Belly ache

The body has been aching. I have the job of taking out 80 old mattresses and replacing with new. Some are up three flights of stairs. Most are king size. My main job, I keep reminding myself, is not getting hurt.

I am about half way there. I counted 40 in the underground.

About the only thing I have to offer an employer is my strength. Of course getting old is going to limit my worth. I don’t blame them. No big defined government pension awaits to soften the blow. That’s my own fault too!

I’ll hang in there as long as I can.

In the meantime the first beer tasted good. Give me another.


I grew up with the sound of dogs barking and trains going by. It has been replaced with the rev of motor boats and car alarms. That does something to you.


People walk by with dogs on leashes. They never bark. Not the dogs, not the people. Willow hates the leash and barks plenty. I let her. I think all the silent dogs scare her.

Deep December

Spent most of the day cleaning the house. Lisa did the bulk of it. She doesn’t like knick knacks or clutter so cleaning goes pretty fast. I like doing the bathrooms, vacuuming, the easy stuff. 

Lisa asked me to tidy up the basement. That’s where the bulk of my stuff is. Books, books, and more books, papers, journals, negatives, pictures, knives, sports equipment and old furniture. 

There is no good reason to hang onto all that stuff. It is not valuable, it’s only worth something to me by the memories it evokes.


We also have plenty of supplies. Mason jars on a rack.  Preserves from last summer that will be eaten up plenty this Christmas.

A full freezer bursting at the seems. CBC and Chrystia Freeland keep warning Canadians the economy, climate and world order are going to hell. Grocery prices are high and going higher.

I don’t know what to do, so I buy a piece of meat and put it away for when we are starving.

The way things are going we’ll have to buy another freezer.


Plenty out there waiting to get us. I wonder if we would be safer if I turned off the news.


The bank has been calling. They want to know what to do with the small amount of money in my pension plan earned while working for the government. It comes due every year. I usually turn it over at the lowest rate of return.

They tell me the money is going to be eaten away by inflation. I know what they are saying. They tell me it may as well be stuffed in a mattress.

They look at me like the fool I am, little do they know, my freezer of meat get’s more valuable every day.


Can you blame the youngsters for not wanting to contribute. It seems like a lost cause. 

Unlike when we grew up, they don’t want material things, that’s been drummed out of them long ago; they will never afford it, they only want stability, a promise for a future that doesn’t involve endless war and environment destruction.

The shit is coming at them like driving 90 in a snowstorm. You either get blinded or hypnotized, it takes everything you have to keep it out of the ditch. 


Still when it is all tallied, everyone on earth has done this, it’s been an experience.


Late November

A River Otter shows interest in Willow and I. I have a new camera and am still getting used to it. This was taken in low light and I was disappointed my focus wasn’t as sharp as it could be.

It seems winter has caught up with us. Not a lot of snow, but it is coming. The temperatures have cooled down. Yesterday it was minus 19. Cold enough.

Ruffed Grouse. Focus on point.

Lisa and I have been busy with our various jobs and with family. We are old enough to know how important it is to make time for the people we love, especially our grandkids, Cooper and Scarlett.

Canada geese

Winter is my favourite time of year. The air feels good. The snow is fresh, plainly cleansing the mountains and valley bottom. The streams run strong depositing icicles on the low hanging branches. And not least of all, the slippers, covers and fireplace all feel good after a day outside. That’s the old man in me talking.

Join me for a skate on the Lake Windermere. This was about a week ago before the snow flew. The ice isn’t very thick, but to get out there in November is always a treat.

Ospreys defending

It is good to see the Ospreys back. They are whistling overhead finding dry sticks for their nests. I watched two put the run on a much bigger Bald Eagle. Not uncommon, especially when Ospreys defend their nest. This is early for confrontation.


There is a a passage in the Daniel Woddrell Book, Winter’s Bone, where a young girl of 16, Ree, left looking after her two younger siblings, watch a neighbour and relative skinning deer.

The young women and her young brother and sister are hungry. One of the siblings asks his older sister that they should ask for some of the meat.

The young women scolds her brother and says, you never ask for what should be offered.

It is a poignant moment.

It must be something about being poor or not ‘well off’. Perhaps you become your own worst enemy.

Still to ask for something, even deserved, is not in their DNA. It is either offered or not. They are at the mercy of the fairness of others. And others often have another agenda that doesn’t concern itself with charity, fairness or merit. Instead they are always concerned with their own advancement.


As I get older these people are easier to detect. They are a dime a dozen and make up the majority. Instead of out right asking for something, I point out how it would be in their best interest to grant the request. In other words, make it their idea.


Recently, I was overlooked. Many people have been annoyed at me for not fighting, not being mad. Still you have to stand by Ree Dolly, never asking for what should be offered. I am fine with that and tired of being angry.


A quiet weekend for Lisa and I. We got in a couple walks in the +2 temperatures. A nice change from the cold.

The kids are recovering from Covid and we missed them this weekend. Luckily they were not hit too hard. Our top doctors across the country now say it is inevitable that we all will get it. The protocol at the resort I work at, is to let the virus run its course as, they say, Covid is now just a cold, and also to show up for work as long as you are not too sick. Considering Lisa and I have elderly loved ones in our lives we are erring on the side of caution. With that said we sure have missed our grandchildren.

Been keeping an eye out for auroras to the north, unfortunately the night skies are cloud covered during this warm spell. However, the wet and warmth really saturates the colours of the mountains and creek beds. The greys, my favourite colour Lisa says, come alive in the clouds, sky, mountain side and water.

I found two veal shanks at the store today for $7. Rib roasts were going for $55 per/kg. A 4lb roast was $110. I wondered if anybody would pay that price or if it would go to waste. CBC says we are in for a good bout of inflation.

The shanks and bones are cooking now. We are looking forward to them. If inflation gets too bad I may have to sight in my rifle and buy some shells.

Down at the creek today I looked into the deep pools for fish. My eyes are bad so it ain’t easy. One, good sized, turned on its side and flashed silver like a falling meteor. It felt good to know they’re down there.

It seems each day we lose more. We lose the backroads, the fields we used to run, the watercress in the creeks, the giant firs thicker than logging trucks, the night sky given away polluted with satellites promising internet, the gentrification of hometowns everywhere across Canada, while characters with grumpy dispositions and sawdust in their boots die off and are replaced by more realtors, brokers, politicians and, so called, professionals. People who, when asked, can’t explain what they do.

It has dipped below freezing. The skim of water will become treacherous under foot as I grow older.

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.

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.


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.

On Top

Mines, farms and clearcuts take away from the blue sky above the Purcells.

Monday after being off for three days. The truck fired up no problem since I put in a new battery. The windows needed scraping. I jumped in. The radio started. Peter Frampton, Do You Feel Like We Do. Monday felt better all of sudden. It was the fourteen minute version that just about gets me to work, even with a stop for coffee. I was rolling in when it ended, expecting some talk, instead the radio doubled down, Creedence, Fortunate Son. I had to stay in the truck till it finished risking being late. By the time I walked in for my shift I was jacked. Monday was beat before it started.

A mature Ram takes a sniff for something to rut with. Luckily he didn’t consider me anything but a nuisance.