Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rippin' Mad

     Now I'm a fairly cool and collected kind of boy. I don't get excited . It bothers me when somebody does show a loss of control.

    However, the other day I did get upset with myself.

   I decided to put a small bracket on my desk so that I could mount a fancy lamp. The desk has always been dark. The lamp was an extra so why not use it.
This should give me the precise light I want

My fancy block to attach the lamp

    I cut a piece of wood and sanded it nicely and painted it the same color as the desk. I attached the block of wood to the desk with four screws. I measured carefully. I drilled a hole in the block. I then used the drill tip to mark where I wanted the hole drilled in the desk. Here's where the wheels fell off the bus. To drill the hole in the block I needed  solid surface. I know! I'll use the desk. To begin with I watched carefully that the drill was over the edge of the desk. I was distracted and started again. I wondered why the drill hadn't gone through the block? Darn! The drill was going through the desk! A few choice words were said! Then I regained composure.

    I still had more painting to do. I filed the hole and painted it with the other touch up I had to do.

    It was a lame brained mistake. Am I the only one who makes this kind of mistake?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Surprising Coincidence

      Yesterday I went to a memorial for a long time neighbor. My wife persuaded me to go to the lunch after the memorial.

      A couple from Winnipeg came to sit at our table. Now Winnipeg is 1600 km (1000 mi) from us. Polite conversation was made such as what was their relationship to the deceased. My wife mentioned that she took her nurse training in Winnipeg. The other lady said, " Yes, she took nurse training in Winnipeg." So it only took a second to find out that they were in the same nursing school at the same time. Her husband and I rolled our eyes and said at the same time, "This could be a long time!" 

     The two women tried to make more connections by seeing who they knew. They shared their work experience. Meg was mentioned and her ex husband Harry. Winnipeg guy's ears went up as he knew Harry and had worked with him. These two guys had hung around together and some of the time at the nurse's residence to pick up girls.The conversation widened quickly with the third character having some ownership. There were some great laughs as connections were made.

    Finally, Winnipeg guy pointed across the table and said to my wife, "I took you out!" I happened to be watching my wife and her jaw dropped. My wife asked him his name and yes she remembered. Now the laughter became uncontrolled. Yes, they had gone out a few times. She had also gone to his parent's house a few times and remembered his parents as very supportive people.

   So what a surprising coincidence!  You sit with two people and try and be sociable and welcoming and then make an amazing discovery.  Have you made some surprising discoveries?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I Think I Blog Too Much

      Most people dream. Some dream often. Some have a recurring dream. Others have scary dreams. Some dreams are very realistic. There are probably a couple more kinds of dreams too!

     Last night I had a very realistic dream. I dreamed I was on a long bus trip from Saskatoon to Edmonton return. It was a school trip. I'm not sure if I was a teacher or a student or if the students were adults. That part was fuzzy in my dream. 

    The realistic part comes in when I dreamed that I left my nice red jacket in Edmonton. I was upset about leaving the jacket. Then I discovered that my nice red cap was missing. I was really upset. Had I left it at the last place we stopped? I stopped the bus to decide what to do. We decided to carry on as the cap was not worth driving the bus back to look for it.

    As soon as we got going on the bus I noticed a cap peak in front of me. I touched my head and there was the cap. The cap had been on my head all the time. I was embarrassed for having stopped the bus and making such a big fuss.

   I remember dreaming , "This would make a good blog post!" Then I woke up. It took me a minute   to come to my senses and realize that I had been dreaming. 

    So is this an indication that I have been blogging too much that I dream about it? Do you have dreams that seem very realistic until you wake up?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Volunteering Can Bring Surprises

       I am active in my community. I volunteer and serve on various boards and committees.

        I am a board member of a group which is providing some funding for another group's  project. The second group likes to do projects which are different and hopes that by demonstration they can influence the city to carry out projects which are much more environmentally sensitive. The group's name says it all.. Rethink Red Deer!

        The other day I volunteered to go on a walk to look at a piece of property for which they have a rehabilitation plan. The area is an old farm yard. The city has expanded and taken this land into it's boundary. They have also bought the property to hold for development. The farmer rents this land from the city. There was a cattle operation on the property so it's like many abandoned farmsteads...incredibly weedy. A stream meanders through the property. All native riparian species have disappeared long ago.

A very pleasant stream worth some restoration

The stream winds through the weed patch

No native plants are left

There's lots of overgrown grass
     The farm stead has been turned into community gardens. The gardeners are extremely fortunate as it's perfect gardening soil. 

    As we wandered though the property we saw what we guessed was the farmer repairing some machinery. Well, let's walk over and meet the farmer and introduce ourselves. At first, I didn't think he heard us so I repeated myself. I got a sound which certainly wasn't a word. We tried to ask for some background information about the area. We did get some one word answers but nothing else was volunteered. By this time we knew we were not welcome. He then wanted to know what we were doing. We told him about the project. Again there was a sort of grunt of some kind. By this time I thought we should maybe get out of there so I said, "Nice talking to you!" and we left.

    It was certainly one of the frostiest conversations I have had for a long time. It was a surprise for our group to run into such a reception. Nothing had warned us that there might be a negative reception.
    So volunteers have to watch out where they step or they could get a surprise. We are dealing with the city so have permission to enter the property and make plans. I suppose the farmer may not be happy as he may have had enough of dealing with city officials

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Street Got Paved

    This week my street got paved and it was an interesting operation to watch.

     Most paving jobs around here consist of grinding off some old pavement and laying a new coat on top. For this job they took off all the old pavement. Then they began working with the gravel base and spent lots of time to rearrange the base. I'd never seen that before. Finally, they came with the paving crew and did the paving.

    Now they went to a lot of effort to redo this street. However, it was originally done in 1965 so costing the old road over 49 years was a good deal. I hope this one lasts 49 years.

    Paving crews are very hard workers. This one was no different. they worked very hard. I asked one of the flagmen how long they'd worked that day and she told me 13 hours. They're a tough bunch.
Back and forth a 100 times.

The monster

There always has to be one worker taking it easy. This was the foreman and I think he was texting.

Just to make the females happy there were quite a few females on this crew and they did the hard work like everybody else.

My camera was to slow to catch this guy

One of the guys riding on the back of the paver and adjusting things 

Paving crews have more rakes than gardeners.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reluctant Handyman Strikes Again

      I have told a few stories about my limited handyman abilities. I accidentally got myself into a job the other day.

     I have been finding my that my cycling is more challenging so I watch for things on the bike  to make it easier. Last year I was riding on low tires which took much more effort. So the other day I was looking for dragging brakes, bent wheels or anything else that would slow me down. 

    I looked at the swing which moves the chain from the big sprocket to smaller sprockets. I noticed that the swing  may have been rubbing on the chain. I looked at it and thought it would be easy to make an adjustment. Just shorten or lengthen the cable like the brakes. Wrong!

  I shortened the cable and tried it. The chain went off the front sprocket. That's not right. I lengthened the cable. I couldn't get into the lowest gear. Okay I'll get smart. I'll put the chain just off the slide on the big sprocket. That didn't work. How about line the chain up with the slide on the small sprocket. It's still badly screwed up. 
Two adjustment screws and joints

The slide that swings and moves the chain from one gear to another.

    I began to slowly realize that this job was more complicated than I thought. I had neglected to notice the four movable joints in the slide. I had neglected to notice the two adjustment screws on the top of the slide. I hadn't noticed the adjustment screw on the gear shift. 

   Now what have I done? I've made myself a big mess. Aha! The Internet! On to the computer and look up Shamano swing adjustment. There it was! A step by step method to adjust the swing slide. 

   Chalk one up for the Internet. It got me out of a jamb.

   Do you use the Internet for information to repair things?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Peak Time

     A few weeks ago, July 6, I posted some vegetable garden shots. Things were doing well and the foliage was well developed. 

     Well , a few  weeks later, Aug. 6, and the foliage has gone wild. So this is foliage at it's peak. We've had lots of moisture and sun. 


    I've been eating onions for about 6 weeks. My peas are finished and my beans are being harvested every 3 or 4 days. I've had beets a few times and could eat carrots if all the other stuff wasn't at the peak of production. I now have ripe tomatoes and my corn is almost ripe. I'm one of these terrible people who just can't wait and check my corn every day. I'm hoping to be able to eat new potatoes any day.

   Produce directly from the garden is the greatest.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fort Normandeau

      A few posts ago I described a walk through the Maskepetoon natural area.

    Across the freeway and a mile up the river is Fort Normandeau. This spot on the river was known as the Crossing as it as a good place to cross the river. I've seen kids wade across in September when there is low water. This crossing was known and used by the aboriginals long before the white man came.

      In 1884 Robert Mclellan built a stopping house at the crossing. He had some horses ,cattle and grew some crops. In 1885 when the Reil Rebellion occurred the stopping house was taken over by the army and reinforced to make a fort.

     Now this area is a very pleasant stopping area for locals and tourists. The Fort was reconstructed in the 1960's as the old one fell into total ruin about ten years before. There is a small museum giving the history of the area. The area is abundant with natural habitat. When I went out last week the Saskatoons were ripe.

    The Fort has some chickens and a garden inside the walls. Inside the building there are many artifacts from the 1880's. My first picture inside the Fort and wouldn't you know it, the camera batteries died. So on another trip I will show the inside of the house.

The river widens and gets shallow so it's easy to cross

Work up a thirst and get some exercise to get your drink

The Fort garden

Entrance to the house

The Fort chickens

Overall view of the Fort

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why I Moved My Smoke Detector

      Last week my friend, Dee, fell and broke ribs , a vertebrae and had some spinal damage. It was a shock to say the least.

     Dee has lived in her house since 1965. She was about 26 when she moved into her house. Over the years you get comfortable with your house. You know your house. There are things the house tells you and you get to know ever part of it and how to use it. You tend to do the things you always did as a young person.  You forget that you get older.

    Dee was having a birthday party for a grand daughter and they were putting balloons up on the lights. The sturdy old oak pedestal table was used to climb up to the lights, just like it had always been used. This time it over balanced and Dee was pitched over the open stairway and fell to the bottom. She's lucky to be alive.

    It made me stop and think about risky situations and places in my house. I'm historically a risk taker. It was time to take a sober look at things.

    The first thing that came to my mind was a smoke detector at the top of my stairs. The smoke detector had been placed so that it was above the second step down. So as you changed a smoke detector battery, not only were you on a step ladder at the top of the stairs, you had to lean out over the stair well. That's the point at which I said ,"This risk has to be eliminated." 

The two screw holes show how far I moved the smoke detector so that it wasn't over the stairs.

Look way up and see the tiny little smoke detector

    So I learned something out of Dee's tragedy.

    I hope others will look around and change risky situations or behaviors.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I'm Still Alive!

    Well, some people may not be happy that I'm still here! I will carry on anyway.

     My modem crapped out and it took a few days to get a new one.

      I missed reading the blogs, commenting and hearing what you had to say.

    Tomorrow I will start on my regular routine of reading commenting and reading and posting great comments.

     As for previous posts, I will do my best.

    It's nice to be back.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Steven Harper:Small and Petty

     By now you know that I am no fan of our Prime Minister, Steven Harper. In general , I disagree with his economic and social policies.

    However, every once in a while Steven Harper out does himself and  shows how petty and small he can be.

   Therese Casgrain is a well known and liked Canadian whose work got the vote for women in Quebec in 1940. She was politically active all her life and was a Canadian senator for a short time. An award was set up in Casgrain's name honoring volunteers. There was a prominent photo of Casgrain in the parliament buildings honoring her and publicizing the award.the award.

    Now this is where Harper steps in. The photo was taken down and the awards were cancelled. All of this was done without consultation. In its place Harper established a Prime Minister's award that features him with prominent photo and all. All those who receive the award get their photo taken with the Prime Minister.

    Now how small and petty is this little shenanigan? Take away an award honoring some one else. Set up an award in it's place featuring yourself.

   There is no room in our society for such little self centered people.