It is a sad, sad day. My trusty purse, aka the Black Hole is going to have to go where all faithful purses eventually end up. I do not discard it lightly; it has served me so well. I bought it not for its high fashion but for its functionality. In truth, it's functionality was never stellar; I called it the Black Hole for a reason. Inside, there is one zippered pocket and a couple of "open" slots. The rest? The Black Hole. I have lost my keys in it; I have lost receipts in it and my phone has disappeared into its dark depths. Every thing has weaknesses balanced by virtues. The Black Hole has room for my iPad and a book if I want. When I traveled through England, Wales and Scotland, it carried my iPad and other "things" with never a complaint. It has survived rain and trips on the floor of trains, planes and automobiles. This morning the strap broke- metal fatigue. Sigh. You can't see but there is a swivel where it attaches to the body of the bag and it isn't repairable. I supposed I could try to sew it to the purse but people who know me are already laughing. The only thing I can do is let it go. Good-bye Black Hole, my faithful servant.
May Long Weekend in Canada celebrates the birth of Queen Victoria. I'm not sure she'd be amused at the shenanigans of some people. It's often the first really outdoor weekend of the year. Camping is on the agenda for many, gardening for others and just plain kicking back in the nice spring weather. That's not how it always turns out. This year Calgary may record its coldest May long weekend ever and there was snow, rain and cold all over the province of Alberta. Welcome in the north. More than welcome around Fort McMurray. Not so much for those who had planned hiking, camping or fishing.
Because we're retired we were able to leave Wednesday for a small lake an hour east of us. We got in three days of decent weather and as you can see the fishing was fine. This string of rainbow trout was caught Saturday afternoon. The lake is stocked and these are between two and three pounds. Gary will smoke his- they taste like salmon and we'll have the neighbour over for a beer in the backyard when the weather improves. Yes, it got cold and windy and we came home early, Sunday instead of Monday. The rain we got was certainly needed and will make crops and gardens viable. The timing could have been better.
I think it is karma. Hot on the heels of my story acceptance, an email landed in my mailbox, saying thanks but no thanks. It wasn't as cruel as the stamp on the right but it stung a little. I had, to be honest, forgotten where I'd sent the story; I thought it was horror but I don't read horror stories much any more. Stephen King - because, well, Stephen King. The email was a form email and I will read the story again. Just maybe it belongs in a drawer. I could never bring myself to totally toss my golden words but maybe these aren't for the rest of the world. A little irony- I created an email folder for rejections and it's gaining a healthy number. I added the email from Hello-Horror, the magazine I'd sent my story to. In the email rejections was one from The Fieldstone Review. I had forgotten that I'd sent a non-fiction piece to them as well as my accepted story. I have a few stories that need editing before they can be sent home. Rejection from one place isn't the final word.
Last night at 8:30, I took my iPad to scroll and gasp, a message popped up to indicate there was no wifi connection. My stomach clenched. How could it be? When I went to the settings, I tried to re-connect to wifi and was prompted to enter my password. It's a convenient string of numbers and letters, kindly provided by Telus. No matter how carefully I entered the password, no connection. Next I checked my laptop. No wifi for it, either. I didn't bother to try connecting. Even I could tell something was wrong. And it was a bit puzzling because my phone indicated it was still connecting.
Sigh. Time to call Telus Technical Support. I have to admit to impatience and backing this story up a bit, I had "embarrassed" my daughter at a Telus store by being nasty. Deep breaths. After listening to some truly horrifying music over my crackly old cordless, I got to speak to an agent. There were a few things he did and then I had to unplug the modem. Good grief. There is a snarl of wires and our phone and new fibre optic "stuff" is all in one power bar. I did untangle enough to get the modem off-line and give it the 5-10 seconds to re-set. That didn't work so the technician put me onto a new channel. Apparently, there are channels and they have a limit to amount of data they can carry. The good news is the new channel worked and when I was directed to my laptop, I went to the speedtest.net site and my download and upload times were within the range they should be.
And this morning??? I still have wifi. A scrolling, I will go.
Unless the weather is bad- blizzard, monsoon or cold, I walk my dog, Scruffy. We go the same way most days. The small town I live in has provided wonderful trails and part of them goes through the Bevans Nature Centre. You never know what you'll see or who you'll meet. Yesterday morning I was a little earlier and this little guy was sitting on one of the paths off the main trail. He's a bush bunny and although it's only the middle of May, he's a nice brown shade. Our presence didn't bother him much; Scruffy didn't even see him.
Overhead, there were at least two woodpeckers, rap-rap-rapping away. I could hear them but I couldn't see them. The poplar "fluff" is piling up along the side of the trail and it looks a little like delicate snow.
We met a gentleman that I don't know but he looked at me and said, "It's the lady with the little dog that's always smiling." Another woman who was walking her dog told me that the trails have expanded to provide a different route if you're bored. (I'm usually not.) Right now it's gravel but in the future will likely be asphalt covered.
There is nothing like the air right now. Lilacs are starting to bloom and their scent fills the air. Walk a bit farther and Mayday trees provide a whole new olfactory experience.
Some days I don't want to walk but feel obligated to take Scruffy. (That's another confession for another time.) Most times, even on blustery, cool days, about 1/3 of the way along, I start to feel better. My mood improves and the rest of the day seems brighter.
I'm looking forward to this summer's walks. Free and the best therapy I've found.
We have always camped and as the weather warms up, we are looking forward to the 2016 season. In the day we tented and it was fine until the night in Yellowstone Park. We arrived on a beautiful warm day and set up. There was time for a walk and as we were admiring the lake, we asked a warden if it was a good place to swim.
He said, "I guess. The water's only 40 degrees." That was Fahrenheit, just 8 small degrees above freezing. We didn't catch on. The night, we tossed and turned and tried to get to sleep in the biting cold which our thin sleeping bags were no match for. If you turned to one side, the other side was too cold. By morning, we hadn't slept and even our young bones ached. We packed up, noticed the water frozen in a pot we'd left out, and waited with the car heater blasting for the restaurant to open. Call us chicken but we didn't tent again that trip. We headed home and that night had a cozy sleep in a hotel in Helena, Montana.
Camping evolved. We next ventured forth in a Bonair tent trailer, the smallest they made. It had an ice box and, of course, a propane stove. Cold was a deciding factor again. The August our daughter was 21/2 years old, we spent some uncomfortable times in the tent trailer. It was okay for adults but not so great for a little kid. The year our son was born we "upgraded" to a truck camper. We had great times in it; it didn't need hookups like electricity at all. There was nothing but the fridge that we ran on propane. There was a furnace.
By the time we had a small fifth wheel trailer, the kids had left but it served us well for 17 years. Then we lived in it in Edmonton while my husband took 37 radiation treatments. We were almost at the stage of chasing one another about the campsite with machetes, when I thought he might enjoy "looking" at the new trailers.
Looking turned out to be buying and we now have an "entry level" fifth wheel trailer. They've evolved, too. At 26 feet, this is the smallest model. It features microwave, fridge, stove, and tv. It isn't really camping but it's nice to have some of the amenities now that we're, ahem, older. Glamping, it is.
Yup, that's me on my first day of school in September 1953. The white truck behind me is a 1952 Chev, the only brand new vehicle my Dad ever bought. My blazer was red as was the blouse underneath. I remember it yet. My hair is naturally straight but Mum loved curls. You can see the result.
I was excited. Going to school at last. The teacher would show me how to read and the neighbourhood kids would all be there. My school? Giles (named for Giles James, a local settler). It was one of the last one room schools to run in the district and students studied in grades one-nine. In those days there was no kindergarten.
My lifelong enthusiasm for education must be in the DNA. My Grandfather, John Trefiak, was one of the early school trustees. My father's cousin Annie Trefiak taught at the school both when she was single, Miss Trefiak and after she was married, Mrs. Churchman. The school I attended wasn't the original. It was in the same yard and the old school was the community hall.
What about my classes?? They were just as you would imagine, reading, writing and arithmetic. Art involved bringing a favourite ornament, covering it in latex to make a mold and filling it with plaster of Paris. When it was set, the treasure was yours to paint. I don't remember a regular phys. ed. class. We all played outside and ran over a huge yard. We built forts and made our own games. Scrub (a softball game) was big. I remember having a "witch chin" caused when I was pushed down an icy slope in the ditch. I had just lost my place as "king of the hill."
There was a barn for the horses that the older kids rode to school. We played ante-i-over which involved teams on either side and a softball. You tossed the ball over the roof and the other team tried to catch it. If they did, the whole team ran around to "capture" members of the opposition which had to run to the other side before they were tagged. No adult supervision and no arguments. No cheating, either.
There were no, gasp, computers, no photocopiers, and the toilet was an outhouse. The teacher had lessons for us all and there wasn't a lot of defiance. One soft-hearted teacher had to strap a boy (yes, corporal punishment) and it was an example to us all. He had to stand at the front and hold his hands out and Miss Sather whacked them with a belt. He cried and so did she. The rest of us sat in shock and we were all very good for a while.
With no technology, no group work, no projects and very few resources, I got a fine grounding from that little one room country school. When I enrolled in Wainwright at the end of grade 7, I was at par with my peers. I like school so much, I became a teacher. Even without all the bells and whistles, that are deemed necessities to engage students today, I was engaged. Not everything was fun but neither is everything in real life.
The picture is the first school.
merrily, merrily...This is not an advertisement for Apple. It's a confession. I got my iPad five years ago and at first, didn't use it much. Then we had to camp out for a summer where there was a spotty wifi and I could keep in touch with friends and my adult kids.
It's insidious. At first, all I did was message my kids, email my friends and occasionally check or post on Facebook. Then it was impossible to have the print edition of the paper delivered. I got an e-subscription. The library added two e-book sources; Net flix is inexpensive. Gradually and not so gradually, I spent more and more time scrolling. In our small town, there is no re-hab for scrolling addictions. I fear the withdrawal if I have to go cold-turkey. Even when we're camping, there's the hotspot feature in my phone. It's tough but I have managed with just that. Except there is one lake where, gasp, there is no phone signal unless you climb the hill or drive away from the shore. Alone with my own thoughts? Or books that I have to actively read? No visual stimulation? Partly funny, partly pathetic.
I tell myself I am "keeping up with the news." Right, that would be true if I read the articles and refrained from sharing another darling dog meme or video. The one positive note? I am sure my near-vision is returning...I can see without my reading glasses to text, etc. Vision in the distance has suffered, though.
Sigh. Perhaps I do have to sign into rehab.
Possess it if you can; Seldom in a woman and never in a man." One of my mother's favourite homilies. I fall into the seldom category. Today was a splendid day; hardly any wind, endless blue sky and warm temperatures. The birds in the backyard love the feeder and have no guilt over the fact that spring/summer seems to be here. They come and squabble over who should be first. Birds aren't supposed to be patient but a human should be able to learn...this is a picture I took earlier in the afternoon. If you look closely, you can see a male cross-bill on the feeder and a sparrow and a yellow-green female cross-bill on the fence. I have a lens and my camera is decent BUT I had to sit patiently and wait for the birds.
When was the last time you raced an eight-year-old and really tried? I did at Easter and I ran hard. My Grandson beat me; the next day I was feeling dormant muscles or maybe just remnants of muscles I once had. Ever tried Minecraft or any of the other video games kids play? I am terrible at them and the experience is humbling. My Grandson cannot stop laughing so I will keep trying. I have played the "animal" game with my granddaughter, a game we created that is kind of like Charades but you have to act out an animal and other players guess if you are an elephant, a flamingo, or a squid. New muscles showed up in this game too, as I tried to depict a clam, opening and closing its shell to extend its foot. Last summer I ran through the sprinkler and it was fun, kind of cold, but fun. One perfect summer day last July, we all hula-hooped. Grandpa is particularly inept. Then we tried the move (it has no name; you sit cross-legged, arms linked over legs and rock until you roll) that Grampa's mum showed him. It's harder than it sounds. When we were at the lake, I jumped from the pier with the kids and played in the lake. I have slid down the slide at the playground but I did give the monkey bars a wide berth.
I've tried some truly delectable candy-like products while the grandkids watch to laugh in glee as the sour flavour hits. This summer we're going to play ball, old-time scrub where everyone tries every position.
So that's the thing about Grandkids. If I just ran through the sprinkler at home for fun, I'd get reported. If I jumped from the pier without them for an excuse, same thing. If I rolled around on the lawn without no kids present, there would be a van pulling up and the attendants would help me into my long-armed coat with the fashionable fasteners. Grandkids are the best.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.