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Thank Goodness For Warm Homes

18 Dec
Deer wallows outside our bedroom window

Deer wallows outside our bedroom window

One week to Christmas. The recent cold snap is almost over. -30 before the windchill isn’t much fun.

Yet our ‘deer’ friends somehow survive without blankets, heaters, furnaces and the like. Incredible! The photo is of eight wallows where they hunker down for the night just outside our bedroom: belly on the frozen ground, backs to the cold stars. Quite the herd.

Fish Fly Season.’Nuff Said

11 Jul
Fish Fly Bonanza

Fish Fly Bonanza

They’re baaack! This, just one window view. They are also outside the house, on the deck, the lawn, the trees, anything that moves.

Isn’t there some way we could make them into a food source? Fish fly patties, fish fly kabobs, fish fly chowder? Or booze? Where are all the creative chefs and moonshiners when you need them?

Ah well, they will soon be flying away and procreating their little wings off.

They will die happy in their short lives but the evidence and aroma of their little corpses will last forever.

We and the Tree

23 Jun

Trees. Ya gotta love ’em or cut ’em down, or at least part of them.

A beautiful lakeside ash has storm damage. Of course it’s at the top, the unreachable, unscalable, unclimable top. I’ve tried yanking it, swinging from it, swearing at it. Nothing worked, except the last choice felt really good for a while, a very short while. The brown, dead leaves are a blight on my sense of aesthetics.

We and the tree. Mr Bill and yours truly, happy, optimistic. Before the truth but not the branch came crashing down.

We and the tree. Mr Bill and yours truly, happy, optimistic. Before the truth but not the branch came crashing down.

Calling Mr. Bill. You might remember him from a few years back helping put on the boat tarp. Among others Mr Bill has three exceptional qualities: he’s tall, not afraid of heights, and when asked he said OK.

We put the ladder on one side of the tree and climbed and cut and hacked and sawed and cursed. We put the ladder on the other side climbed, cut, hacked, sawed, and swore. Swore at heavy ladders, fumed at twigs and limbs that scratched and gouged. I think the tree was laughing at us. Stupid tree.

We and the Tree. One of us knows what he's doing. Hint: not the one at the bottom of the ladder.

We and the Tree. One of us knows what he’s doing. Hint: not the one at the bottom of the ladder.

Well we ended up with a lot of debris and trimmings all over the yard, but that damaged branch was unreachable and uncuttable. Haughty in its deadness.  in short, the damned thing is still there, mocking us. Maybe sometime this decade it will just fall down itself and break its stupid tree-neck, probably while Brute and I are underneath mowing the lawn.

Ah well, Mr Bill had to go back home and climb up on his roof to help adjust his TV satellite dish.

We and the Tree. Sad conclusion. Me taking out my frustration cutting firewood ouut of tree bits

We and the Tree. Sad conclusion. Me taking out my frustration cutting firewood ouut of tree bits

Me? I got out the chain saw and started cutting up the debris for firewood. Varooom, varooom, cut, gouge! Take that you stupid tree bits. Ha ha. I have the power. You, tree, are not the boss of me. Take that, and that. Varoom, varoom! Oh, I think I’d better quit. I’m hyperventilating and I need some comfort food.

‘Nuff Said, Friday the 13th

13 May

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up early at the ungodly hour of 9:30, stagger to the bathroom, and on looking in the mirror you can’t figure out whether you nose hairs are growing down into you moustache or your moustache hairs up into your nose,  and you you should probably go back to bed? Yes, I’m sure you all have. It’s Friday  13th. ‘Nuff said.

Friday 13th May 2016Yes, that is snow today. Temperature soared to 0°C. It’s May, Friday 13th.  ‘Nuff said.

Went shopping. On coming home the garage door opened to let the car in but then wouldn’t close all the way and decided to remain jammed halfway. Car trapped inside. Had to check the mechanism box: gear and worm screw stripped and need replacement. Oh joy! Me and electricity and mechanical repairs. Better check medical insurance. Friday 13th. ‘Nuff said.

Meanwhile discovered  a lone can of soda pop, carelessly left in the garage fridge over the -30°C winter, had decided to explode. It has hardened, solidified, something like granite. S-S hasn’t volunteered to clean it up. Friday 13th. ‘Nuff said.

Back into the bathroom after all this trauma, checked into the mirror to see how much I’ve aged over the past few hours. Horror! My eyebrows now grow up vertically! But I only just turned thirty some forty years ago. The eyebrow bush has become a tangled jungle reaching up my forehead! I’m beginning to look Like a mad scientist, or even worse, a blog writer!  Maybe I’ll get a new mirror. Happy Friday 13th. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

Happy Christmas And I Really Mean It

20 Dec

Christmas 2015The snow is here, and the cold. I want to thank my many devoted fans, lovers of the finely crafted thought piece. Thank you for hanging in there over the long drought.

Soon the climate and locale will encourage more posts. Meanwhile, do you have people who really tick you off? Two of mine are the following:

  1. People Who do not honour their commitments or promises, who let you down or don’t perform or show up as expected;
  2. People who don’t recognize a gratuitous offer of help and then expect you to follow through, to commit, to show up or perform.

Gad such people are irritating!

Now some of you might find the above confusing, even contradictory. But let me remind you that I am talking about OTHER people. Since this is my blog it makes perfect sense. Think of it as  Christmas Zen koan, something like “what is the sound of one hand clapping?”Just something to keep your mind active as you open all those presents and eat all that turkey.

But people I do like are those who know how to celebrate Christmas as a time of joy that is different from other times of the year. No mean feat in this day and age.

Celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. Happy Christmas (English version) or Merry Christmas (North American version) to all.

 

Why Not Stat Holiday Pension Pay For Retirees?

1 Jul

You know when you are doing something important like lying in the hot tub feeling the bubbles and jets soak your troubles away you get profound thoughts.

Happy-canada-day1My latest profound reflection  is, “why don’t retirees get stat holiday benefits?” Isn’t this a blatant form of ageism? Why don’t we get stat holiday pension benefits at time and a half? Why are only those people who do that daily stuff – I think it’s called work – entitled to this benefit? Why not equal pay for non-work? Such discrimination! The horror!

How am I supposed to enjoy a stat holiday knowing that the day will be paid just like any other? How am I supposed to tell one day from the other when the pay is the same? Right now the only way I can tell one day from another is by what’s on the TV schedule. I hate it when they (you know who THEY are) keep changing the schedule. It makes life so confusing. One has to rely on a backup system such as tracking doctors’ appointments, or heaven forbid, using a calendar. But then you have to actually remember the appointment or where you last put the calendar.  Such demands on a busy schedule. Such commitment.

Stat Pension Pay would be such an advance in  scheduling one’s life. But not too much scheduling. Let’s not get carried away. Why doesn’t somebody else do something about it?

Somebody told me today is a stat holiday. I don’t know. I can’t find my calendar but there are a lot of fireworks going off. I will just have to suffer the indignity of discrimination. Maybe I’ll just have to get back into the hot tub. Life is tough.

Happy Victoria Day Weekend

19 May
Victoria Day 2014

Victoria Day 2014

Grass, that cultivated weed, is growing and green. Brute is happy to get out of the shed to mow and mulch. The first of the flower pots is swinging from the branches. Ice still covers the lake.

‘Nuff said.

Me and the Tick or Arachnophobes and a Rubber Hose

6 Apr
Dog Tick with its Pound of Flesh Still Attached

Dog Tick With Its Pound of Flesh Still Attached

It is now getting closer to that time of year when I will have to awaken Brute and start attacking that cultivated weed called grass. It also means the start of tick season. Those vampirish little denizens of trees, bushes and grass. Just waiting to drop or jump onto you. Thus the “inspiration” for this post.

Several months ago, before the snows came, before glaciers smothered the driveway, before … Oh, I digress, you say. Anyway, a long, long time ago I noticed S-S staring at my body. Foolish me. I entertained fantasies of her admiring my (c)hunk of a studly form. Stupid me. She was checking a spot on my back that seemed to be growing larger. So, sometime around 2:00 a.m., I could feel her eyes burning into my back, in the dark and could hear a muttering, “Hmm, oh, hmm, eew,” and the like.

“OK,” says I, “to get some sleep, let’s check it in a better light in the bathroom.” So there I was, back exposed, with S-S getting closer, and closer and closer to look at the spot. When her nose was almost touching said spot – FFWWUUMMM – out shot 8 legs, instantly and suddenly. I, of course, blissfully unaware of proceedings heard a 100 decibel screech and the stomp of S-S running out of the bathroom, shrieks down the hall, screams into the bedroom, howling again down the hall, and finally, only a deathly hyperventilating, a panting and puffing. Slowly I turned, step by step, to look upon a face, white, ashen.

“It’s, it’s, it’s got legs…!,” pants my own Florence Nightingale.

“Then you will have to get some tweezers and get it off,” says I, the soul of calm, masculine courage.

“Me!” croaks Flo, “but it’s got legs!”

Soon the awful truth hit her: I couldn’t reach to do it myself, and unless there was someone living in the crawl space under the house, she was it.

With her head turned away, one eye closed, and the other barely open, my very own Flo eventually  managed to get the tweezers placed, just so to remove my new body appendage plus a chunk of flesh for good measure. I only gave one manly bellow of agony and hardly cried at all.

Daddy Longlegs, Pre- Spider-Whacker Intervention

Daddy Longlegs, Pre- Spider-Whacker Intervention

Flo’s, I mean S-S’s fear of 8-legged crawlers also showed up when we used to sleep in the V-berth of our sailboat (that’s in the pointy end, at the front). Spiders love being near water, therefore, they love boats. We used a length of rubber hose to keep the hatch slightly open for a nice evening breeze. S-S discovered that this hose made a great “spider -whacker” and she would beat the blankets and pound the pillows, and smack the living daylights out of spiders, seen and unseen, present or absent. That worked fine, as long as I wasn’t in bed at the time. If I was, it sounded like some nautical S&M party. I think the yelling kept more spiders away than the spider-whacker. Who knows what our neighbours on the dock thought of these goings on.

There are then two life lessons arising from this post: fear her fear of spiders; and it’s safer to mow the driveway than the grass.

The Other Side of Boating. What the Brochures Don’t Tell You

18 Sep

It’s that time of the year, boat winterizing. Not only does the house need winter preparations but so does the boat. Yes, we have a 30 foot sailboat, a Grampian 30. Today my friend, Mr. Bill, and I were fixing the tarp to cover the boat while it sits outside for the winter. Protecting it from rain and snow is not the ultimate purpose; rather, it’s protecting it from the freeze-thaw cycle of late winter and spring. Nonetheless, it’s an annual chore since I can’t afford a nice, warm, dry space inside the storage hangars.

Yours Truly Winterizing the Boat

Yours Truly Winterizing the Boat

Mr Bill and I seemed to have picked the windiest day of the year to handle the tarps. At times I thought Mr. Bill was going to go para-sailing to the other side of the lake as the tarp billowed like a parachute, trying to lift him off the ground. We thought we would be in the quiet lee of the storage hangars but nature had other plans: gusts right down between the hangars like a wind tunnel. Talk about an exercise in frustration! After watching Mr Bill levitate, he was not chanting mantras at the the time, and feeling myself get almost blown of the top of the boat after being wrapped and almost strangled by a flapping, twisting, beating tarp, we decided to call it a day. The picture of me taping the tarp shows me at my intellectual and physical peak of the day, safely at an almost ground level. My hair, what there is of it, is merely blowing in the gale even though it looks as  though I have just french-kissed an electrical outlet.  But this is a no-nonsense blog sight that does not hide from showing harsh reality, at least today.

What the boating brochures and ads show is the glamour and romance of life and play on the water, with  distant shores, palm trees, and laughing crew and guests. Hah! The reality is engines that conk out at inconvenient times (usually when you have a harbour full of an audience, witnesses, or whatever); heads (toilets for the uninitiated) that love to plug up and not flush without blanketing the harbour in a bouquet of methane; scatalogically-challenged seagulls and pelicans; and the joy of the annual launch and haul-out saga, relishing the sight of your mother-ship dangling twenty feet in the air on the end of a thin crane cable;  boats do not like to winter in almost two metres of ice for months on end. But here in Gimli the season is so short. Sometimes it feels like it’s as much as two weeks, although I am sure it is longer by a week or two. Even then the wind is a dead calm or a howling gale, invariably dead on the nose.

You might ask why do I do it? The  answer is because. Why do people race cars, skydive, golf? To me these are all illogical activities but I respect their foolish, nonsensical, pointless choices even if they are incapable of respecting mine.

When there is an eventual, windless day the rest of the tarping will be completed, hopefully before the first snow. Last year it happened on October 5th. Brrr!

I Don’t Mow Snow

1 Feb

Wow! I missed January! Did January actually happen this year? Oh well, I was sunning my buns in Mexico while the driveway lay under a metre of snow in – 40 windchill weather. Maybe that has something to do with it.

The truth is out. I am a fair-weather driveway mower. Yup, I don’t do driveway snow mowing, especially when it’s endlessly repetitive, as this year seems to be.

Ice Fishing Shack

Ice Fishing Shack

For the first time there is an ice-fishing shack on the lake near the house. Never seen that before. With the temperatures this year and no protection from the wind it must get brutal in there. They must have to auger down beyond the usual two metres of ice. Last year the ice was gone from the lake in late April. I wonder how late it will be this year?

The snowmobilers have been out in force. They are ecstatic. When I go to the gas station to fill up the car I am now usually lined up behind a convoy of them: summer lineups behind cottagers and tourists; winter lineups behind snowmobilers; always a lineup. The country life is busier  and more crowded than most people think.

So I do appreciate palm trees, blue sky and water, and +29 C. There seems to be a lot of that in Puerto Vallarta.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Roadside Flower 1

Roadside Flower 1

Roadside Flower 2

Roadside Flower 2

There is colour everywhere in Mexico. Here are some examples. Anyone who knows the names of the unknown blooms let me know.

You see these flowers everywhere just growing on the roadside. and this is only a small sample.

Come Spring back home we do not get as any flowers due to the snow depth and coolness. The poor things have to struggle to get through an icy crust. With the micro-climate next to the lake our Springs are cooler by a few weeks than the highway two kilometres away. Crocuses and Daffodils are normally some of my favourites but not for Manitoba. Come June there will be Irises so those pics will come at a later time.

So let’s see how February shapes up this year. My mantra for the month will be “No mow snow,” (pun intended.)