warm spell

that damn moon

+ 5 all day. melt coming off the roof. clouds gathering on the shoulder of mountains. walking in puddles. still warm air. feeling good.

long shadows

It is amazing what can be determined with math. Distances covered, to the top of the mountains, to the sun and the furthest galaxies. I don’t understand, but I understand shadows and how they correspond to distance. You learn looking at avalanche chutes and climbing routes when the sun is about to set. It can’t be mastered without turning it into numbers. Still you can get by just looking into the shadows.

waiting

Taking the snow off the trees.

Woke up to +2 temperatures with the stars out. Unheard of at this time of year. It is never above freezing and clear. By light up it had clouded over. During the day it reached +5. A helluva difference from the -30 a week ago. The roads will be a skating rink if it dips again.

The rain is falling on frozen ground. Everything will have a pebble come morning. Being not as sure on my feet as I used to be I’ll tie a cushion to my ass just to be safe. No sense wearing helmet, nothing left up there to damage.

***

The good thing about a chinook in January is it puts a new sheen on the skating rinks. The skim of water fills the skate marks and cracks. Natures Zamboni. Loved it when I was a youngster.

***

The tourist crush has slowed. Still plenty around and I can’t blame them. Tough to keep people with the means in one place. They prefer scattershot to taking aim, hitting as many places as they can instead of looking down the barrel. Thats luxury in any era.

***

Travel

Regardless, this warm spell has me wondering instead of wandering, which could be slippery. My good friend Dave says I should know the difference between the two. Good advice in January.

this & that

A nice weekend. They sure fly by. Lisa and I did manage to get out for a couple walks. Last weekend we went snowshoeing and wanted to try and get out this week but couldn’t find the time.

***

I had to replace my windshield wipers on my truck. I looked at the flyers and saw they were on sale at NAPA. I hadn’t been in there for years. The last time was not a great experience. Overpriced shit with dipshit clerks. However, that was years ago.

Time to give them another chance I thought. The first thing I noticed when I went in was the four people in there, two at the counter sitting at stools and two clerks on the business side were not wearing masks, even though they are mandated by the Provincial Government for businesses. Not a big deal I thought, even though my mask was firmly pulled snug over my nose.

Dust was on the product and shelves. I found the wipers but nothing marking the ones on sale in the flyer. A matter a fact, nothing had a price on it. I understand this is done because automotive stores have different pricing for different customers. Automotive mechanics get the lowest pricing, I expect to pay the highest. Which is okay with me as long as I get decent service.

Now this is where NAPA let me down. Even the four jokers at the counter were doing sweet bugger all not one of them asked if they could help me. A matter of fact none of them even looked in my direction. I could have been naked with dynamite strapped to my torso and I don’t think they would have even noticed. Most automotive stores have a chart beside the wipers that tell you which ones fit your vehicle, this place didn’t have that handy chart.

One of the guys kept telling his story that ‘fuck’ was every second word. I doubt he would have told it differently if I had of been standing there with my grandkids.

So I left, climbed back into the truck with Lisa, told her, regardless of new management NAPA is the same old place.

We drove up to Canadian Tire and 5 minutes later I had new wipers on the truck. Also got a better price than what NAPA advertised in their flyer.

***

The sun went down this afternoon and the sky turned red. It was brilliant while it lasted.

We are expecting some warmer weather this week. I have to say I’m looking forward to it.

***

Covid cases are spiking again. It seems the experts and government advice this time, with the Omicron strain being milder, is to let the virus run its course. The messaging through our health system and legitimate news sources (CBC) is all over the place, often contradicting themselves. 

The truth is they probably don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than any of us.

The anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers are all yelling from rooftops, ‘WE WERE RIGHT’! The vaccine didn’t work, even though it prevented death when the more virulent strains were dominant, and their other mantra ‘COVID IS NO MORE THAN A COLD’! Excuse the nearly 5.5 million people who have died worldwide from participating in the joy.

I’m not sure what I would prefer more; dyeing from Covid or listening to the noisy conspiracy theorists celebrating.

***

Perhaps the best thing to do, is stop trying to think we can save the world, or even think we can make a difference, and start laughing at it. There is plenty of comedy being peddled.

Early 2022

A couple pictures from 2022.

Happy New Year! A very fine day. First footed Deb this morning. Lot’s of laughs and some special coffee, made extra sweet to ward off the chill. Willow and Maynard enjoyed a few treats. Kurt and I talked about our diminished cocks. . . it’s tough to know when to replace an old rooster.

The geese and their business.

Lunch at Kelsie and Tom’s. I lost a basement soccer game against Cooper 8-10. I was tripped at one point and rolled around trying to draw a yellow card. He just laughed and punted the ball in the net.

Hunter and I headed out into the bush, in the afternoon, to give the hounds a run.

Even the snow under our feet gets interesting. It is the consolation prize for getting on.

Willow and Pedley are still getting used to each other. Willow is not fond of puppies. Pedley is trying hard to get Willow to like her. Willow is not much for playing, however they seemed to enjoy the snow and a few sticks thrown for their amusement. Hunter commented that he hopes Pedley doesn’t pick up any of Willow’s bad habits. I secretly hoped Hunter doesn’t pick up any of mine.

Willow catching snowflakes.

If you are reading this, all the best in 2022.

Rest

The Columbia River freezing. If it backs up far enough it will take out bridges. It’s good to see a small glacier advancing regardless of season.

It has been so nice for Lisa and I to have a few days to spend with family. We have been fortunate to all be in good health with plenty of food to share. Last year we said we would figure out a way to be together come hell or high-water.

It’s turned chilly at about -25°c. Tomorrow is back to work and it’s supposed to get colder with the windchill. I’ll probably be in a plow cleaning up parking lots, shovelling off walkways and tending to guests minimal problems.

With the Covid Omicron strain running rampant I will be ducking my duties with guests unless it’s urgent. What is urgent – fire and flood, everything else can wait. My job description doesn’t include getting Covid because somebody doesn’t know how their DVD player works.

However, I am a realist, due to how quickly this variant is spreading, I get the feeling we all are going to have trouble staying out of this disease’s path.

Steamboat mountain at the left. Sitting in the middle of the Columbia. Like a big steamboat or where the river boats could be heard signalling to the ragged folks watching them pass?

The sky has been deep blue on occasion, the snow covered mountains incandescent in the sun long after the valley bottom is in shadow.

I woke up early this morning to chase stars. It was overcast. I went outside to make sure, and saw light spikes to the NE. I knew what they were right away. The air had ice crystals and the lighted billboards along the highway were shining straight up.

They looked cool, some of them shined then dimmed. It’s Christmas. I thought it would make a good shot, but it represents everything I hate; light pollution, billboards with faces of realtors, standing sky-high, selling off the valley to the wealthy oil executives to the east. And also the plight of the people on the Shuswap Nation that feel they have no other option but to do business with these arseholes. Not that that is an excuse. I can only try to understand.

The snow beneath our feet.

Once the sky goes down for good after a day of shining strong the landscape turns grey, ground to sky. That’s when our lives become real.

For me, I protect what I love and tell them a bright day is coming again tomorrow.

Boxing Day

A wonderful Christmas with most of our children around. We missed Maddy and Chad.

Lot’s of food, of course, and presents.

Cooper and Scarlett couldn’t believe their luck and must have figured they’d been good for the entire year. Food and presents kept coming.

We missed out last year. Considering everything that went on with the pandemic, we were determined not to be apart again.

If there is a lesson to be had, it’s how to stay together in a world that we are told is crumbling.

Everything that comes over our table has truth and some fabrication. I still stick my nose out at night to test the temperature and see if the snow is falling.

It’s cold and I like it. Frozen boots with warm socks. Ice hanging off the river’s edge. Eyelashes thick with frost. Breath freezing into shapes like a Genie coming out of a lamp. Snow, swift, kickable under step. The wood splitting easy at 20°.

dark skies

The clouds part for a glimpse of morning stars.

Been out a few times looking for Comet Leonard. So far no luck seeing it. The clouds and snow have made it difficult.

The bright stars of Orion can be seen, through the clouds, in the east before work.

Here and there the stars shine through. With luck we will get a crisp cold spell and the accompanying clear skies that go along with it.

Bah

The snow has been falling all day. Shovelled the paths a couple times to break it up. At minus 10 celsius its light, a pleasure to move.

Tomorrow I’ll be on a plow, digging out tourists in small cars.

Santa rolled by this evening, I went outside and wished him a Merry Christmas. This Santa has a booming voice kind of like our mayor. He mustered a quiet ‘Merry Christmas,’ back. If he was off his sleigh I might give him a kick in the nuts if it didn’t forever put me on the naughty list. And when I say nuts I mean the uncracked ones, Brazil, Walnuts and Pee Cans. It’s Christmas after all.

The good neighbour always makes me laugh.

Mid December

Lake Windermere, it’s never been much for me to imagine a glacier running ridge to ridge.

A few cold nights coming on. I am building a rink for Cooper and Scarlett.

I have never built a backyard rink. No need because we live so close to the lake.

However, kids are not allowed to wander like they used to, plus it might be nice to watch the kids skate while I get supper ready.

The problem is the land isn’t level. There is going to be 10″ of ice on one side and an inch on the other.

Copper and Scarlett have a lot of energy. This will do them well.

Willow helps dragging the Christmas tree to Lisa’s delight.