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.