. Well, lately it has been more bi-weekly than daily, but since Buster is a dog and lacks any kind of formal education, I doubt he is keeping score. Its not as if he is one of those dog breeds that can run an obstacle course in 18.3 seconds or even one that can bring you a good stiff drink if you happen to be caught on a mountain in a snow storm. I don’t think he has mental problems, but he is content to chase dream rabbits for most of the day. I guess the human equivalent is reading someone else’s blogs. Just sayin…

The last few times Buster and I have gone on our walks, we have walked by a fenced in sport field. At this time of year there isn’t much happening on the ball diamonds or the soccer fields. Every now and then a lone set of footprints will appear in the snow, some kid on the way to school and taking a shortcut more than likely. A few days ago I noticed a magpie that was hopping around at the base of a pine tree. I thought that he was one lucky bird because Buster would make short work of him if he could get through the fence.

The next day I saw the same bird in more or less the same spot and thought it a little weird. I looked a little closer and the magpie was hopping on just one foot. I guess it may have broken or sprained the leg. I think it is safe to assume that birds don’t have universal medical and besides, all of the good doctor birds have probably gone south for the winter. This guy has a problem!

Buster and I saw the bird again today and it was in the same place hopping around the same tree as the other times we saw him. I can’t imagine there is a lot to eat left. I don’t know why he doesn’t fly to some other location where there might be a little more food to eat. Take off shouldn’t be much of a problem, but I bet landing would be a God awful mess. For sure it would do a face plant and depending on how fast his approach was, he could slam into a wall or a tree trunk.

Hell, he could break the other leg and instead of looking for food, he would become food. Maybe that magpie has given his location some serious thought and decided that he is better off hungry with one leg than dead with none.

This could be one of those smart birds that can fly an obstacle course in 18.3 seconds or even one that can bring you a good stiff drink if you happen to be caught on a mountain in a snow storm. He doesn’t look smarter than Buster, but who knows?

I’ll walk by tomorrow and see if it is still vertical or if it is permanently horizontal.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Seasonal Tasks

This is the 9th of December and Louise and I have pretty much got Christmas in the sack. Cards are out, gifts bought, parcels mailed, cookies and gingerbread houses are well on the way to completion. Sure, there are still a few things that need doing and we should have plenty of time to do them.

That isn't the blog, I am just bragging.

I will be spending the rest of the season looking for the few things that haven't been put out and should have been. They would have been if I could find them. I've done a cursory search, but I can see that I need to do a more in depth search starting tomorrow. I just don't understand what happened to them. I suppose that someone could have broken into the house while we were away this fall, gone through the Christmas decorations and made off with the one I'm looking for. They didn't take anything of value, but to be truthful, there really isn't much to take. I have a picture of some sneak thief standing in the middle of the kitchen and leaving fifty bucks on the table so that we can buy something nice for ourselves.

Well, I think I'm done. I really need to write these earlier in the day. Sorry that you wasted your valuable time when you could have been finishing off your seasonal tasks. Did I mention that we are done? I did? Cool...

I May Have a Relapse

This is a crazy, busy time of year. It’s insane busy for “Holiday” Christians, I just can’t imagine what it must be like if you tossed a real strong belief in the almighty into the mix.

I can’t say that I am even a “Holiday” Christian any longer because I just don’t even think about going any longer. There was a time when we did go to church on a regular basis. I think of it like buying a lotto ticket, I used to buy the same numbers every week but they never did pay off, even just a little. So, I will drop into a church every now and then and hope that is the day God decides to mark attendance. If not, well as I recall, most religions are pretty big on forgiveness. Well, after some pretty serious punishment of course. How can you be an all kind and loving God if your followers don’t know how bad, “bad” can be.

Anyways, it was a busy day, I wrote a few Christmas cards, started to glue together some gingerbread houses, went to the 2nd hand store, made a few batches of cookies, and ate more than my share of candies that had been destined for the gingerbread houses, as well as watched too much TV. I cleaned up some of the yard as the weatherman has predicted that we will get snow tonight and the temperature will drop to normal values for this time of year. Outside stuff is done!

I didn’t feel like writing the blog tonight and had decided that I either do the thing or I don’t do the thing…drat! I picked up the paper and read my horoscope for today.

“If you don’t feel like working then don’t force yourself. There is no point starting anything too detailed. If possible, keep your powder dry until the new moon comes round on Friday. Then your enthusiasm will return.”

I like Sally Brompton the horoscope lady, at least I do today. So, don’t expect too much from me until Friday and I have a feeling that I may have a relapse on Saturday and for the rest of the year.

Monday 7 December 2015


It has been quite a few years since I was at my optimum weight. I don’t even know what that would be, but believe me when I say that it is many pounds and more than a few inches less than I am now. I’m comfortable with my look as long as I don’t see any photos or look in the mirror.

I know how to lose weight and get into shape, but for some inexplicable reason I keep telling myself that I will start tomorrow. There are so many good reasons to lose weight and not very many to stay where I am. The only one that I can think of is that I would have to buy new clothes. Oh, I wouldn’t be as cuddly as I am now, but since no one cuddles me that is a moot point anyways.

In the past couple of weeks, we have had too much candy in the house and I have had too much candy in my mouth. It is Christmas time and candy and cookies are a large part of the whole experience. Well, in my world view they are.

I have had so much that I can feel a tingling just under my skin. I don’t imagine its some kind of special magic sugar energy that will help get me through the season. Perhaps the individual cells in my body are trying to find storage for all of that sugar. They are packing it at the ends of my blood vessels, just where they come close to the skin. If I cut myself, there is a very good chance that sugar will pour out onto the floor. Probably red sugar.

Well, I am going to do something about it, I’ll start to eat healthy foods and get more exercise…probably tomorrow.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Twenty Days

Hey, just 20 days and it will be Christmas.

That is still plenty of time to do your shopping and it isn’t even considered “last minute” shopping. In another week there will be some question as to your commitment to the season and in two weeks it will just be guilty, panic buying. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does age you prematurely.
 Image result for last minute christmas shopping
Every year I swear to myself that I am going to start shopping right in the beginning of the New Year, giving real thought to what I buy for those I love. A present should reflect how much the person means to you, and not in a dollar value. Mind you, you can’t ignore having a financially balanced gift exchange. I remember trading gifts one year when I was in my teens and my gift didn’t measure up to the amount the other person spent. To be fair, I didn’t have a lot of money and the gift I gave was meaningful and from the heart. A cheap ass heart to be sure, but still…from the heart.

I think about gifts throughout the year, but I almost always second guess myself and by the time I do make a decision, the opportunity to buy has disappeared. I know that “good intentions” don’t count. They are impossible to wrap and so is love and affection by the way. Long gone are the days when I could stand naked in the living room with a big red bow around me and a big smile. Okay, those days were never here, I was too cheap to buy a ribbon and to be frank; the gift was really for me.
Image result for cupid 
I’ve still got twenty days. Of course I need to spend a few of those days thinking about what I want…slippers?...belt?...iPad cover?...time management skills?...some sort of chemical to reduce stress?...focus?…

I’m sure there will be an incoherent blog in a couple of weeks when the panic has really set in and the last minute is truly the last minute. However, until then I have 28,800 minutes…give or take a few.

Super Power

I used to wake up with bruises that I couldn’t explain along with scratches and small cuts. I also used to sleepwalk a little and often my mom would find me getting ready to pee while I was standing in my closet. It wouldn’t have mattered much; my clothes were all hand-me-down anyways. I must have been asleep because if I was awake I would have been terrified of the monsters that lived in there. Maybe monsters will disappear if a young boy pees on them.

I know that my mom and dad didn’t beat me while I was asleep, well, pretty sure. My brother might have, but brotherly fights aren’t generally quiet and mom and dad would probably have broken it up. No, I am convinced that I was a pint sized super hero that would go to sleep as a normal suburban boy and somehow transform into the Scourge or Scarborough. I have since checked back issues of the local papers to see if there were any unexplained bad guys dropped off at police stations. No such luck, I must have been a dark avenger type that would meet out justice in a biblical fashion.

Now, I don’t know if I had super powers or just your basic crime fighter muscles. I know that I wasn’t invulnerable because of the bruising. I am pretty sure I could fly though because I ended up landing on the floor in the middle of the night instead of the bed. I must have been exhausted and just missed my landing after the night of fighting bad guys.

We will never know. I don’t fight crime anymore and haven’t for some time. My wife won’t let me. That is the only explanation I can think of for why I would just stop.

The other day Louise and I were sitting in Tim Horton’s and a young couple came in with two of the cutest little kids you would want to see. They were excited about getting a sprinkle donut or maybe one of those special Christmas donuts. It always makes me smile when I see kid’s faces when they are trying to decide just which donut would taste the best. Both kids had some form of birth defect which caused them difficulty walking. That is just normal life for them and they will grow up and deal with the cards that life dealt them. I gave silent thanks that I have never had to be as strong as those parents and kids.

As I was leaving, I thought that if I could choose a super power to have now, I would pick being able to heal children. There could be nothing in this life that could rival that accomplishment.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Nuts and Snakes

 Okay, so I had to pick up this snake for some reason. I don’t like snakes and I am pretty sure that the feeling is mutual. Normally, we never even come into contact. While I was preparing myself mentally, I heard the voice of an announcer talking as if there was a documentary on TV in the other room.
 Image result for grey snake
“The common southern grey snake is relatively harmless unless you happen to be a mouse or a ground squirrel. The farmers count the southern grey snake as a friend and try to encourage them to propagate.”

I reached into the glass cage and grabbed the snake just behind the head and lifted it up and out. It writhed and twisted, eventually wrapping itself around my arm. It was surprisingly strong.

“The Southern grey snake is docile when handled and is generally no more difficult to pick up than a piece of rope.”

It kept twisting and fighting and eventually I lost my grip on its head.
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“Very similar in size and colour to the southern grey snake is the smoky viper which should never be approached. It dislikes being handled and will violently attack whoever is foolish enough to do so. It prefers larger animals like rabbits, badgers and coyotes.”

The snake kept a grip on my arm with its tail and the head reached down and bit into my right testicle. I tried to grab it behind the head, but I couldn’t do so and pry it’s fangs off of my right nut. The pain was unbelievable!

“The Smoky Viper is tenacious when it bites prey and locks the jaws and only releases when the prey is dead. The poison from the Smoky Viper is not deadly, but will generally be strong enough to render its prey unconscious in a relatively short time.”
 Image result for snake prey
I grabbed the snakes head with one hand and with the other I tried to force open its jaws. I was pretty sure I would lose my testicle, but I didn’t seem to mind. I was getting very sleepy. If only I could remember why I had a snake and why I was moving it…

This is about the point that I woke up with a start in a sweat. I reached down and confirmed that I still had my right testicle and that there wasn’t a snake attached anywhere near my genitals. I got out of bed right away, just in case. 

Louise will be fine, she doesn’t have any testicles.