Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A difference of opinion with Google

I have been having some trouble with Google again, or it may be that Google is having trouble with me again. I don't know which, and therefore, just to be safe, I am offering up a sacrificial-lamb kind of photo in hopes of appeasing the Google gods or goddesses, whichever or whoever they may be.

Our little dog Bonnie-Belinda looks so vulnerable in this photo but, believe me, she is actually gloating. She love-love-loves to steal one of the coveted end seats on the couch, rather than settle down between us. My end is especially cozy for her because it's often littered with cushions, pillows, blankets and even, as you can see here, a dish towel.
I'm bad...I will wander into the living room with something in my hand, sit down 'for a minute' and then forget to take the item away. Therefore, that same 'something' becomes part of my couch-decor. Not exactly pretty, but Bonnie thinks this cozy arrangement is meant for her and she loves it.

Recently, I wrote a veritable rant about the oil industry, intending to post it here on Our World Tuesday. As a born and bred British Columbian, I am passionate about the subject of oil spills and the like (I now live in Canada's next province (forgive me, Alberta) I am reluctant to publish my rant in its present form. I must tone down the language somewhat (or that might be 'tone down the tone') but I can't decide where to start editing.

Instead I offer, above, a photo of my favourite model: our little dog Bonnie-Belinda and, below, my artist brother's sketch of my late, great cats (one not so great, except in size, as Rob's cartoon drawing shows.

The other day, I moved things around while helping Bonnie search for her favourite toy, and uncovered a photo album I hadn't opened in years.
I was thrilled. It's a family album I started in the1980s when my cat Herman got "his" kitten. Her name was Ava, and she was a beautiful little handful of white cat hair with, we soon found out, a nasty disposition. My sister bought her for me on a Sunday, and I had to go to work the next day. Because it was summer, my sister sent my pre-teen nieces to my house in the morning to babysit, to be sure Hermie didn't hurt the kitten. However, after a few days, the girls informed me they didn't have to babysit the kitten any more because my big boy, my mucho-macho Herman, had decided he was a mother.

A short few weeks later, my teenage brother Rob took her outside and put her up in a tree. She didn't know how to get down—she had never met a tree before! Her poor "mommy," Herman, sat at the bottom of the tree, looking at her. We could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he tried to figure out how he could climb up the tree and come down with a mouthful of kitten.

Then she fell out of the tree.

Hermie, her self-styled mother, immediately picked her up by the scruff of her neck and carried her into the house. Then, I swear, he gave my brother a real cat-frown, pretty much a glare that said "Now look what you've done."
It was a long time before Herman let anyone take Ava outside again.

The two cats became a team, with Hermie even managing to turn some of his chores over to Ava. For instance, he always sat on the edge of my bathtub, to guard me when I bathed.
Eventually, Herman showed Ava how to guard me, too. For a while, I had a large cat and a kitten sitting on the edge of my tub, guarding me.
However, when Herman decided Ava had learned how to handle this chore on her own, he left her to it. Fortunately, she never fell into the bathtub. That could have been a disaster!
Eventually, because Herm was a busy cat and Ava was sedentary by choice, she far exceeded him in growth and girth, but he still insisted on holding her down in order to wash her face once or twice or more per day, partly because she was a very messy eater, but mostly because he considered her to be his responsibility.
Pets are full of surprises. Herman always thought he was Ava's mom. Now, many years later, our little Bonnie-dog thinks she is my mother. (More on that soon.)

Portrait of Ava, guarded by the Hermanator, by Rob Davies
Posting here for Lady Fi's beautiful, memorable meme

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Olympic opinion on evolution

As a matter of fact, despite the grand title of this blog post, I don't really have an Olympic opinion, but it does sound like a wonderful thing to have, doesn't it?
"Here I am, the Great Goddess Kay, high on Mount Olympus, dispensing wisdom to lesser beings on the slopes..."

Okay, I admit that couldn't be me. I haven't an athletic bone in my body.

However...watching CBC TV coverage of the Olympic Games in Peyongchang this month has me remembering something and you'll never guess what it is. It's nothing anyone would ever associate with me: hot-dog skiing.

Once upon a time, in an earlier life (in the 1970s) I did a short stint as editor of a ski magazine because the publisher was a friend of mine.

I remember that a new twist had just been added to the sport, although not yet formally. It was called hotdogging.
Skiing purists were loudly vocal in their opposition as the new sport grew, evolving thanks to a young generation of adventurers from the post-WWII baby boom.

As I recall, downhill skiers who first insisted upon hotdogging in the 1960s were soundly criticized.
"This isn't skiing, it's acrobatics."
"It will never last," many purists were forecasting.

Despite much opposition, or perhaps because of it, the revolution and evolution had begun. says this about the hot dog revolution:
"A whole new style of baroque skiing has developed. It is known as 'free style,' 'exhibition' or 'hot-dog skiing.
"Free-style skiing features somersaults, midair turns, ballet-like figures, and other feats rather than speed."Copyright (C) HarperCollins Publishers

And free-style skiing did last, eventually reaching the world at large as a demonstration event during the Calgary Olympics in 1988.

Without completely destroying the accepted style of downhill skiing (there will always be old fogeys, right?) hot-dogging had become accepted, and evolved into freestyle, which continued to evolve into the Olympic sport we are seeing this month.

Wikipedia has this to say about the evolution revolution: "Freestyle skiing was a demonstration event in 1988 in Calgary. Mogul skiing was added as an official medal event at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, and the aerials event was added for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer."

Now, in a spectacle surrounded by politics this year, we are watching the 2018 Winter Olympics: holding our breath, cheering, crying...every emotion as athletes like Mikael Kingsbury, shown here, compete on behalf of Canada, with moves that would have horrified the fogeys of the 1970s.
Be sure to check out this link on the subject from the Olympics themselves.

This move would have terrified the fogeys of the '70s.

Posting for my favourite meme:
Lady Fi's always-wonderful

Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

All looking and no leaping

February might bring Leap Year every now and then (not this year) but the idea of an extra day of winter certainly doesn't make me want to leap, nor even jump, for joy.
Here in southeastern Alberta, Canada, it is cold. Sometimes it's colder than cold. I feel guilty letting our short-haired dog go outside, but she often insists it's absolutely necessary, and I believe her.
However, she usually insists I go with her.
Even though I throw a parka over whatever I happen to be wearing, it is usually insufficient.

Can you see our little white dog in the photo above? Or in the one below?

An online dictionary says the word shiver means "shake slightly and uncontrollably as a result of being cold, frightened or excited."
I'm shivering-cold, yes, and afraid that I (or the dog) will turn into a frozen statue...yes, that as well.
But excited about winter? Not even a little bit!
Albertans try to reassure me, "Yes, it's cold, but it's a dry cold."
Right. Like packing my house and yard in dry ice? Thanks, but no thanks.

February at home isn't the worst of it, either.
To welcome the new year, we visited my husband's daughters and our grandsons in Red Deer, Alberta: not all that much north of here, but with even lower temperatures.
You may not believe this, but it's absolutely true: Dick's daughter filled a cup with boiling water, and went out to her back porch where she threw the water out of the cup into the air in front of her. The water froze in mid-air. It did. We all saw it.
Therefore, as an old saying has it: "look before you leap" and next winter we plan to look for a warm alternative to Alberta's icy climes.

Photo, right:
We had to buy Bonnie-Belinda a coat while we were in Red Deer.

First, however, we have a friendly difference of opinion, perhaps one might even call it a mild dispute, which must be settled before we look anywhere...we must decide where to go.

The Big Guy Here is talking about Panama, while I want to go to Costa Rica, which we've already visited and enjoyed, so I now want to return in the hope of seeing more sloths. I love sloths. (nb: sloths can also be found in Panama, but don't tell him)
I just do not love my memories of the country of Panama. Yes, the canal was wonderful, but I was in Panama on a cruise with Old Whatsisname, my first husband, 'way back in 1969, when the country had just been taken over by a military coup, which left me no desire to return.
M1 rifle
Tommy Gun

There were armed soldiers on every street corner in Panama City in 1969. Every street corner.
I've always said "soldiers armed with M1 rifles and Tommy guns" but I could be wrong. I probably am wrong... I wouldn't know an assault weapon from a salt weapon, but those guns definitely looked deadly, and I certainly knew enough to not to try to talk to those soldiers.
However, fast-forward half a century, and the country of Panama has now become the go-to spot for retirees from cold cold climes, and some airlines offer wonderful airfare bargains to coax us down there for a look.
A story in the  International Living magazine recommends bus tours which take visitors to see the various parts of the country where they might consider living, and there are no salespersons involved: just a tour guide with connections. Dick thinks it should be interesting.

But yes, we're just looking, we're not leaping. Our darlin' little dog would definitely not enjoy traveling in a plane's baggage compartment and even though she's small, she's not tiny, and wouldn't fit under the seat in front of me. Driving all the way into another continent might be fun for me but would be exhausting for my driver, plus taking a car into Panama is extremely a whole 'nother can of worms.
Sigh. It's still February here in Alberta until further notice. I'd weep, but my tears would freeze, like the boiling water in that cup.

Sharing with Lady Fi's marvellous meme
because she has really learned how to handle winter!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Music soothes the soul

I had much to say about my trip from Alberta to The Wet Coast this past weekend, so I did a great deal of writing yesterday, preparatory to Our World Tuesday, but I wasn't really satisfied with the my results.
Yes, while I was in BC, I visited family and friends.
It was wonderful to see my family: my young brother, my sister-in-law, my nieces, grandniece, cousins and, in particular, my aunt.
I have described my aunt elsewhere as 'indomitable' and she undoubtedly is.

Now, however, for Our World Tuesday, I think I'd like to share something else from that visit to British as sung by a barbershop chorus.

Wikipedia photo, men's barbershop chorus
At a gathering in memory of my friend Jim, whom I had known from the time he was a toddler and I was his babysitter, I enjoyed hearing some beautiful, beautiful music.
Jim was a dedicated member of a men's barbershop chorus, singing a capella music in the barbershop style.
Several of his friends from the chorus joined his family and many friends at his house to help celebrate his amazing life.
Some of you might never have heard of a barbershop chorus, but most of my generation will remember men's pre-rock'n'roll barbershop quartets such as the Ames Brothers (1948-1963), and women's quartets such as the Chordettes, also 1948-1963.

The Ames Brothers, left...                 The Chordettes, right

Sharing this week with another indomitable woman, Lady Fi, and her memorable meme

Monday, January 22, 2018

"Only the good die young"

When I think of my aunt, I think of my long-dead
ancestors, and remember those far-away days.
This file photo is of the old Patullo Bridge
in New Westminster, where my grandfather
and my father were born, where I was born,
where my young cousin and
his brothers were born.
In the past year, two people I consider too young have died. Now I am pensive: I'm sad when I think of their deaths but, more than that, I am grateful for their lives.
One was my youngest cousin, whose life would have been beyond difficult if not for the care and dedication of my aunt. She and my uncle raised three sons, one with lifelong health problems, while she continued to teach school, which she did for 50 years!
Indomitable is the word that comes to mind when I think of my aunt.
New Westminster, BC
I'm hoping to see her this weekend, to have her join me on a dinner date with her middle son and his wife in Vancouver, BC.

However, I am now flying to the west coast to attend a memorial service for another young man, one I knew since he was a little boy and I was his babysitter in my home town, White Rock, BC.

White Rock, BC

Every now and then I find myself thinking:
It isn't right. It isn't fair!
I am the eldest cousin!
I am the former babysitter!

Even though I don't like it, that is the way of the world.

Vancouver, BC

Death makes us appreciate life. Death brings back memories from the far reaches of our minds, and we are grateful for the time those young people had on this earth. Even as we mourn, we are grateful for those lives that were lived, however short or however long.
Shane and Jim — I still love you.

 Posting these memories for

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New computer continues confusing, but...

Last week, I mentioned my ineptitude with my new computer.
I'm learning. I'm sure I'm learning how to use it. Okay, yes, with some help from my much-more tech-savvy husband.
I used to be on the cutting edge of computerized typesetting, you know, but I retired from the printing trade before technology reached the heights it has since attained in the 21st century, and I was good at it. I really was. I'd even been known to be 'stolen' from one employer by another because of my skills.
Long ago and far away, folks. Now I have no skills. I have to risk annoying annoying my husband by asking  for help, so many times that he has come to regard me as a slightly underdeveloped child.

However, with his help: my triumph of the day — I am playing music from my youth via something called The Nostalgia Machine. (

To change the subject completely now, I've found something new (new to me, don't forget that part, it might not be new to everyone) for my diet-controlled diabetes.
I found it accidentally, in the drugstore, while waiting to get my flu shot.
There were two kinds of 'naturally sugar free' mints on the counter, labelled 'no aspartame' and 'naturally flavored' so I had to try them, one little box of 'Spicy Cinnamon' and one of 'Pomegranate' — how could I resist pomegranate mints? Yum.
pomegranate and seeds
Yes, yum!
I decided to check out some of the listed ingredients on Wikipedia.
"Sorbitol (/ˈsɔːrbɪˌtɒl/), less commonly known as glucitol (/ˈɡlsɪˌtɒl/), is a sugar alcohol with a sweet taste which the human body metabolizes slowly."
more pomegranate

Okay, we all know 'sugar alcohol' doesn't mean booze, and of course 'sweet taste' is what I was after.
So far, so good, and 'metabolizes slowly' is good, too, right?
But who knows what 'isomer of mannitolmeans?  Not I.
But it also says the isomer of mannitol is 'found in nature, for example in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes.'

Yum. Now that sounds better, except maybe the prunes.

And then there are the illustrations offered by Wikimedia:
a red, white, and black one, which is kinda cute,
and also this next one: which no one in this household understands...
Mechanism of glucose reduction reaction.png
It is "all Greek to me" as my mother would have said.
That's it! I've turned into my mother. I instinctively know a great many useful things: I can cook without recipes, for instance. Without recipes and without pre-prepared food.
I know which things go with which, etc., although I don't know how to serve pomegranate.
Sigh again.
Now, can someone tell me why my computer screen keeps disappearing, only to reappear with something else on it? Or why it scrolls up and down whenever it feels like it?

Posting for Lady Fi's magical meme: Our World Tuesday

Monday, January 8, 2018

Technology & me...or should I go retro?

I have a new computer. It's a little smaller than the previous one but the screen is right at eye level where I like it, and the keyboard is very comfortable...strange, because it looks  just like the old keyboard, but seems to work better. Maybe it isn't full of dust and junk. That could explain it. And it is very well-behaved. It sits right where I put it down, and doesn't wander around the desk like the old one did.

Now, of course, having a bright new screen and a comfortable new keyboard, I have grand illusions of The Great Canadian Novel! Those grand illusions seem to hit me every time my sore hands work properly and in sync with my brain. When the pain returns, I know I'll never write it.

Okay, so that lasts five or ten minutes, and then I discover I can't scroll down the page.  This happened while I was on Facebook earlier, and it carried over here into Blogger. My techie guy is at the school down the street playing pickleball, but he spent all of last afternoon and evening fussing with this new machine of mine, so I hate to ask him to help me again. I don't even know what to call the scrolling-down bar.

And, once again, here I am. Techie husband has found the slide-down-the side tool, and has also walked the dog. One would suppose it would behoove me to prepare dinner and, of course, one would suppose correctly...providing I have enough strength for cooking after wrestling with an iMac all afternoon.

I'm still having the occasional argy-bargy with the slider-downer on the righthand side here, but all in all it did turn into a reasonably good afternoon. Said techie, to whom I referred above, has come home, and has taken our little dog for one of the long, long walks she loves. The temperature was above freezing this afternoon, which was a nice break from the recent deep-deep-freezes, making their walk fairly comfortable.

Now I'm I make dinner, or do I continue attempting to master this new and supposedly wonderful machine? I don't know. (Sometimes I wish I'd spent all my new-computer money on a '56 Chevy with a 409. Sigh. But I don't drive any more. Sigh again.)

Ain't she sweet?

Sharing with Lady Fi's ever-popular meme