Monday 30 September 2019


We have had about a foot of snow over the past two days. For those who don’t understand imperial measures, it is twelve inches of snow, which is about 30 CMs more or less. Take a few minutes, take your nose out of your cell phone and learn imperial measures. It won’t hurt and it makes life just a trifle easier for me. That is a lot of snow for any time of year, but it is way, way, way too much for the end of September. I understand that the drive to work was horrible this morning and I feel for those poor people who are getting up and going to work just to contribute to my pension. Thanks!

My dog Buster hasn’t been feeling very good for the past week or so. After a few days and then a visit to the vet we are now giving him some medication and have changed his diet to a rice and hamburger mix. Before this he was puking and had very, very, very loose stools. I felt bad for the little guy. In the past I have had the same problems but my whining and moaning let the people around me know that something was wrong. Buster was a brave little soldier.

When I retired about 11 years ago I had a choice of retirement gifts that the Post Office would give me. There was the typical gold plated watch. I was given a watch after 25 years, which I almost never wear so I really didn’t need another one. There was a very small selection of desk clocks (two) which although nice enough, were kind of useless since I don’t use my desk for anything but piling papers on. The piled papers would very quickly cover up the desk clock making it less than useless. So, no to the desk clocks. The other choice was a small pair of binoculars. I was very surprised because binoculars are actually useful and I didn’t expect that from the Post Office. I chose the binoculars.

Over the years I have taken those binoculars with me on vacation, trips to the mountains and when I wanted to spy on the neighbours without their knowledge. Don’t judge me! Most of the time they sit on the shelf beside my bed waiting patiently to fulfill their primary function. Sometimes I use them to check out the birds in the backyard or the squirrels in the trees out front. I see if I can spy on the people up the alley across the street. As you can tell, the desk clock may have had more use over the years.

Today I did use the binoculars. I have had trouble for the past couple of snowy days to see what shape Buster’s stools were in because if he went then it was in relatively deep snow and quickly hidden by all of the new snow that was falling. Early this morning I shoveled a path around the backyard for Buster to walk around and hopefully do his business in. In short order it was very green grass surrounded by very white snow which is really pretty and should help the stool stand out. I stood in the bedroom with the binoculars searching for any dogshit that might be visible. I wasn’t successful, but I did check to see if the neighbours were up to anything interesting. They weren’t, and the birds were noticeable by their absence.

I am going up to the bedroom as soon as I finish this and will do another search using my Post Office supplied spy glasses. Maybe I need to get another hobby…

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Special Day

It is my birthday today.

I am 67 which means I have been taking up space, using raw materials and breathing air for 2,112,912,000 seconds. When I put it that way it doesn’t seem so long a time. In some ways I feel I have just started and in others I feel like I am just DONE.

Birthdays don’t mean very much to me any longer. When I was small my birthday meant that on this one day every year I would get a present and my brother wouldn’t get one. I would get a cake made just for me. I would wear a paper hat and my family would sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to just me. At school if the teacher was so inclined, a mention would be made of the special day before we tackled some onerous math problem or discover that Hernan Cortez was the conquistador that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. I suppose that all of those things made me feel just a little special and what kid doesn’t need to feel special every now and then.

At this stage of my life I have come to grips with who I am and know that I do have talents that make me special. Mainly to myself, but I am the only person whose opinion matters in this instance. I guess I can say I am content being who I am and I continue to work to better myself. I am an ongoing project that probably won’t get finished before I die.

Yesterday I got a birthday card in the mail from my daughter in Ontario and the day before I was treated to a meal at my son’s house. Not a birthday dinner, but a quasi birthday dinner. The real family celebration will be when we all get together in a few weeks when Maegan and Ryan visit from Toronto.

Today I will get numerous birthday greetings from my “friends” on Facebook. Probably tomorrow there will be one or two belated greetings for the few who didn’t check the upcoming birthdays. I kind of like that Facebook reminds me when there is a birthday because in the past only a select few got cards or phone calls on their birthdays. So today I will get greetings from good friends (in real life) people I knew…ish in high school, work friends, a person that believes the government is using jets to release chemicals into the upper atmosphere. I can’t understand why either. I will get birthday greetings from people I have nothing in common with other than a Facebook identity. There will be a Happy Birthday from people that I should block but don’t really want to hurt their feelings even though I don’t actually care that much.

I won’t get Facebook greetings from a few people that added me as a friend so that they could brag they have 2,127 friends. Who has time to wish 2,127 people a Happy Birthday? You would have to wish 5.8 people happy birthday every single day of the year! It exhausts me just thinking about it.

Today I will go out to breakfast with one of the few people I know loves me. The other people that love me will call and wish me the best. I will do some work in the garage, walk the dog, do a carving, Write a blog posting, make a couple of saw horses and generally just putter around doing those things in life that make me special to me.  

It will be a special day!

Friday 20 September 2019


Okay, just so that you know and aren’t blind sided or blinded, there will be no photos attached to this writing.

It takes me between eight and ten seconds to get undressed. I have timed myself. You might be wondering just why I time getting undressed. It is better to be looking at a clock than my ever increasing naked body in the mirror. I am used to seeing it and there is really nothing of note, perhaps a new wrinkle, blemish or oddly disturbing discolouration.

I do wear fairly simple clothing with few difficult or hidden hooks, snaps, zips or velcro which would probably add time to other people. Mind you, after sixty years or so of getting undressed even the more complex fasteners should be easy peasy. Well, unless there is an arthritic problem.

I suppose that if I were in a hurry I could knock off a second or two, maybe even three if there was something really important that needed me to be naked. Truth be told, it has been many years since I needed to get naked in less than five seconds. However there was that time a few years ago when I was sitting on the grass watching the world pass slowly by when I looked down and all I could see was ants crawling all over me. I would have liked to break the speed record for nakedness that day, but the people laughed hard enough at the old guy dancing without music. I can just imagine how quickly that laughter would have turned to 911 calls were I to get naked.

I do remember when I was a kid that taking off my clothes took no time at all if I were to go skinny dipping. There was something so liberating to be naked in a lake and naked in a lake at night was even more exciting. Well, until something slimy brushed by your leg and visions of a fish biting unprotected body parts came to mind. I couldn’t get out of the water fast enough. I don’t suppose that everyone had the opportunity to skinny dip which is a real shame.

As I got a little older there were times when I couldn’t get my clothes off fast enough. My body was less wrinkled, tighter there was much less of it back then. It wasn’t painful to look at. Not many chose to look at it, but I felt that those who did want to look at it shouldn’t have to be kept waiting. I was thoughtful that way.

I watch TV shows and a young couple burst through the door locked in an embrace, struggling to get the other person naked. I wish I could tell those actors that if they just take a step back from each other and spend eight to ten seconds on removing their own clothes, the end point would be reached faster without any unfortunate accidents.

This isn’t a challenge at all like the “Ice Bucket Challenge” of a few years ago, but maybe it could be. I would like to know if my time is average, below average or perhaps my super power is removing my clothing. I can’t really go up to strangers and ask them how long it takes them to get naked or what article of clothing is the most difficult to remove. Well, I could, but I suspect I would soon lose my freedom and have to get undressed in front of thieves, murderers, rapists and crooked politicians.

Tuesday 3 September 2019

I Could Nap

Well, summer is officially over. The Labour Day long weekend marks the end of summer holidays with the kids returning to school and families returning to their busy, normal lives filled with rushing the kids off to hockey, soccer (indoor), ballet, dance, gymnastics and oh so many activities that I, thankfully, no longer have to plot on my calendar.

Our summer this year was cooler than normal as I didn’t need to install the air conditioner in the window. I didn’t have to turn on the furnace either, so summer was kind of middle of the road. I do kind of feel that we had more rain than normal, but according to the weather guy it will all balance out. Whatever that means. All I know is that the fields and hills that are normally dry, brown grass at this time of year are as green as they are in the springtime. It is kind of surreal.

When I travel back into my memory I remember that I looked forward to this time of year. Well, sort of. Holidays were over which wasn’t great but at the end of the summer my buddies and I were down to playing board games like Monopoly which could last for days. It could also end when someone got mad and kicked the game and all of the money when he landed on Boardwalk that had a hotel or two on it. I was excited about getting back to school and seeing my school friends that I hadn’t seen since the previous June. The down side of course was that I had to start a new school year to see them and that meant a new teacher who may or may not like me. School was a struggle.

One of the things I really looked forward to was the new TV season started in September. The old shows that I loved were returning for a new season and those cliff-hangers would finally be resolved. There were new shows coming and you never knew if there would be a new favourite in the bunch. Some of the shows started off well but I soon lost interest and others that were slow starting developed complex characters and situations that I could barely wait till the next week to find out what would happen next. Good times!

This year and for many years past that excitement hasn’t come. I don’t go to school and any friends that I still have are here year round. I don’t have sports to look forward to (my bad) and in fact for me the fall begins about six months of indoor activities except for the leaf raking and snow shovelling. Television programming has changed a lot over the years and no longer is September very exciting. With the advent of cable the networks have several different season premiers a year. Fall premier…winter premiers…Christmas season shows…January New Year events…Spring Flings and God only knows what is next. This summer we had Christmas in July which I kind of liked but I am sure there were the Grinches and Grinch wannabees who would have willingly spent several years in jail for murder if only the could get their hands around the necks of a program director.

I guess I am getting old and just want stability in my life. My TV live in particular should be stable. I am embracing Netflix, Crave TV and Amazon Prime. I am sure there are others I have yet to embrace, but that is for the future. With all of these cable shows streaming, there is no longer a TV premier season so I just have to be on constant alert for the next great new show.

I suppose that I could just read books or do something constructive and creative with my time instead of flattening my ass on the couch. Nope. I can do that creative stuff when the cable is down …or…I could nap.

P.S.  The cable went out while I was writing this, so it won’t go up on the blog until tomorrow. Interestingly enough, I am going to take a long nap which most people call sleeping 

Sunday 1 September 2019

Grandkids Can Be Pretty Gullible

About a month ago we had three trees removed from our front yard. Two of them were birch trees and the other was an ash tree. The Ash tree suffered from a broken branch high up during our Snowtember event four years ago. Our city lost or suffered damage to about a third of our trees. I find that hard to believe, but who am I to question the city bean (tree) counters. Since the damage to the Ash tree I pictured the branch plummeting from on high and ending up stuck in the roof of the neighbour’s car. Serve them right for parking on the street. Plus over the years the Ash had grown in a very odd and ugly direction and it became an aerial highway for squirrels.

The two Birch trees have had a lingering death that lasted for several years. The extreme cold of this past winter finished them off and not one leaf sprouted on either tree this spring. Most of the Birch trees in the neighbourhood suffered in some way or another. I am assuming that the cold was responsible but I suppose it could be some kind of suicide pact. Do trees get depressed?

I did mull over trying to cut down the Birch trees myself, but I had visions of myself sitting in front of the insurance adjuster trying to explain why I thought I could cut down a dead, mature Birch tree without crushing the neighbour’s home. That would have been the best possible outcome. Besides, what on earth would I have done with all of that wood? I like fires a much as the next guy, but two trees worth of wood and branches is an awful lot of tree.

In the end I called the Branch Manager Arborists. They cut down an Elm tree we had about five years ago and I was very happy with the work. That was another ugly tree which grew far too close to the house. Anyways, the Branch Manager sent out a couple of tree monkeys with multiple chain saws and within a couple of hours all that was left were fire ready logs. They asked me if I wanted to keep the wood and my initial response was NO. Like I said, a tree or three is a lot of wood and I don’t have many fires any longer. In the end I kept a pile of wood hoping that the kids (who do have fires) would be happy to take most of it off of my hands. So far only the neighbour’s kid wanted any. They also sent a guy out with a machine to chew up the stump. I have dug up stumps before in my life and I highly recommend not doing it yourself.

I figure I will turn a couple of bowls in memory of the trees that kept our family company for so many years. Arwen convinced Maegan and Brendan that Birch bark was Indian chewing gum when they were much younger and much more gullible. I have also stripped relatively large sections of bark off of the logs and have made a few bird houses which look pretty good. I am also experimenting with making Birch bark rings which look …OK. I have more experimenting to do. There may be some other crafty things I can do with the Birch bark, but so far I haven’t thought of them.

Maybe I will convince Hurricane, Tornado and Tsunami that Birch bark is what the indigenous peoples of Canada used as chewing gum. Grandkids can be pretty gullible.

Friday 30 August 2019

What The Tree Huggers Don’t Know

Yesterday while I was doing some work in the back yard I got a mosquito bite. I know what you are thinking…poor baby…are you alright…what did the doctor say? I grant that being bitten by a mosquito isn’t earth shattering news, but this year it is. To date this summer I have had three mosquito bites and it is the end of August! Pretty soon I will have more to worry from frost bite and a biting north wind.

When I was growing up in Ontario I could tell how far the season had progressed by which insect bites I found on my body. Mosquito’s were the least on my worries. Black flies, horse flies, deer flies and something people called midges could take little hunks of flesh and leave small trails of dried blood. I would often find myself dressed in long pants, long sleeve shirts and hats just for protection even on the hottest, muggiest day of the year.

In later years I discovered insect repellents that had a miraculous ingredient called Deet. I understand that the Deet would mask the smell of whatever it is that the bugs wanted. It wasn’t perfect, but it beat the hell out of sitting in the smoke of a campfire with just your head peeking out so that you could breathe. Of course Deet is pretty toxic and most bug sprays contained 5%, 10% or 15% for the protection of human health. I found a product called Muskoil that had 99% Deet which I would slather on all exposed flesh and smile as everyone else spent their days swatting bugs. I suspect that I will have taken five or ten years off of my life, but they are the crappiest years anyways.

When Louise and I moved out to Alberta in our mid to late twenties we made sure to enjoy camping in the mountains. One night we were sitting around a campfire and noticed that although we were cool we weren’t slapping at bugs every few seconds. All I can think is that it is too cold in the mountains for the bugs to survive. Yes, there are a few but nothing compared to the amount of blood sucking bugs found in southern Ontario. I now had another reason to love Alberta.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still biting bugs, but there are fewer of them around. I know in the past the city would spray some kind of chemical on all the standing water in the city which would kill the eggs before they hatched. In recent years the tree huggers have insisted the city stop putting toxic chemicals in our water and the city complied. It was a sad day for this guy when I heard that. The mosquitoes were on the rise once again and I searched out a supplier for my Muskoil and stocked up.

This summer the mosquitoes have all but disappeared. I don’t know if the extremely cold, long winter and a dry spring killed off the little bastards or if the city resumed spraying the standing water on the down low. Whatever the reason, I am a happy camper.

What the tree huggers don’t know won’t hurt us…

(I had intended to put in pictures of Ontario's biting bugs, but the pictures creeped me out too much. Check them out yourself.) 

Friday 28 June 2019


Yesterday we had quite a storm with lots of lightning, thunder and more rain than the city sewers could handle. Underpasses throughout the city flooded and more than a few streets were hubcap deep in water. Thankfully the rain didn’t last so long that there was widespread flooding. We have had more than our fair share of rain for the past couple of weeks so the ground is pretty saturated which is probably a good thing if you are a farmer or someone that relies on the lakes ponds and reservoirs. The ducks and geese are probably pretty happy, but it is hard to tell just by looking at them. Beaks just don’t show feelings very well, either that or they are ungrateful waddling assholes.

When I woke up this morning I went out and everything glistened in the bright morning sunshine. The tables and chairs had beads of water on them as did the table umbrella. The grass looked as if it were covered in diamonds. It wasn’t of course…I checked. My section of the world had been washed clean of all the dust, dirt and bird shit that had covered it the day before. It is a new beginning, like climbing into a bed that has freshly washed sheets on it pulling on a warm shirt that just came out of the dryer. Life is good!

This morning Buster and I went on our walk and it wasn’t too long before both his feet and mine were soaking wet. We both persevered and made the best of damp feet. As we walked, Buster found interesting smells and I thought back to when I was a kid at my grandmother’s cottage. We would be up early and out exploring with our cottage friends. We would walk through hay fields and in no time at all our pants would be dripping wet from the dew that had collected on the grass overnight. Wet pants didn’t bother us because we knew that our shoes and socks would be soaked in short order because we were pirates/ bandits/soldiers or knights that had to wade across streams or float on a poorly put together raft.

We don’t often have dew in the city and it usually would burn off before I made my way outside. Also, there isn’t too much long grass anywhere close except for that neighbour that only cuts his lawn twice a year. There is dew in the mountains, but as an adult I try to avoid getting wet first thing in the morning. My loss I suppose.

There is magic in the early morning, the world is taking a breath before starting all of the possibilities that lay before us in the dew.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Goodish Years

I was watching a Youtube video the other day about how people in medieval times kept themselves clean. Of course the wealthy had soap which had been around in various forms since at least 2300 BCE. The rest of the unwashed masses (you and me) had to find another way because they didn’t have the money that the rich had to waste on soap. When you got dirty, you would wipe your hands on grass or rinse them in a puddle or stream if one were handy. You would never wipe your hands on your clothes because they were even harder to clean than your hands.

The guy in the video figured that if you had grease on your hands you would have to wet your hands and pick up some ashes from a fire which would cut thru the grease. Of course you had to be quick because water and ash would create lye which would give you a fairly serious chemical burn if left on too long.
 Image result for baby crying in tub
The video reminded me of when I was a little guy having a bath and got soap in my eyes. It felt like I had rubbed ash or burning coals in my eyes! I cried and rubbed my eyes which of course put more soap into them making me cry even more. Johnson and Johnson came out with a baby shampoo in 1953 (a year after I was born) but I doubt that mom and dad would splurge on that in spite of my tears. I would just have to learn to keep my eyes closed when there was soap on my head or a potential of soap on my head.

1955 shampoo add

I have been pretty good about keeping my eyes closed while washing my hair for six and a half decades or so. Those early lessons I learned the hard way stuck with me and for the most part I haven’t spent a lot of time crying in the shower. I suspect that some people that have spent time with me may have felt it hard to cleanse the thought of me away and let hot water wash the imagined dirt down the drain.

I have been pretty good until a week or so ago when for some reason I opened my eyes while I was washing my hair. I am aware that there are many more painful things that can happen to you, but at that moment I couldn’t think of a one. My first thought was that I had been struck blind by God for some real or imagined sin. It was possible that the guy who put chemicals into the city water supply made a horrible mistake or decided to use the water supply for a terrorist attack on Calgary. I know that the Joker did something like this in one of the Batman movies, but I am a long way from Gotham. No, just plain old shampoo and a naked old man that forgot the lesson he learned over sixty years earlier.

It might be time to try baby shampoo. I have thinning hair, not as many teeth as I once had, I am probably on the way to wearing adult diapers and I wouldn’t mind smelling like a baby. I still have a few good years left or at least goodish years anyways.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

A More Current Moment

Let’s see…About eight years ago or so, we went with my daughter’s family to a corn maze just outside of Calgary. It was really a pretty sad corn maze, the corn was more or less picked clean of the stalks and those stalks were brown as opposed to green. They were also pretty thinly spaced and there was no chance at all of getting lost or trapped by Alberta’s version of the Children of the Corn. Still, it was fun for a three year old and for old eyes reliving the magic of youth.

One of the most wonderful things they had there was an inflated pad that was about the size of a tennis court. The kids got to take off their shoes and bounce to their hearts content. I would have loved to bounce as well, but I feared that the pad wouldn’t be rated for my weight category. Of course I took pictures and one in particular captured the joy Hurricane was feeling at that moment. He was in mid bounce, had his right arm thrust up to the sky and would have been yelling “FUCK YEAH!!!” if he were any older. I love that picture.

I decided to do a carving of him as he was that particular moment in time. I got his head done pretty good…ish and that was about it. I had difficulty getting a hook on the carving and didn’t think I would do it justice. Hurricane saw the head while we were in the workshop making something and I told him that it was him and was working on a carving but had stopped. I promised that I would finish it someday, but not right now. Every time we go to the workshop he will pick up his head and I feel bad about not ever finishing it.

Well, his birthday is in a few days, so I thought that eight years was a long enough time to have put off the carving. I gathered Hurricanes head and a few other pieces that I had started during the intervening years to see what needed to be done. Since he was in his stocking feet in the picture I decided to carve those first. I noticed the knife could be sharper so I put a razor edge on it. Yes, I should have put on the glove that I use when I do carving and the leather thumb of course, but I was just doing a small touch up. Well, the knife slipped and cut deeply into my thumb. Blood was flowing and I was so angry with myself for being so stupid on many different levels.

Louise and I got the bleeding under control and I drove to the walk in clinic to have it looked after. Eventually the doctor came into the examining room and asked me if I thought I needed stitches. I had hoped that he would look at the cut and make the decision himself, but I figured yes it couldn’t hurt. I was walked to the back room and lay down on the table while a nurse got everything ready. I looked around the room and I realized that it hadn’t changed at all in the thirty or so years since the last time I lay down on the table. That time I had put a circular saw into my wrist and thankfully the doctor made the decision to stitch my wrist.

Well, a couple of needles, stitches and some bandages saw me back to normal and home to figure out how I was going to manage my day to day life using mostly my left hand. I managed thirty years ago and I suppose I could figure it out again.

Needless to say, the carving for Hurricane has been put on hold once again. I will look at it again, but have been thinking that maybe I should find a more current moment to capture his likeness in wood. It couldn’t hurt…or could it?

Tuesday 14 May 2019


Last week, Louise discovered that she didn’t have her driver’s license; well at least it wasn’t where it should be. It was concerning, but not terribly so because she has a distressing habit of just taking the cards from her purse, wallet, pocket that she will need for the next few hours. I don’t know how she keeps track of things and any sensible person (me) would keep all of their cards with them at all times.

As I said, it wasn’t a major concern, but it is the kind of thing that will eventually drive me crazy. I decided that she would have to look for her license by herself and I would sit back, reading my book and huff every now in then in a superior manner. I know that she was looking for it, but she seemed to be doing it whenever I was out of the room or nose deep into my book. Every now and then I would ask if she had looked in her purse or coat pocket and she would give me one of those looks that said “Of course…do you think I am an idiot?” I would nod my head and internally I would say that I know where my license is, the hidden flap on the left side of my wallet. Although I made the comment to myself, I felt pretty superior.

A day or two passed and I randomly searched dresser tops, coat pockets, both cars and found myself on my belly with a flashlight looking under beds and couches. It had disappeared without a trace! There is only one thing that could have happened; someone either broke into our house in the middle of the night or into the car while Louise was paddling at the reservoir and took her license. Pretty smart when you think about it, the guy has Louise’s ID and can set up a phone identity and charge all sorts of things to bogus cards. Well, unless the driver’s license is someplace that has so far not been searched.

Yesterday Louise decided that enough time had passed and she needed to get a replacement license to which I reluctantly agreed. We had to get the new 2020 sticker for the car anyways so off to the Registry office we went. We waited in line for about thirty minutes and every two minutes or so I told Louise about the time I just walked in and there was no one in line at all! She more or less ignored me after the first three tellings. We finally got to the girl behind the counter and Louise signed all of the necessary papers for the license and registration. She had the girl check the organ donation box on her license so that Louise can save some lives. I decided to check my license to see when it expires so that I could eventually put the organ donation option on my license. I looked at my grey on grey picture and then to my horror found out that the license had expired in September of 2017!

How is that possible? How could I forget? How did I manage to rent a car in Hawaii last month? Oh well, at least I was in the right place to get a replacement. Well, not really as it turns out. After three months you have to provide other government ID (passport), Provincial medical card and a letter with name and address on it mailed within the past couple of months to prove residency. Shit! Well, I guess that I will be returning to the Registry place sooner rather than later.

We decided to go to Tim Horton’s for a coffee and celebrate Louise’s new license and I suppose my stupidity. Louise paid for the coffees and I went to the table with the coffees while she chatted with the woman behind the counter. Louise was headed to the table when the woman at the counter asked her if she had picked up her drivers license that she had left on the counter a few days earlier…………………………………..


Guess we should have gone for coffee first today.

I sat at the table thinking how odd the world was when it occurred to me that Louise losing her license, the search, the trip to the registries office was the universe rearranging itself to tell me that my license had expired. You just have got to love it when the planets align to help you out. 

Now, if I can only have the universe get behind telling me six numbers between one and forty nine.

Sunday 5 May 2019


It is 9:00 o’clock on a Sunday morning the 5th of May when all around the world people are preparing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and I am preparing to go out and shovel the three inches of snow off of my sidewalk. Maybe I should chug down a Mexican beer or a shot or two of tequila before I go out.
Oh, I know that “the snow won’t last” and “we live in Canada” or “we can sure use the moisture”, but those are just things people say to accept that Mother Nature just punched us in the balls. It would have been better to have the moisture come down as a warm rain so that the little shoots and buds don’t freeze their little tips off. You don’t see any snow in a tropical rain forest and those plants seem to do just fine. Hell, I walked the West Coast Trail on the coast of Vancouver Island which is in a temperate rain forest and the trees grew larger than any I had ever seen before. They get the on bit of snow on the island, but nothing to complain about. My buddy lives on the island and he complains that every now and then he has to wait a day before the light dusting of snow disappears. Poor baby!

The warm weather is just around the corner and before you know it I will spend time working outside, biking, cutting the lawn and just generally puttering about. We aren’t likely to get much more snow and once the temperature gets to “seasonal” I won’t have a lot to complain about.
I did just return from two weeks in Hawaii which does colour the way I look at this snow. Not one day (or night) went below 23°C and my knees were bare for the entire time. The water was warm but refreshing and the little rain that fell was liquid as opposed to solid. We always had to open the windows when we got in the car to let the very hot air escape before we cranked up the AC. It was best to BBQ so that you didn’t needlessly heat the condo while cooking supper. Cool drinks were the order of the day whereas here I am seldom without a hot coffee or tea. Oh well…I will return.

Speaking of return, I guess I should go and clean off the walks. We have family coming over to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this afternoon and I would hate for them to slip on the ice or snow. Maybe I will make ten or so small snowmen to welcome them to our home and warn Mother Nature that I am Canadian, the snow won’t last and my lawn will benefit from the snow when it melts…sob!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Vancouver is Lovely in The Springtime

Ok, so here it is 12:24 AM and I am sitting in the Tim Horton’s at YVR (Vancouver Airport) its a steeped tea in front of me and an Everything bagel toasted with butter. I will be sitting here or someplace similar until about six the morning. I hate lay overs at the best of times and today isn’t the best of times. It is all due to a programming error by Boeing on the 737 MAX.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that our plane didn’t nose dive into the Pacific Ocean or into Vancouver Island, but a seven hour layover just sucks. Especially when it happens at night. Okay, to be fair I am acclimatized to Hawaii time so from it is only 9:24 AM really. I did go to bed early in Hawaii but I woke up early because those fucking roosters wouldn’t shut up when the sun came up. I know what you are thinking, waking up in Hawaii is pretty good no matter when it happens. 


I know what will happen, I will stay awake till three or so and then I will drift off into Never-Neverland. It’s possible that I will miss my flight. Well, it would be if Louise wasn’t with me.


So, we had to wait until 3:45 AM to get our boarding passes and check our bags with Westjet. The guys that turn the conveyor belt on don’t work for WestJet but work for the Airport authority and the bags piled up until about 4:00 AM. After checking in and dropping the bags off we went to go thru security which is a Federal government department and they don’t open until 4:45 AM. More waiting! 

We at least have a relatively comfortable seat now, but no matter how comfy the chair it doesn’t make up for lost sleep. Believe me when I tell you that I need my beauty sleep just to stay on the good side of ugly.

In forty-five minutes I get to take off my belt and shoes, empty my pockets and feel guilty about things that I haven’t done. Once we pass security we will find a comfortable seat by our gate and wait some more. 

This is when I will probably fall asleep and miss my flight.

They say Vancouver is lovely in the springtime.

Monday 22 April 2019

And It Is

Still in paradise.

The funny thing about paradise is that the longer one stays here it seems less and less like paradise. The weather is wonderful, everywhere you look there are amazing, majestic vistas, the water is warm enough to enjoy dawn to dusk and yet is cool enough to be refreshing. The people are people, some beautiful and some less so, but most of them genuinely nice. Somehow thoughI feel as if I have stayed just a little too long.

Yesterday I developed a stiff neck that has stayed over today and is making things difficult for me if I nee to look anywhere but straight ahead. Also yesterday I tripped going up the stairs to our condo. I am not really an expert when it comes to flip-flops or “slippahs” as they are called here. Somehow when I slipped I tore skin on my big toe and had to deal with blood, pain, bandaids Randall that goes with it. If I were in Canada I would have gone to a doctor to see if I needed stitches, but even though we have insurance it just doesn’t seem right.

Today about twenty hours later the bleeding has mostly stopped and I have taken several over the counter drugs to deal with my neck and any swelling that may or may not come with torn flesh. I have been told that I shouldn’t go in the ocean with an open wound unless I am a fan of infection. My natural inclination is to use the ocean to cleanse and purify the wound, but I don’t dare because I couldn’t live with the “I TOLD YOU SO’S” that I would hear from Louise. So, no more ocean for me.

I knew before coming that I was a ten day vacation kind of guy, but it made sense at the time to book 14 days. I suppose that if I lived here and had something other than walking on the beach and getting a tan to do it would be alright. But, I don’t have a lot to do here.

I miss home. I miss puttering around the house and I miss looking and touching my stuff. I miss my dog and I worry that he doesn’t miss me as much as I miss him. Lucky for me he is a cuddle whore and anyone with a lap is his favourite person. Two days from now I will be on a plane heading east and a few hours after that I will be home surrounded by my stuff remembering how nice it was in paradise…and it is!

Sunday 21 April 2019

My Cross To Bear

It is Easter Sunday in paradise. When I walk the beach in the morning there are usually many people doing pretty much the same thing I am doing, wandering on the beach while watching people and keeping an eye on the ocean just in case it decides to do something odd. I had to make an airport run for some of the people who were staying and today had to be going. They weren’t looking forward to the trip home but I think they were ready to resume their normal lives and leave paradise until the next time.

When I got back from the airport I took a dip in the ocean and walked down the beach to let the sun dry me off. I prefer to use solar power. The odd thing is that the beach was strangely quiet. I suspect that Easter Sunday church service had something to do with it and perhaps more people were doing Sunday brunch than is normal. There is no shortage of wonderful eateries in paradise. Of course the ocean kept on making waves and I still had to keep my eyes on it, just in case.

Later on in the day I went to look for interesting things that the ocean had washed up on shore and noticed that there were more people than usual in my prime picking grounds. These people were no strangers to the ocean and came with fishing rods, beach umbrellas, radios, beach chairs, coolers full of cool drinks and I assume good food. They had been to church and the afternoon was a day of fun at the beach. I wish that we had had a beach closer to us when the kids were small because kids can be entertained by the sand and surf. 

One of the guys I was talking to kept an eye on his two little boys who were fishing. I asked him if they had caught anything and he just laughed saying that they didn’t have a hook on the line, just a weight but they had been busy “fishing” for an hour. I guess practice makes perfect and eventually those boys will put bait on a hook along with the weight and bring home something to eat for future Easter dinners.

We are having a pot luck Easter Dinner at the condo which should be delicious. There will probably be more salads than meat dishes, but when you eat with athletic people it is something you come to expect. That’s my cross to bear this Easter. I am hoping that someone will bring a delicious desert but that may be pie in the sky dreaming from me. I have some back up ice cream and a brownie in the condo just in case I overdose on kale and couscous.

We will have good conversation and get to watch the sun set into the ocean. Life in paradise is really living.

Friday 19 April 2019

One Old Guy

For the past week or so I have spent a good part of my day walking on the beach, sitting on the beach and being in the ocean within sight of the beach. Yes, it is a good life.

I like to look at interesting shells, rocks, patterns in the sand and if I am lucky I will find some beach glass. Yesterday I found a largish piece of blue glass which I have been told is relatively rare. If you look for blue glass bottles in the store they are pretty hard to find as well, so that’s another reason that blue glass is rare. Also in order to find blue sand glass, the bottle has to be thrown in the ocean by someone that doesn’t give a shit about conservation or my delicate Canadian feet, which limits the amount of glass as well. There isn’t a lot of glass this year so I must assume that people are not tossing glass bottles in the ocean as much, preferring plastic containers to litter with.

I also like to watch people. I can do this in secret by hiding my eyes behind a pair of sunglasses. Of course when my head spins around to follow a pretty girl the sunglasses don’t hide anything. I’d need a large dome shaped umbrella to hide that and I’m not sure that the umbrella wouldn’t cause peoples heads to turn and look at me. The secret to people watching is to keep it secret.

Now the people that print the travel magazines, posters and TV commercials want us to believe that everyone in paradise is beautiful. Well, after a week of people watching on the beach I can tell you for a certainty that all of the people on the beach are not beautiful. I know that because I see absolute proof every time I look in a mirror. I am sure that many are attractive to some and probably most of them are beautiful people on the inside. It is the outside I am talking about.

When I walked down the beach today I was wondering just how many of these sun worshipers I would like to see naked and my answer was almost none of them. Maybe I am too picky or maybe I believe that beauty lies in accessories, ie clothing. Maybe I am subconsciously thinking that if I can’t go naked then no one should. 

The truth is that in this day and age most of the people on the beach are effectively naked and they should be comfortable while swimming, walking and talking. Being on the beach is a lot like dancing in that you should dress as if no one is watching because no one is. Well, except for one old guy walking along the beach looking for pretty shells.

Thursday 18 April 2019

If Only I Could Remember His Name

A month or two ago my son and his wife gave me a couple of t-shirts. One was pretty good but I forget why and the other they suggested I could use it for a rag. Now, I always love free stuff, and free t-shirts will never go to waist unless my waist gets too big which has happened more than I care to admit. I had a plan for that rag t-shirt.

The shirt was bright red and the front was emblazoned with the Calgary Stampeders logo and name. It was a little big and was perfect for wearing when I walked down the beach every day. I knew that if and when my skin turned the colour of the t-shirt I could be certain that I have gotten too much sun and need to be slathered with aloe vera or some other off the shelf ointment. 

It is also quite literally a sign that I am from Canada, Alberta and I am a Calgarian. It is a wonderful ice breaker. People will make comments on the weather back home, how the Stamps did last year and what happened to the Flames last night. I try to avoid talking politics because more often than not my views and theirs differ slightly. I just mumble something about all politicians are crooks and I prefer to keep the current crop in power because their pockets are already full of my tax dollars. I have no need to mention that I also agree with their policies.

I have met more than a few Canadians this trip, some from the Atlantic provinces, some from Ontario, BC and Saskatchewan. The Quebecois are either stand offish or they don’t have a mastery of English. Little do they know that their English is far superior than my French.

Today I had a novel experience.

A couple about my age stopped me and asked if I were a Stamps season ticket holder. I told them that I just hold the t-shirt. We got to talking and it turns out that they live in Calgary and the woman was trying to convince me to volunteer for the 2020 Grey Cup which will be held in town. It’s a thought and except for the volunteering part it sounds great. We talked about what they have been up to since arriving in paradise and golf figured heavily in their to do lists. I suggested a couple of good spots for breakfast and they told me that they ate breakfast in their condo. To me it is more of a social thing rather than an eating thing, but to each his or her own.

We talked of hockey and the abysmal loss the other night and I told them I was used to supporting a losing team since I was originally from Toronto. The guy said “Me Too!”. 

“Where in Toronto are you from?” I asked.

“Scarborough” he replied.

I smiled and said “Me Too!”

As it turns out we grew up within a mile of each other, attended the same high school two or three years apart and knew many of the same people. I look forward to seeing him on the beach again before I leave because aside from the golf and not going out for breakfast, he was a nice guy. 

Now, if only I could remember his name…

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Carry a Mailbag

I am sitting on the lanai watching a palm tree swaying back and forth in the breeze. Nothing says paradise more than this.

Why then am I wondering just where it will hit the condo complex if it is uprooted by that same ocean breeze. I’m pretty sure that it will miss my condo, but I can’t say that with an absolute certainty. It’s only a foot or so in circumference but there is sixty or seventy feet of it which would be pretty destructive. Palm trees don’t have the deep root systems that trees have in Canada, they are more like small potted plants which will willingly leave the dirt for just about any reason.

I guess I shouldn’t worry about a palm tree falling on me, that is just stupid. It’s far more likely that a rogue shark will mistake my too white body for a seal while I am flopping around in the ocean. I doubt that I will taste very good, but by the time sharks figures that out I will be missing an important part of my body. Just to be clear, any part of my body is important as far as I am concerned. 

A shark is just me being silly, but there are these fish with wicked looking spines all over their bodies that I see washed up on the beach durning my daily walks. My hope is that they died somewhere out in the ocean and were washed up during the nightly high tide. Not knowing anything about mid Pacific fish this one might be a flying attack fish that launches itself at unsuspecting mammals that are walking along the beach looking for bits of sand glass and not paying attention to an attack from the ocean. Out of the blue yesterday Louise looked at me and with a serious look on her face she said “Never turn your back on the ocean!”  What the hell! I am on an island, so anyway I turn my back it will be pointed to the ocean. Sure there might be miles between the ocean and my back but who knows how crazy this ocean can be. Why would Louise do that? 

I am far more likely to get a thorn in my foot from the trees that line the beach. Why would they have thorn trees by the beach in paradise? Okay, all of this is just silliness because the real danger is from the sun. I have been feeling a warmth on my body for the past few days and even though I want a nice lightly bronze colour on my skin, I suspect that I am getting closer to fire engine red than chocolate tan. Well, I’m not staying away from the beach (I paid good money for this experience) so my skin will just have to suck it up.

At least I don’t have to carry a mailbag on my sunburnt shoulders when I go home…