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.

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°.

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.

Ronald Ernest Ede

My brother Ron was laid to rest today. He passed away a couple weeks ago. It has thankfully been busy to keep my mind occupied. My bones have hurt, head, joints, I haven’t been able to think proper. Last night I wrote his eulogy. Not really a eulogy but a few stories. It wasn’t hard to come up with stories as we shared plenty of times together. My Sister Wynanne spoke wonderfully and said so much, things I wanted to say. Our Sister Deb with Kurt sang a beautiful rendition of Go Rest High On The Mountain.

Ron was eight years older than me and kept me from plenty. Times were not easy when we grew up. The truth is they were harder for him than I. Plenty was expected from him. That goes with the territory when your father gives you his name.

We fit in some good times and I learned a lot from Ron. I was always welcome to go through his records and magazines. They were a treasure trove of information for the young me. I swear I learned to read reading Penthouse Forum.

When I was sixteen he took me down to Montana where we went from one down and out bar to another. We were always one step away from getting into fights. It was probably the size of his arms, the jagged scar across his chin and his gregarious nature that kept us out of them.

One of those nights, at a topless bar, we stayed until closing. We found ourselves on the street at 3am with nowhere to go. Another patron with the same problem as us started in on me verbally. Of course he was older and bigger. Ron thought it was funny. The guy said he’d just been released from prison and I didn’t doubt it. I figured I’d get in the first shot and I’d make it a good one. While the guy blabbed on trying to rile me, I reached into my pocket and arranged the coins into my closed fist into a column. The guy didn’t see me but Ron did. Ron stepped in and put the run on the guy without lifting a finger. The guy was never a threat, I just didn’t see it. Ron said he wasn’t worried about me, he just didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in jail. He also said, if you are smart you don’t have to fight. That advice probably came at the right time in my life.

When you are born in 1956 you could go on to be a modern man or you could live a life similar to your Father and Grandfather. Men who’s only way was to push feelings down. I think Ron did this and like his father and grandfather it caught up with him. Some people inherit feelings. I believe Ron inherited his Grandfather and Father’s horror of war and their mental anguish. 

About ten years ago Ron with the help of his wife Leslie, who has always been by his side, quit drinking. I never asked, but I suspect he had to lay some of those inherited demons to rest. His Grandfather and Father would have been proud.

When Ron was diagnosed with cancer he faced it with determination, grace and never felt sorry for himself. He always said, he should have been dead long ago from liver or lung cancer, the rare form of blood cancer he caught seemed like a joke to him.

The past two weeks since Ron has passed many people have expressed their condolences to me. Some have said how unfair his death has been, because he was able to put away the alcohol, perhaps a longer life should have been promised. I don’t think Ron felt his cancer was unfair. I don’t think he thought fairness had anything to do with it. He told me, it is hard to feel sorry for yourself when he saw people much younger, in the clinics and hospitals, facing their own battles with cancer.

I’ve spent a lifetime learning from my brother. I’ve followed him around all these years and am going to miss him paving the way.

late sept

Willow enjoys a carrot.

Pure skies. Lisa, Cooper, Scarlett, and I looked outside before bed. We were getting a few fresh breathes. The conversation switched to stars. Seriously. We started talking planets and constellations. Was Cassiopeia a W or an upside down M? Where was Neptune? I couldn’t point to a direction. If it won’t show it’s face I won’t give it the time of day. . . or night. Screw you Neptune! The Cassiopeia WM, on the other hand is a quandary of significant importance. Scarlett can print MOM in big bold letters. I turn the paper over, making it look like a mistake, saying, it says WOW! So when she sees the letters in the stars she knows what they have in common.

While we looked a bright meteor streaked down the side of Perseus. We all saw it. What are the chances? Lisa said, make a wish. The next day Scarlett admitted she didn’t make a wish. I confessed neither had I, why be greedy.

hounds

Gemma walks around without purpose, she is getting old, but she loves it, like she can tell, the trees get tall for a reason and the creeks swell by the season on time.

It bothers Willow not able to give her a bark and return her to earth. She tries the same to me on occasion. So far, I listen

I guess our final wish is to run wild, jumping, getting tangled in leashes that are placed around our necks. Once they are off, it is a startled surprise there is no were to go.

Gemma

Orchids

Mountain Orchid

Lisa and I had a good trip up the pass on the weekend. It has been busy.

We had an eye out for wild orchids. We caught sight of plenty of Venus Slipper’s and even a few rare Yellow Lady’s Slipper’s. The Venus was especially prolific. These small orchids are only about three to four inches high, but stand out among the moss on the damp forest floor.

Calypso Orchid.

The next two wild orchids to appear will be the showy Wood and Franklin.

On another subject, we had a light frost this morning. It doesn’t look like it damaged any of the plants, however, I had to put the run on two small buck mule deer with nub velvet horns that decided to trim two of my flower baskets.

Willow sniffing out the Orchids.

Spring birds

A Rufus waiting me out, in the shade, the sun not lighting it’s iridescent wings.

Willow is distracted by birds, even bothered by them, she is the only dog I’ve had that is so. It could be from the time when she was a puppy and we would give her a bone on the front lawn. The Crows would hoover, distract her and steal her bone. It was funny to watch. I know she didn’t share my sense of humour.

Willow barks at Crows and Ravens like they are a burglar breaking through the front door. I appreciate it out in the bush. Crows and Ravens follow bears around and it gives me a heads up.

But at home it can be embarrassing when she scares off a Hummingbird or Song Sparrow, with her loud bark, their only crime having the audacity to hoover or sit on the garden fence. The Robins especially get a kick out of her, leading her this way and that.

Willow is not the dog you want on bird watching expeditions. I stand between them with hopes they will someday get along. The fact is they already are and I’m the lone man out.

mid may

Morning light.

Was up the pass this morning. Lisa and I got higher with the week of warm weather and snow melt. The Calypso Orchids have stems, yet no blooms. Next weekend for sure. It’s still early.

Watchful eyes.

The garden is all up. Considering I usually don’t plant until next week, we are ahead of the game. Next week I’ll plant the beans and put in the tomato and zucchini plants. Lisa and I are looking forward to a good feed of greens.

Trees before mountains.

The rhubarb is up and ready to be eaten. The sun is shining still coming up slanted and going down so. It’s a good time of year.

Willow wearing her Thunder Vest in the truck, so excited to get out in the bush.

late march

Willow digs for mice. She had a good hole going. Snuffing and biting the thawed ground. Once and awhile she would stop and listen for movement under the ground and then furiously start digging again.

Our walk today took us up on the benches. The truck ride there was mud, snow, ice and lots of running water; melt flowing right on time.

Lisa told me sometimes she shuts her eyes when I’m driving the backroads when the trip gets hairy. She doesn’t like the feel of the truck sliding sideways or backwards. I told her at this time of year it is unavoidable.

We walked to where Ara and Slinky continue to watch the valley bottom. The tall grass was flattened from the winter snow. The new stuff was busting through. Still not enough birds for my liking.

***

On my day off I worked at a print shop. It felt good. Most of my life I’ve worked in printing or newspapers. I’ve done everything from working the darkroom to driving the paste-up pages to the press.

Working in the industry felt good. I never had to question my technique or method. I relied on experience. It was the same on my day off, like getting back on a bike.

I am a maintenance man now. Printers are a dying breed. Nobody reads anything on paper anymore. Toilets and heaters always need fixing. Every time something goes wrong I have to dial up Google to tell me how to fix it. It is usually an easy fix.

Printing on the other hand is hard, but always feels good.

This is one of those ‘good old days posts’.

***

Spring clouds from the benches.

Spring. Wind with empty tree branches flailing. Sunshine, sure, but with interruptions. Two Juncos in different locations surely must be a sign. Crows baying picking their spots. Ice melting south to north.