Sunday, February 28, 2010

Farm Shots

Today I took some photos at the farm for fun and to document how nice the weather has been this spring. I've got some shots of the farm dogs, the creek, the daffodils coming up, an interesting spike plant and the old iron wheel leaning up against the willow tree.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Today my 5 year old granddaughter Shaelyn came over for a visit and she found me at the computer doing some arranging of photos into more descriptive files.

She watched me transfer some recent photos to the appropriate files and then asked if I had some photos of her.

Of course I do, probably more photos of her than anyone else.

I showed her where her name appeared in the listing and opened the file. I sort my photos by file and then by date, so the file started off with pictures of her oh so pregnant mother. Then her newborn photos on the weigh scale and held by Mom and Dad and Janet and I.

We worked our way through the photos, with her getting older and bigger right before our eyes. She commented quite often that she did not remember that, and as time went on, she finally started to remember things.

The first one she remembered was a teddy bear and she got kind of sad thinking about it. It must no longer be around.  I think next was a dress she remembered, a winter coat, and a pug dog her mother had that had died after getting bit by a paralyzing tick. She was pretty sad about that.

When the photos got more current she asked me if I could show her some photos of her mom when she was little. This was a little hard to explain to her. All she has ever known is digital cameras and computers.

I had to try and explain that they were printed pictures in albums and they were out in storage and we could not look at them right now.

"But why aren't they in the computer ?" she asked.

Well that would be a really big job to do because each photo would have to be scanned into digital format and than imported into the computer. A little too hard for her to understand.

I do have to agree though that it would be great if I had all our photos and slides transferred to digital. But what a huge job that would be !

Kids have a natural way of coming to the point quickly and expecting an answer that they can agree with right away. Maybe someday I will be able to live up to her expectations.

Today's Weather : Low - 3.5, High 5.5, a fairly nice day today.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How far is far ?

As I was watching TV, I heard a line saying "How far is it ?"

To my warped brain, I immediately thought ...ya that's great but how far is far ?

Now I know from personal experience that sometimes (when you have a badly broken leg and it really hurts a lot) the few meters to the bathroom is way too far !

On the other hand, when you are heading out with your RV for drive to your favorite "snowbird" resort, that 2,600 kilometers is not very far at all.

So, if we measure our world in centimeters or inches, or kilometers or miles, understanding distances and sizes is fairly easy to grasp.

But what about beyond our world ? What about the universe ? That's where we can really start talking abour far. Maybe even far, far, far, far away.

Our sun is about 93 million miles away. Okay, but how far is that ?

Let's say we jump in the car and drive to the sun at 65 miles per hour. Forget about having to stop for gas because this car has a never ending fuel supply. Driving non stop we would get there in 163 years !

I have seen some drivers on the highway who could probably take a few years off that time, but it's still much longer than our lifetime.

But what if we took a jet plane ? If we now travelled at 500 miles per hour, it would still take us 21 years to get to the sun. At least that's now within a lifetime but we can understand that it is far away indeed.

To kick in up into high gear, the fastest thing we know of is light. And it travels at 186,000 miles per second. At this blistering rate it still takes 8 minutes to get there ! Time enough for a cup of coffee, but you would probably spill some !

If we want to demonstrate this further, the sun would be a navel orange about 5 inches in diameter and the earth would be a sesame seed about 49 feet away !

If we wanted to go farther than the sun, using the navel orange senario, the planet Pluto would be 3,400 feet and the next nearest star, Proxima Centauri, would be 2,500 miles away.

If we drove to this star at a relaxing 55 miles per hour we would get there in a whopping 52 million years ! That's pretty far away. And we are just knocking on the door of the Milky Way.

To go one step further, if the sun and planets could fit into a coffee cup, the Milky Way galaxy would be the size of North America.

We are truly a tiny grain of sand in the cosmic sea.

Far is indeed a small word for a very big thing. Okay, now I know you are thinking big is big.

Somebody stop me !

Today's Weather : Low - 3.1, High 10.8, an overcast morning with lots of sun in the afternoon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Morning

A bit of a surprise this morning, waking up to an inch of fresh snow and still snowing. Nice big flakes floating softly down and the temperature right at 0.

Everything looked great in its new white blanket. The trees and branches were all covered with the heavy wet snow. It's nice to look at but not so nice for anything else.

The temperature kept rising and I don't think it ever really rained, but the snow stopped falling and because of the higher temperature everything just started melting and dripping.

By mid afternoon the snow was gone and it was spring time again.

Today's Weather : Low - 0.3, High 6.4, snow, low clouds and just a peek of the sun today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Go Places and Do Stuff

What do I write about on such an average day ?

Gee, I don`t know, maybe this, maybe that. Maybe not. No, definately not that.

Well how about something I like to do. It should be easy - just pick one. But which one ?

Let's see now. One of my most favorite things to do is going ATV riding and exploring. It is the adventure of going somewhere you've never been and just finding out what is around the next corner. Throw in a little bit of mud and I'm a little boy again stamping my feet in the water puddles.

Another thing I like to do is experimenting with photography. It is interesting and stimulating to find something average and photograph it in a new and artistic way.

In another life I could have been a cook or a chef. I love to tweak a recipe a little and make it my own. Or maybe I cook just because I love to eat. I don't get around to it as much as I should though, probably because Janet is such a good cook.

I also enjoy mountain bike riding and this I must do more of simply because it is good for me. I could stand getting into better shape, but round is also a shape !

Traveling in my RV. Now that is pure enjoyment. New places, new people and new adventure. Let's go !

However, I just can't make up my mind what to write about.

Maybe I could write about blogging. I've been at this for about a month now and obviously I'm not doing it because I hate it so much. It must be a kind of filler for the times when I can't go places and do stuff.

That's it. That's a good blog title. I like it.

Go places and do stuff.

Great idea ! I think I will. Bye for now.

Today's Weather : Low -7.8, High 5.4, overcast day but at least not as windy and the last few days. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kids & Outdoors

The other day, my little grandson, Braedy (who just turned 2 in December) was visiting and his mom brought along a DVD for him to watch. This kept him busy and quiet for as long as the movie lasted, but as soon as this was over, he was on the look for something else to do and his mom gave him her ipod. She had put a few small games on this digital babysitter.

At first I was a little surprised how he could select apps and drag pages over, etc. just by dragging his little thumbs across the screen or taping the screen. Kids certainly seem to learn anything quickly at this age. Then I started think that these modern day kids have some great toys, but what are they really missing ?

It struck me that they were missing a connection with the outdoors. They are now getting their senses bombarded with man made stimuli. They can see it happen, they can hear it happen, and touching the screen they can make it happen. But they are missing the touch and smell of the environment.

As a kid, we certainly did not have these elaborate toys and most of the time had to use our imagination and ingenuity to develop our own pastimes. Most of this happened outdoors.

Today's kids are not making a lasting connection with the outdoors. The only outdoors they experience sometimes is the brief interval between going outside and getting into the car to go somewhere else to do something indoors again. I realize this is somewhat simplified, but I think its important that we take the time to ensure the next generation goes into the outdoors and experiences it first hand. There is a lot to experience in the outdoors that can leave a lasting impression on them.

Some of the things I can remember doing as a kid include walking in the rain, making mud pies, building a sand castle, looking for shapes in the clouds,  running just to feel the wind in your face, going barefoot to feel the grass tickling between your toes or squishing cold mud with your toes, picking fruit and vegetables in the garden, going for a picnic in the summer and also around a campfire in the winter, playing old fashioned games like hide and seek or red rover or playing marbles or jacks, going wading in a creek or swimming in a pond, going fishing, putting a worm on a hook, flying a kite, picking a dandelion bouquet for your mom, jumping in a pile of leaves, playing hopscotch, making chalk drawings on the sidewalk, climbing a tree, poking a campfire with a stick, finding shapes in the stars at night, writing your name in the sand, making a boat and floating it down a small creek, hatching a batch of tadpoles in a bucket, skipping rocks on a pond, making a whistle from a blade of grass, building a fort in the backyard, collecting rocks, making a walking stick and playing eye spy with my little eye.

How many of these outdoor activities have you done ? How many with your kids ? How many with your grandkids ? Food for thought.

With today's society, kids can no longer play outside until dark. There's too many crazies out there. Our dangers seemed only to be the odd scrapped knee or cut finger or bee sting.

I believe it is more important than ever now to combat the digital world with some real life outdoor experiences for our kids and grand kids. Take the time to expose them to the sights, sounds, touches, smells and tastes of the natural world and they will benefit greatly.

Today's Weather : Low - 7.8, High 7.5, a nice sunny day for doing something outdoors with your kids or grandkids. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose




Today's Weather : Low - 7.8, High 5.3, another sunny but still a little windy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter Park

Yesterday I had to drive into Penticton to make a bank deposit and the sun was out, so I took along the camera. I was hoping for a calm day, but alas the wind was blowing a bit and that doesn't help picture taking much.

Anyhow, on the way back home I stopped off at one of the roadside park pull-outs and snapped few photos.

Typically, winter here in mid February should be -5 to -15 and likely a foot or more of snow on the ground. However, this has been an extremely mild winter and there is no snow sticking around and the temperature is at least + 5.

Here is what it looks like on Okanagan Lake in February.



Table for Two ?

Winter storm damage

And here is Janet laughing at my dumb "smile for the camera" comments.

It was a nice little stop-over on the road, but darn cold with that wind blowing.

Remember, wherever you're at ---- there you are !

Today's Weather : Low -5.1, High 5.3, a nice sunny day but wind blowing and a little too cool to get much done outside.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weather Only

Today's Weather : Low -6.5, High 6.4, a beautiful sunny morning but continuing windy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's a Small World # 2

During the summer of my 19th year, one of my jobs was working as a handsome, buff and tanned lifeguard at a local man made lake. The lake was about the size of 2 football fields and had a fountain in the center. Surrounding the lake was sand, trees and picnic tables. It was a popular spot for spending a summers day. This was a great part time job and essentially there was little to do except girl watching and for this they paid me. What a concept !

One day in July, while I was working (well leaning up against the guard tower and catching the rays) a young lady caught my eye. She was sitting on a blanket on the sand wearing a small white sun hat to match her white bikini.

Now I've seen a lot of girls on the beach but this one kind of caught my attention. While I made a lap of the lake walking at the water's edge which was a required job duty (or maybe just to check out who's arrived at the lake today), I noticed that the white bikini girl had gone into the water, but didn't look like she was really there to swim.

When I got around the lake close enough to her, I approached her and asked how she liked the water. She was a little shy and I told her the water was great and she should go for a swim. She said she really did not want to, just cooling off for a minute.

I impulsively started to playfully grab at her to get her into the deeper water and she strongly resisted saying she could not swim. I thought she was joking and in an effort to get her to follow me into the water, I took her hat and put it on my head. I then swam out into the middle of lake, around the fountain and back to her and returned her hat without getting a drop of water on it. Maybe I was showing off just a bit.

Over the next couple of hours we chatted a little, exchanged first names only and enjoyed the day. She was the kind of girl that reminds me of the song - She don't know she's beautiful.

Maybe you can imagine the long blond hair, beautiful skin and the shy smile that grabbed my attention.

I asked her if I could give her a ride home, but she refused, saying she had come with a girlfriend and had to go back with her.

Then she was gone !

For the rest of the summer I kept and eye out for the white bikini, but she never returned. I thought of her often and was curious why she had not come back to the beach.

Later that fall, I think it was in September my second cousin was getting married and I was asked to be an usher at the church.

While ushering people into the church, I returned to the front of the church and there she was.

I immediately recognized her, while she had the I know you from somewhere look. I escorted her into the church and asked her why she was at this wedding. She said the bride was from a neighbourhood family that her family was friends with.

Whenever we had the opportunity we kept looking at each other.

Later, at the reception, when the dance started, I sought her out and asked why she had not returned to the lake that summer. She said the next day her family left to go to help a relative with the grain harvest in northern BC and they did not return until school started and the lake was closed for the season.

Of course I asked her to dance. We ended up dancing nearly every dance and she seemed impressed when I asked her mom to dance as well.

The very next morning I was knocking on her door, asking if she wanted to go for a motorcycle ride. This time she said yes. 

About 2 years later I escorted her out of the church because now the girl on the beach and the lifeguard were married. (I skipped a whole bunch of stuff between the two different churches, but you get the idea).

I still cannot get her into the deep water, but she always gets a ride home with me !

Today's Weather : Low - 3.1, High 7.4, a lot of sun but a little windy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's a Small World

I was reading a blog not too long ago that was entitled "Small World Syndrome". This blogger was relaying the fact that many times he runs into people who, after talking with for some time, reveal a past that in some way matches very closely to what he did or where he was in the past.

I am sure this has happened to all of us. Somewhere, sometime, maybe often you have thought and / or said "Yep, it's a small world".

My wife, Janet and I have had many such times and the one that still blows me away whenever I think of it, is this true story.

Firstly, a little background. My wife and I have now been married over 35 years. We both grew up in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. We have raised 4 daughters and now have 4 grandchildren. Both Janet and my mother's names is Margaret and both of their mother's names were Margaret as well. Our oldest daughter has the second name of Margaret and our oldest grandchild has the second name of Margaret. What else could it be ?

Anyhow, a few years ago we learned something that somehow until then we had never known.

Janet and I were sitting around my mother's kitchen table having tea. On a sad note, this was the day after my mother-in-laws funeral.

My Mom said to me, " You know, I knew Margaret and Janet before you did ! "

Say Whaaaaaat ?

My mom went on to explain that when she was in hospital with the birth of one of my sisters, she shared a room with Margaret and her new daughter,  Janet !

No Way !

 Margaret had a stroke about 2 weeks before Janet was born, so Mom apparently was helping her look after Janet because of some arm paralysis from the stroke.

Wow ! What a small world.

Janet and I had been married over 30 years by this time and we had never heard of this before. I asked my Mom why she never spoke of this before and she said it just never came up.

So that's my best small world story. Do you have one too ?

You probably do, because it's a small world.

Today's Weather : Low - 2.2, High 11.9, another beautiful day in paradise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Predict the Weather

Would you like to predict the weather ?

You don't need a climatology degree to predict the weather, all you need is the following list of proverbs that has been passed down for centuries. These are more that "old wives tales", they may even be better than your local weather forecaster.

The people who came up with these proverbs were in touch with their surroundings and changes in the natural environment. Their livelihoods were likely dependant upon accurately predicting the weather. They were farmers, shepherds, and sailors who only had themselves to rely on.

The top twelve weather proverbs are :

1. Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor take warning.

2. A ring around the sun or moon, means rain before the night.

3. When grass is dry at morning light, look for rain before the night.

4. Rain before seven, fine before eleven.

5. Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand, it's never good weather while you're on the land.

6. When stars shine clean and bright, we will have a very cold night.

7. A rainbow in morning, is the shepherd's warning. A rainbow at night is the shepherd's delight.

8. When clouds appear like rocks and towers, the Earth's refreshed by frequent showers.

9. When the wind is in the east, it's neither good for man nor beast.

10. The higher the clouds, the better the weather.

11. Dew on the grass, rain won't come to pass.

12. When campfire smoke descends, our nice weather ends.

So the next time you are out in the outdoors, maybe you can predict the weather !

Today's Weather : Low 2.6, High 7.6, overcast all day with just a few sprinkles early in the morning.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Marketing Bilodeau

Corporate Canada will now be rushing to prepare marketing plans that include Alexandre Bilodeau.

The Gold Medal will soon turn into real gold for Bilodeau. He has the achievement, family and likeability that marketing plans have been yearning for. With the economy slowly improving now, companies are more likely to begin spending again on advertising and who would not want their company associated with Bilodeau.

I've read he has assocations now with Nike and McDonalds and I think he's already on a cereal box. I am sure we will see much more of his face in the coming year.

The Canadian Mint is producing commemerative coins and Canada Post is issuing stamps.

His success will also allow increased funding to trickle down to his sport and other athletes.

Congratulations Alex, you make us all proud.

As the games continue, other heros may emerge. I hope they do, but the first one is always special.

Today's Weather : Low - 1.6, High 10.2, a cloudy start and then a good bit of sun in the afternoon. The sun now seems to have some heat to it, and by all accounts it appears to be a early spring this year.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What color is Gold ?

Today, a Canadian athlete achieved something no other Canadian athlete has ever achieved !  An Olympic Gold Medal on Canadian soil.

This medal has been earned by years of hard work, commitment, desire, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears. The desire to be the best is likely the most important of these.

I'm also thinking there must be some fun mixed in there somewhere to balance out some of these hardships. I couldn't do it and I can only respect and admire their efforts and accomplishments.

What color is gold ?

I don't know how to explain what color gold is, but I suspect it has more to do with black and blue that with yellow.

What color do you think gold is ?

Today's Weather : Low - 1.2, High 9.4, a lot of nice sun today, then clouding over and a little rain late in the afternoon.

Define Canada Speech

Define Canada

You might say the home of the Rocket,
Or the Great One,
Who inspired little # 9's or # 99's
Who are more than just hockey
Or fishing lines
Off the rocky coast of the maritimes.
And some say what defines us
Is something as simple as
Please and Thank You.
And as for You're Welcome,
Well we say that too.
But we are more than
Gentile and civilized.
We are an idea
In the process of being realized.
We are young.
We have cultures strung together
And then woven into a tapestry.
And the design is what makes us more
Than the sum total of history.
We are an experiment
Going right for a change.
With influences arranged from A to Zed.
And yes we say Zed instead of Zee.
We are the brightness of Chinatown
And the laughter of Little Italy.
We dream so big that there are those
Who would call our ambition an industry.
Because we have vineyards
Of good year after good year.
We reforest because we believe
In generations beyond our own.
Knowing now that so many of us
Have grown past what we used to be.
We can stand here today
Filled with all the hope
People have when they say things
Like .... someday.
Cause we are more
Than just a laundry list
Of things to do and places to see.
More than hills to ski
And countryside ponds to skate.
We are the abandoned hesitation
Of all those who can't wait.
We are the first rate greasy spoon
And healthy living cafes.
A country that is all the ways
You choose to live.
A nation that can give you variety
Because we have choices.
We have millions upon millions of voices
Shouting keep exploring.
We are more.
We are the surprise the world
Has in store for you.
It's true.
Canada is the What's in What's New.
So don't let your luggage
Define your travels.
Each life unravels differently.
And experiences are what make up
The color of our tapestry.
We are the True North,
Strong and Free.
And what's more is that
We did not just say it,
We made it be.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Whoops !

Summerland's own skier Kristi Richards goes for it and crashes on the final run, ending her dream for an olympic medal. That can happen when you go for it. To her credit she gets up and finishes the run with a full twisting flip to show off just a bit. 

Today's Weather : Low - 1.2, High 8.1, a fair bit of sun today, not too bad at all.

Big Bird

This morning I looked out the window and spotted something out in the field that I wasn't sure what it was. I grabbed the binoculars and took a look.

Guess what ! It was a big bird sitting in the field.

I then grabbed a jacket and the camera and headed out to see if I could get a photo. Just as I was focusing the camera it took off flying and I missed the photo.

Thankfully the bird circled overhead, probably to get a look at me while I was gettin" a look at him.

Here are the shots I managed to take. I think it is an immature eagle, likely a golden eagle. If you know, be sure to leave me a comment. Thanks.

Deer Hunting with Camera

Yesterday afternoon I grabbed my camera and headed into the hills for an ATV ride and to see if I could photograph some deer out there. I will let the photos speak for themselves, so enjoy the photos and leave me a comment if you like.

Olympics Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies overall were well done, and can be summarized as follows.

There was an initial countdown yelled by the crowd, a great snowboard video that let to a snowboarder sliding down a ramp and jumping through the olympic rings with a high drop then sliding to a stop and voicing a welcome to everyone.

This person was not identified. I guess we are supposed to recognize him.

Introduction of Governor General and the President of the IOC. This seemed a little confused because all of the native leaders had not yet arrived to take their seats in this area.

The Canadian flag enters carried by RCMP in their red tunics.

The Canadian anthem is sung, but the arrangement is very different and I am sure a lot of Canadians are dissappointed in this. The whole thing was streached out and changed to more resemble some kind of pop song. I was just really wierd for me.

Next came a large display by the First Nations peoples, displaying their cultural costumes and a lot of interesting video special effects. Really quite cool.

The athletes of all nations then filed in and this took about an hour. Canada came in last of course to a huge cheer. Some nice team uniforms and some not so great.

Another large native peoples video display and then Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado sing. Continued native video and light show with a huge spirit bear rising out of the floor. This is all covered in lights and with all the audience waving flashlights in the background, it was really quite cool to see.

Sarah MacLaughlan then sings, followed by a session of fiddle music and clogging or folk dancers. This was well done as well.

Next was a gymnast flying around on a wire hanging from above and this was well done. After this was a large video playing on tarps that represented mountains. Now there was a bunch of skiers and snowboarders hanging on wires as well. A little corny for me, but I guess you had to use your imagination to make this believable.

Then came a speech - Define Canada - this was great and the fellow delivered it very well. I may write this out in a later post.

Next was the official speeches and opening of the games. K D Lang sang and I was surprised to see her. Hadn't heard from her in probably 15 years so didn't thing she was one of Canada's most famous. They probably ran out of money for this spot.

The Olympic flag was brought in by eight of Canada's finest, athletes, singers, etc. Then an opera singer (a lot of screaming to me) followed by the athlete's pledge by Hayley Wickenheiser the captain of the women's hockey team.

A french singer that seemed a bit moody rather that upbeat and finally the olympic flame brought in by Rick Hansen, then Katrina Doan, Rick Nash and Waye Gretzky. Unfortunately one of 4 towers that were to raise from the floor had a failure and after a small delay the flames were lit. Huge structures and lots of fire.

Finally, Gretzky runs a flame outside into the rain, then in the back of a pickup, to take the flame to light the outdoor permanent flame down by the waterfront. The crowds outside seem to get a little unruly and Gretzky starts to look concerned, but finally they get ahead of the crowd and light the other cauldron.

And that's it for the Opening Ceremonies. Took about 2.5 to 3 hours. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Too Tired

Just had to watch the Vancouver 2010 Olympics Opening Ceremonies tonight. They put on quite a show.

Most of it was great, but a few things I was dissappointed in. I will post about this tomorrow but just too tired for this right now.

Had a great afternoon out in the mountains on my ATV and seen a lot of deer. Will download some photos tomorrow and post on this as well.

Today's Weather : Low 0.5, High 6.4, a lot of low flying clouds and kind of dull all day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Olympics 2010

Tomorrow the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games commence. 6 PM will be the Opening Ceremonies and this should be great to see.

I love watching all of it but especially the curling and hockey. I am sure there will be lots of " The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat".

Canada's women's ice hockey starts Saturday, Feb. 13 vs. Slovakia at 5:00 PM

Canada's men's ice hockey starts Tuesday, Feb. 16 vs. Norway at 4:30 PM

I just can't wait to see our teams in action. It will be interesting to see how the superstars play together instead of against each other.

Eh ! Oh ! Canada Go !

Today's Weather : Low - 3.7, High 5.9, light rain in the morning, remaining cloudy all day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love and Hate

Spent most of the evening at the hospital relating to father-in-laws health problems. We were out for dinner in Okanagan Falls, when we got a call that he was not feeling well and would be calling for an ambulance to take him to hospital in Penticton. He has had a repetitive problem that requires mostly pain management now.

Herein lies the reason for the blog title. You hate to hear that someone you know is having health problems but you love the fact that there is an excellent health system to help out.

In recent years, I have had to use these services as well.

Firstly, a cancer that required an operation to remove half my thyroid and a second operation a month later to remove the other half (better safe than sorry).

I hated hearing that I had cancer and it was a difficult few weeks waiting to find out how serious and and what they could do about it.

But I loved to hear that it was a very slow growing type that was very treatable and in all likelihood, I would recover quite nicely.

I just have to take those damned little pills everyday to keep me going like the Everready Bunny !

Secondly, I had a kind of a freak accident while riding my motocross bike and my leg ended up completely shattered for about 3 inches above my ankle. I hate it when that happens.

I had to lay in hospital with the leg broken for 10 days, waiting for the swelling to go down and for the docs to decide if they will try to repair it or take it off. I hate it when they talk about taking off a limb.

Finally, the 3rd surgeon to look it over decided he could fix me up. I love it when that happens.

He did fix me up, a real "MacGyver" repair job with lots of fabricating of brackets, rods and screws. I think the operation took about 4 hours and then a few days later I got to go home. I love it when that happens.

Now back at home and I'm like an infant, can't do much of anything by myself and every move is oh so painful. I hate that part.

About 6 months and 3 casts later, and I could hobble around on my own. Just about 2 years now and I can walk pretty good, finally getting some flexibility back in my ankle and not much pain any more. You know how this goes, say it with me.

I love it when that happens.

Today's Weather : Low - 3.6, High 6.1, mostly sun in the morning, clouding over later and slight drizzle around dark.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life is a Puzzle

For the last week or more I have been working on a jigsaw puzzle. This puzzle picture could be anything, but it just so happens to be a puzzle of a Koala Bear in a tree.

The interesting thing about this puzzle is that it is so very difficult. And it is only 500 pieces !

There is basically only 2 colors, the mottled grey colors of the koala and the mottled green colors of the leaves. Colors I can deal with usually, but the really hard part of this puzzle is the way the puzzle pieces are cut. They are so similar cut that just about any piece can be placed together and often several pieces placed, but then the colors just don't quite work out.

Sections have to be torn apart and rebuilt again to enable further pieces to be placed. A few areas I have taken apart and rebuilt maybe 3 or 4 times before it all fits. This is a complete exercise in patience, frustration and perserverance.

My good wife and daughters who have spent maybe 10 minutes each working on it, give up and tell me to get rid of it. "That's ridiculous" or "that's impossible" are the comments.

For me, it has now become a challenge I just have to complete it. I am now about 80 % done and still am able only to place a few pieces at a time.

Now I may be thinking way too hard, but don't you think life is like a puzzle ?

Life does not come with an instruction book.

You don't know if its better to start in the middle or work on the edge pieces first.

Sometimes it goes green for a while and then everything seems all grey and its difficult to make any progress.

There are times when its 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

There are times when people try to help you, but in the end you have to do the work yourself.

When you do get a part of your life finished you can look back on it with fond rememberance. It wasn't all smooth going but you got it done in the end.

The future still looks difficult, but you know it can be accomplished with just a little more work.

Well now - back to the puzzle - back to life.

Wish me luck ! (But that's another story)

Today's Weather : Low 0.0, High 6.0, Overcast most of the day with a few small pockets of blue sky peeking through.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Time Well Wasted

Well now, I've been doing this blogging thing for a couple of weeks and I have to admit I kind of enjoy it. It is a challenge to come up with something to write about at times, and other times there seems to be a lot of ideas rattling around in my head.

I think as time goes on, it will give me incentive to work on my photography. Mostly because I think people are always interested in looking at photos and I will have to continue to take more photos in order that the content is current and there will be something to say about the photos.

Getting those photos will get me outside and I am bound to get more exercise looking for that perfect photo.

I think I will add another feature to these blogs. And that is to record the weather for the day. With my interior / exterior weather station, I can find the low temperature last night and the high temperature today. I should also mention when it rains or snows and anything interesting in the days weather. So here is my first weather post.

Today's Weather  :Low - 2.0, High  4.5, snow in the morning changing to rain, a little brighter in the afternoon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Underdog

With today's victory in the Super Bowl, the New Orleans Saints have proven that occasionally the "Underdog" can and will win.

This started me thinking about the fact that I was cheering for the underdog, without really thinking about it! I have no real interest in either team. I don't follow football at all and generally only watch the Super Bowl game each year.

I probably cheer for the underdog because of a sense of fairness, or desire to level the playing field. Everybody should get a chance to win.

But is cheering for the underdog kind of stupid ? Is this like supporting a bad mechanic who never quite fixes your car completely, or supporting a plumber who can't quite fix all the leaks ? Food for thought isn't it. Did I cheer against success ?

In the Super Bowl, I cheered for the underdog, but they won. Now, doesn't that make them the best team ? Go figure.

Do you think there are a lot of people cheering for the underdog ? I think there is lots who do. From nursery rhymes like "the little engine that could", to those who love the Rocky movies, these stories inspire hope that we can overcome the odds to be happy and successful in whatever we do.

Do you cheer for the underdog ?

Your comments and thoughts are always appreciated.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Avatar Movie

Wow ! What a movie !

This has got to be the best movie ever. Avatar really delivers an excellent story and you just can't believe your eyes. The interaction of real acting and animation is so seamless it just leaves you in awe.

What these creative movie making people can do is beyond imagination. There is just so much going on in each scene that it's hard to watch it all.

Janet and I saw the 3D version, wearing the oh-so-cool glasses, and this definately adds another layer to the visual experience.

If I have to criticize something, it is a bit stereotypical. There are the good guys and the bad guys, and it's clear who is who. There are no twists, which I always enjoy. You always kind of know what is likely to happen next.

On the other hand, it is not one of those movies where you are trying to figure out what is going on. The story is very linear, no jumping back and forth in time to keep you confused. For me, that is a good thing.

There is a definite undertone of environmentalism. The peaceful people living in harmony with the environment vs. the aggressive invaders who want to destroy the environment to mine for the valuable ore where the people live.

A great movie. I loved watching it and I am already looking forward to seeing it again. Will have to buy the blue-ray when it comes out.

Awesome, just awesome.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Take better photographs.

With today's digital point and shoot cameras, anyone can take a good photograph. Just point and shoot! If you want to take better photographs the easiest thing to improve on is the composition of the picture. The automatic camera can do all the technical stuff.

The composition of the photograph is where, how and what you point the camera at. The first thing to think about is what you want the viewer of the photo to see, understand or feel. Then grab the camera and start shooting.

The very best thing about digital cameras is the freedom to experiment. You can take as many pictures as you want, review them, delete those that did not work out, and try again.

A small creek can be magical.

When you are composing a photo, look for various patterns, squares, circles, triangles, swirls, etc. When you see an interesting example take several shots and vary your position as you shoot. Shots from different angles, higher or lower or different backgrounds can make an ordinary subject more interesting to view.

An interesting construction detail from a mining ghost town.

If your subject has a lot of detail in it, try to keep your composition symmetrical. Have the prime detail centered and equal space around it, to draw the eye to the item, not the background.

A butterfly on an echinacea flower.

A simple way to add interest to the photo is to have either radial (expanding outward from the center) or diagonal elements in the photo. These lead the eye from one item to another, and kind of give the photo some energy.  Static horizontal or vertical images tend to be flatter and less interesting.

A pine cone in a clear blue sky.

Another composition trick is to have subject elements overlap to increase depth perception. Our eyes easily show us the range of depth, but a flat photo will be more interesting if you can trick the brain into imagining the spacing between items.

A view of the Sydney Opera House in the distance.

Also, try not to put too much information into each photo. It is better to have several well composed photos to view than one photo where you tried to get everything into one picture.

A rainbow you can just about reach.

So grab the camera and get out there. The world awaits.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Baby, baby, baby, baby

Today is the birthday of my baby girl # 4.

Her name is Shannon and she is 22 today. Shannon has the gift of humor and laughter and is always a hoot to be around. Her quick wit and infectious laughter always means a good time.

A week or so ago we went for a winter walk in the snow and here is a few pics of her all growed up. Her little dog Beau is her companion.

Happy Birthday Shannon !

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bike Ride

Yesterday, I got some office work done, then decided it looked decent enough outside that I would go for a bike ride. The snow has gone and the sun is up there behind the clouds. Its about 3 degrees Celsius and there's a light wind blowing from the south.

Took me a little while to round up all the gear. Dust off the bike, check the air pressure in the tires, dust off the bike helmet, find the cold weather beanie to wear under the bike helmet, get the GPS, check the batteries, mount the GPS on the bike, get the camera, get the cell phone, make sure its charged up, get the bike lock in case I have to stop somewhere, get the wallet, make sure I've got a spare tire tube, air pump and tools, get some water in the water bottle, get out the bike shorts, bike pants, poly undershirt, bike jersey, and bike rain/wind jacket, and get all this gear on!

Whew, I thought I was just going for a bike ride, seems more like some major expedition. I think I'm ready to go.

Oops, one more thing, kiss the wife. That's the good part. Then listen to the lecture about being careful and not doing too much the first time out, etc, etc. I kind of tuned out the rest.

Finally got underway, planning to ride south across our small town of Summerland, BC and hook up with part of the Trans Canada Trail system. the pavement was up and down for the first 10 km. until I got to the trail. Seemed like lots of slow ups and quick downs.

Anyway, finally got to the trail and took a break because I could no longer feel my hands and butt and my heart had been working hard just to get this far. Okay, now on the trail and it was really enjoyable. Nobody out there but one idiot riding a bike (me). I had better be careful, cause now I'm in the middle of nowhere. I think of my wife and wish she was here to share the cold and pain and great views of the Okanagan Lake.

Must press on, but when you start to see Penticton from the trail, now there is a strong head wind. With me all sweaty already this is now getting cold and with the headwind more like going uphill. Now the pedalling is harder, I am more tired and cold and must stop again to get rid of the numb bum and tingling hands. Boy this is fun!

My bike does its job with no complaints.

There are some nice look out spots and and interesting trails leading off the main trail. Will have to come back some time with the ATV's and give this whole area a good scouting.

Here is an "arms length" self portrait.

Back in the saddle again and pushing on to Penticton.  I start to think the fun has gone out of this but then finally the end is near and I can hook up with pavement again and mostly coast back down to the highway. GPS tells me I did about 12 km. on the trail.

A quick text message to the wife and she heads out with the truck to pick me up. I am way too tired to bike back home again.

The body is sore but the mind is enjoying the feeling of accomplishment. If you have every climbed a mountain and stood on the very top to survey your surroundings, you know the feeling.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I don't know.

How often do you say "I don't know" ?

I would guess that most people say this very little - if ever.

When asked a direct question and the answer is unknown, people invariably reply with some type of circular answer that does not answer the question or reply with a question of their own, directing the conversation elsewhere.

People generally have a positive ego and admitting they "don't know" would somehow prove a personal failure they do not want to admit to.

Listen for the "I don't know" statement in your conversations. It probably won't take long before a smile crosses your face when you realize the correct answer would have been "I don't know".

Surely, with everything there is to know in the wide world; it is not unreasonable that we should know everything. So why the hesitation?

That's a very good question, what do you think?

Translation: ("I don't know")