mid January

img_1449Photos from a previous eclipse.

Cloud cover obscured this years lunar eclipse. The day before was nice and the day after. The night of the eclipse, the light of the moon could be seen through the clouds, but disappeared once it darkened in the Earth’s shadow. It will be awhile until another comes our way.

***

Lisa and I spent a few days in Calgary visiting our children and grandchildren. It was so nice to see them.

Lately, I have been reminded that my ‘stock has gone down’. As we age, society lets us know we are not as valued. I understand it. I can’t work the way I once did. Nor do I have as much to contribute, in taxes, energy, or innovative ideas. I have a hard enough time trying to get Netflix on the TV, let alone navigating the in’s and out’s of being a contributing citizen of, what seems like, a world I understand less and less with each passing day.

I know it’s only going to get worse. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not sure if I want to continue to contribute, just as long as I’m never a burden.

Going to the city always exacerbates these thoughts.

***

img_0918Cooper and Willow.

It’s tough being three. You get told what to eat, what to wear, and what to do. You get asked constantly if you have to pee, and if you say no, they say, maybe you should try.

I could tell Cooper was feeling some frustration. He is three and wants to do everything himself.

He doesn’t want to put mitts on or zip up his jacket. He wants to climb into the truck even though it take a long time. He doesn’t want to eat a decent breakfast, he prefers Eggos.

It is good to be a Grandpa. Him and I can team up. Cooper makes me feel needed and I. . . let him do what he wants.

We took Willow to the park. Willow had to be on a leash. Cooper was in charge of Willow leading her onward to mice, which there seems to be no shortage in the city. I told him, Willow wants him to be the boss. He liked that. Willow dug at the frozen ground and deadfalls for the mice tunnelling below.

Willow is not used to being on a leash but seemed to know the score.

Later we stopped at a restaurant and had soup, chicken fingers and fries. Cooper put enough ketchup on his plate to float a boat, I didn’t say a word, other than to ask him if he had to pee. He said no and I took his word for it.

***

IMG_0935.jpgScarlett getting her morning massage.

Scarlett, likes to sit with me in the mornings. Her hair and bangs are long and shade her eyes, before they are tied back for the day. She is as cute as a button and brimming with smiles and energy.  I can already see the strong headedness of her Mother and Grandmother. She has already made it clear that she will not take any guff her brother is handing out.

***

A litre of gas is 40¢ less a litre expensive in Alberta than BC. This amounts to about $60 less on filling up my truck in Alberta. Most of it is extra taxes we pay in British Columbia, including additional green house gas taxes.

The argument is the higher taxes will drive down consumption. I am sure it works. I know I don’t take as many trips into the bush. However, in BC, incredibly, many of the biggest polluters are exempt from the taxes.

The green house gas taxes go into general revenue, some used to pay for our already bloated public service or even given back to the largest polluters.

I live beside the train tracks. Several coal trains go by everyday taking the dirtiest fuel to ships on the coast to be burned for electricity in oversea countries.

Something tells me our politicians, regardless of stripe, really don’t give a shit.

***

The world seems more confusing. Then again, with age, things get simpler. Making a difference is right under our thumb. . . did I tell you about my grandkids?

img_0910Willow chews the log Cooper is sitting on.

Slip Slide and Away

_LME9541.jpgIt looks like something from a horror movie, but it’s just me leaving the light on so I know where to pee at night.

Still no snow in the forecast. Damn strange. I picked a helluva year to get a part time job plowing snow. Every morning regardless of the forecast I get up at 3 in the morning and look out the window for snow and to see if I should suit up for work. It really isn’t that big of a hassle, because at 3 am I’m usually due for a piss.

One night in December I got up looked outside. The snow was coming down in sheets. I grabbed a quick bite and headed out, only to find there was no snow, it was clear as a bell. Now I put my glasses on before I look outside.

Yesterday we drove behind the mountains up the creek. I parked in the snow on a slight incline. Willow and I got out for a look around. I only took a few steps before I noticed the truck rolling down the road backwards. Lisa, in the passenger seat, seatbelt still on, didn’t look impressed. I chased after the truck, jumped in and got it stopped.

I thought I’d left the truck in gear, but the warm weather had turned the roads to glare ice and the truck had started to slide. I found some chunkier snow to park on. I wasn’t impressed with the conditions.

Lisa said it was lucky I hadn’t fallen on the ice trying to stop the truck and had it run over me. I agreed, yes that was lucky. She is always looking on the bright side.

early 2019

rce_1741Willow keeps an ear out.

Went out to the bar tonight. It’s been awhile. My good friend turned sixty. Hunter was kind enough to come along. The food and beer was good. Everything is expensive. It has to be. $7 for a draft $20 for an appetizer.

***

It’s a new year. Not sure what to say about it. Last year was tough. We got by and in this day and age that’s a good thing. Maybe the most we can ask for. If lucky, this year will be much the same.

rce_1733The truck not yet stuck.

***

According to the news the world is topsy-turvy. Worse than ever, they say. But I don’t think it’s changed that much. Some things have got better, some worse.

One thing that has stayed the same is our leaders are a bunch of self absorbed arseholes. But when haven’t they been?

***

rce_1748Why I’m careful where I break trail.

We have had three days of above freezing temperatures. The lake has an inch of water on the ice. The snow has receded to the benches. The deer are walking around like it’s springtime. It’s disconcerting, I expect winter to be winter. I wake up and look outside to see if snow is falling. When it isn’t, I go back to bed but not to sleep.

rce_1747

***

Our occupation with the undoings of Trump and Trudeau is puzzling. They make good news.  However they are far from us. They are certainly scoundrels. But they take away from the more dangerous scoundrels closer to home. Think about that School Superintendent that works to cut wages in the district and gives himself a raise. How about all those developers that, selflessly run for town council changing bylaws for their own benefit. 

In 2019 fuck Trump and Trudeau and all their hype. It’s only a distraction. If you want to slay dragons, do it closer to home.

***

rce_1706A small Downey chips away.

The night is clear. Orion is up ruling the dark. The temperature is dropping. I should be in the bush, knee deep in snow, Willow clearing the perimeter, with only an outward breath between me and the sky.

we’re all running for something

slink

Tonight was an all candidate forum for the upcoming Municipal and School Board election. There are several candidates running who I know very little about. Also several incumbents who are stepping down so the council chambers is going to have a different look regardless.

This forum was a little different from others in the past. At the beginning of the evening each candidate was at their own table. People could sit with them and ask them questions.

When I arrived most candidates had at least a few people around their tables. The two that didn’t were the candidates vying for the sole School Board position. I was in luck because these were the candidates I wanted to ask a few questions. I asked them the same questions and came away with a better idea of what each brings to the position.

After the table discussions a more formal process took place where the candidates were able to introduce themselves, followed by questions submitted by the audience to named candidates.

Along with the School Board candidates were two candidates running for Mayor and six candidates running for four Councillor positions. One of the Councillors was not present. He is an incumbent. If I recall he missed the forum at the last election. He has a good reputation, perhaps election forums are not his thing. I was disappointed he didn’t show up as it goes with the job and speaks of his commitment.

Most of the questions were directed at the Mayor and Councillor candidates. Many were soft balls with each candidate taking a turn to espouse how much they care for the environment, how we need to explore alternative energy sources and, of course, sustainability, the buzz word of the night.

There were moments of importance throughout the evening. There isn’t any contentious issues on the books, however audience members got a glimpse of how each candidate will handle themselves under difficult circumstances.

Of interest, two Councillor candidates spoke about the motorboat pressure on Lake Windermere. Neither are on council now. It’s interesting, because the topic of pressure on Lake Windermere, mostly by tourists and second home owners has long been a topic not to be discussed, in case we are to dissuade the ringing of our businesses cash registers by our neighbours to the east. I found it encouraging they spoke up. It could very well be their political naïveté allowing them to do so. I could almost hear the incumbents (both business owners) bums clenching at the mere mention of the topic.

There are also two referendum questions on the ballot. Should the district ban plastic bags and should the district borrow 5 million dollars to buy a a parcel of riverfront property? The plastic bag question got nary a mention.

It was a good evening, though not well intended, which I take to mean most citizens are content.

For me, it was about learning a little about the candidates to help with my decision come October 20th.

Thanks to Imagine Invermere for putting on an informative evening.

smoke show

RCE_0894s

We had a touch of rain on Monday morning. The smoke has cleared enough to be able to see the mountains.

BC Premier, John Horgan toured some of the places hit by wildfire, shrugged his shoulders in front of the cameras, and said this could be our new normal.

You hear it a lot – this is our new normal.

It’s been two bad fire years in a row.

***

The garden seems to be wilting early. The tops of the spuds are dying off same as the onions. There is a couple of big holes in the garden where the peas and garlic were. The red cabbage has formed good heads and will do plenty of growing once it cools. The carrots are getting large the same as the Detroit Dark Red Beets. Every meal contains both prepared in some form or fashion, from grated raw to boiled to roasted or barbecued.

***

Perhaps it’s the heat or the orange haze that blankets everything. The mountains obscured, the traffic, the gentrification of downtown, yoga, soaps and massage, just another place of haves and have nots, the lake, misted, picturesque if not for the hundreds of motorboats running hither and yon across it’s surface, seemingly oblivious to sky, mountain, shore or water. It’s still summertime after all, but I can’t help feeling sad.

***

The mosquitoes are out in force. If you’ve read this far, you know I find them the least of summer irritants. The nights are getting longer. The moon is waxing gibbous, half full, not blood red. The constellations can be easily seen. The temperature will drop to 5° just before dawn. It feels good.

Everything’s fine I tell myself until it will be again.

Garden

RCE_1067sm

Crazy light when the smoke is thick. It’s like living in a greenhouse, hotter than hell, but no direct sunlight and no shadows.

Willow is hot yet game. She found a mouse under a boulder today. She couldn’t get at it so stripped all the vegetation around the rock. By the time we left, she was panting and the rock looked, out of place, like an astroid that fell from the sky. Luckily the mouse escaped unharmed, it probably has a major case of PTSD.

The garden is dry but chugging along. The spuds are good this year. The tomatoes are small but plentiful. They are coming ripe daily. The kale is still sweet and tender. The cabbage has formed nice heads and will do most of the growing in the fall.

 

hard brake

RCE_0870Venus going down through smoke.

I saw something today that bothered me. I was following a school district truck hauling a trailer with an industrial mower. Every time the driver touched the brakes the trailer brakes locked up. As he went around a corner the brakes locked and pushed him towards the cement barricade on the side of the road. Luckily the trailer wasn’t heavy enough to push him into the barricade and he was able to pull out.

I worked for the school district a few years ago. I cut grass and did just about every other thing I could to stay busy.

One of the men I worked with regularly was a real treat to work with. He was an angry individual, abusive to his wife and children. Working with him for several years I heard all his stories, about how hard done by he was, men’s rights, blaming feminism and all the ways he had been slighted in his life. It was certainly true he had a shitty upbringing. I heard all about it. At work he was mostly passive aggressive. He was a coward. Most people knew to stay away from him and only worked with him if they absolutely had to. Unfortunately I had to work with him often.

He would run to the union anytime he felt snubbed. He was only barely competent, doing the very least to get by. On occasions he would sleep during work hours in the operations van he was assigned. In short he was the perfect public union worker. His co-workers and management tried to stay clear of him. He built a nice secure job for himself.

While working at the school district I noticed the equipment I used was often tampered with. It was usually little things, like fuel valves being shut off or blade height being changed, air out of tires, nothing serious. I got in the habit of checking the equipment thoroughly before a shift and after lunch.

Even though I was the only one using the truck and trailer, the brakes would often lock on the trailer. That doesn’t happen very often and you start checking them every single time you get in the truck.

One day we were working together and he told me, in his previous job, working in the oil field on job sites, he would sneak into competing companies trucks and change the trailer brakes so they would lock.

It was his way of telling me what I already knew.

I knew there was nothing to be done, so said nothing and moved on. I took a lower paying job cleaning toilets in a primary school. I often joke, with pride, I am the only one who moved down the ladder in a union job at the school district.

***

That guy is still employed at the school district and always will be. Once folks like him find their place they stick. Public unions are like fly paper for incompetence, apathy and his kind of veiled antagonistic bullshit.

When I saw those trailer brakes lock in front of me today. It made me wonder if he was up to his old tricks.