Friday, July 7, 2017

Ta da! It works!

My computer works!

Some months ago, I took my computer to the store from which I'd purchased it. A big store. Part of a big chain, with hot and cold running techies.
"It doesn't work properly," I told the young men at the Geek Squad desk.
"We'll fix it," they said.
Fast forward a few days:
Incoming phone's the Geek Squad, hooray!
Not hooray.
My computer was worse after they messed with it, and it continued to get worse until I was at my wits' end.
Heartbreaking for a blogger.
Time passes.
Then our son-in-law phones to say he saw, on my Facebook page, that my computer is close to being toast.
"Maybe I can help," he offered. "I'll be over right away."
"Bring the kids," I requested, "I haven't seen them in forever because they're so busy. They haven't even met our new dog."
So we put our little Bonnie-Belinda on a leash and walked one block to the lawn by the swimming pool. We'd arranged to meet Wes and Kayen and Kiana there, rather than have them come right into Bonnie's house. In her mind, she's a guard dog.
This way she'd think of our grandchildren as friends rather than burglars .
We knew she would be happier about meeting in neutral territory because she doesn't worry about people and dogs who aren't in her house or yard, or walking past her, or, worse...on bicycles!
Sure enough, a little bit of sweet talk, a whole lot of petting, and quite a bit of shake-a-paw did the trick, so Dick and the grandkids and I were able to enter the house calmly.
Bonnie was somewhat concerned when Wes came in a few minutes later, having had to move his vehicle, but he has plenty of dog experience, and after he put my newly restored computer on my desk, he had her playing shake-a-paw all over again.
Now, I think we should buy Wes a great, huge, and very big gift for the work he did. Overnight he brought my computer back to life.
Take that, Geek Squad, take that!
And guess how much it cost...a thousand, a hundred, or fifty dollars? It cost Wes just twenty dollars for a part, and it cost us that same twenty dollars to repay Wes.
Then we had some fun talking about the Virtual Reality place in Medicine Hat. Or, rather, Dick and Wes and the grandkids had fun talking about it.

I don't know that I'm ready for Virtual Reality, unless there's one that features me as I used to be. Not a chance.

O well. C'est la vie, as Canada's other official language says. I'm just happy that my computer got rejuvenated, but I must confess I don't know how to say that in French. That probably makes my blog politically incorrect, but my French went the way of all good things, because I'm old.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Nothin' ain't workin' nohow

Before I try to get into the intricacies of my computer's failing health, let it be said that I now find my own silly self on the horns of a dilemma. (I've always wanted an occasion to use that phrase, and here I am at last, with just such an occasion, just when I don't need it.)

Unfortunately, it is not a happy occasion. This dilemma has huge horns.
My computer is getting worse and worse every day. For instance, my husband's cute photo of our Bonnie-Belinda-dog with her nose in a peanut butter jar — I can enlarge it, but then it is fuzzy — even fuzzier than it is here, and yet it is sharp and crisp when my husband enlarges it.

Enlarged only slightly but fuzzy already.
Due to this and many other problems, I definitely need a new computer.
However, we also ( and also definitely) need a new dishwasher. 
What to do? What to buy, and which to buy?
Yes, dilemma. Horns and all.
Part of the problem: I have already booked and paid for a multi-stop hop over to my homeland, British Columbia, plus I've already paid a crew of arborists for topping and trimming our huge poplar trees. Definite deficit in the old bank account.
Re the trip, I am flying from Medicine Hat, Alberta, to Calgary (also Alberta) and then from Calgary to Kamloops, BC, to visit my mother's cousin Ian MacKenzie; from Kamloops to Vancouver to visit my family, from The Wet Coast to Kelowna, BC, to visit my friend Gloria and then, on my last day, from Kelowna back to Calgary, and thence a flight in a very slow teeny-tiny plane to get me home to Medicine Hat.
The very definition of a multi-stop hop.
Air Canada had a seat sale, and I couldn't resist.
Yes, booked and paid for.
Paid, however, before a large branch from one of our huge trees came down, hitting the power line between the garage and the house. The power line by then was hitting the metal frame of the hot tub gazebo, and the big branch was formed a link between the power line, the metal structure, and our house.
I came home to find my husband and a neighbour calmly de-limbing and cutting the fallen branch without a care in the world.
"Did you call someone about it?" I asked, but they hadn't.
I think I lost my temper.
My hysterics resulted in the requisite calls being made, followed almost immediately by the arrival of a firetruck ...siren and all... attracting several of our neighbours.
So, at the suggestion of these authorities, I phoned the tree-toppers, and now find myself in a dilemma indeed, re my upcoming trip to BC.
Since then I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to pack so that I can get by with one carry-on bag. Gone is the option of buying something to wear when I get to wherever I'm going. Even if the tree-faller-fellers hadn't cost me all my savings and all my credit, I would still need a new computer. And a new dishwasher.
(I'm waiting to see if my husband will offer to wash all the dishes by hand. I suspect it will be a long wait.)

Every good country has its day...

...and Canada just had its 150th birthday. 150 years since Confederation. 150 years of being our own people.
Oh, sure, Canada was around before that, but had to wait for a bunch (er, a gathering, a committee, or some such) of Brits to declare us a separate country all on our own, with only a formal tie to Britain. (If we get on the list early enough, we can rent one of the Royals for a celebration or a bridge-opening.)
Most importantly, this past year has seen much progress in reconciliation with the original people of this land. It isn't perfect, but it's progress, although long overdue.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrating.

I bought this marijuana-flag t-shirt for the occasion, but didn't wear it in public...I used it as a nightshirt. Canada seems to be headed for legalization of the used-to-be-wicked weed sometime soon, and it will be interesting to see how our young people (and those not-so-young people who still imbibe) will handle it. I fear that having for sale in special outlets won't completely eradicate illegal buying and selling. (But what do I know? I'm old. Right?)

I remember this man. Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister of Canada when I was in high school.

LESTER B. PEARSON"It is becoming apparent to the world — at last — that we are not merely an Arctic extension of the United States," the prime minister said then. "A London journalist even went so far as to admit that Canada now existed not merely as a fact but also as an idea and an ideal."

And so we progressed.
"Fifty years later, we bask in the reflected glow of a prime minister's socks. Canada is noted in foreign papers for both our leader's whimsy and our status as a relative paragon of pluralism and moderation in a newly fevered world," said CBC News.

It's a good place, this land of mine. I always wear a Canadian Flag pin when I travel to foreign countries. And I don't really say "aboot" — no matter what Americans might say.

Posting this for Lady Fi's memorable meme Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Addendum to previous post

If you read my last blog post, which I did for Skywatch Friday, you'll know we have some very wild winds here on the southern Alberta prairie. Add some serious wet to the windstorms and I find myself in considerable pain. 
You might also remember I had to call an arborist to look at our huge prairie poplars which tower over our little hobbit house.

Richard Schear photo
Now, for Lady Fi's memorable meme, Our World Tuesday, I continue the saga...

Not only did last Thursday's storm terrify our darlin' little Bonnie-Belinda dog (pictured above, on a clear day) it also continued, and brought more rain than wind for five days.
I spoke to the arborist today and he says we'll have to wait for the soft ground to dry up because his equipment is huge and very heavy.
The photo below is not of our tree, but it shows how tall the prairie trees can get if left on their own. With a lift truck and skilled operators, almost any tree can be trimmed or removed, as shown below.

Rite Industries photo
Below is a lift truck with a wood-chipper behind.
Branches are fed into it, and become wood chips in no time at all!
Rite Industries photo
Following photo, a stump-grinder awaits its next assignment.
Rite Industries photo
We won't require the big yellow piece of equipment above, but I find stump-grinders fascinating!

Thus I look forward to next Tuesday, when we might (weather permitting) get started on the trimming process.
I hope the noise and (to her) confusion won't scare Bonnie.

Although I am easily frightened now, at one time in my life (long ago and far away) I learned, along with my brother Clint, how to cut down trees — the skinny jack-pines of BC's Okanagan Valley where we grew up.
Dad also taught us how to trim off the branches (even skinnier) and cut the branchless trunk up into sections that would fit in our pot-bellied stove, to keep the family warm in winter. (Electrical service hadn't quite caught up to our location yet, but don't let me get sidetracked into the story of priming the pump, or whitewashing the outhouse, because I don't have photos.)
It was the early 1960s. Dad and Mom had decided we were getting soft living in downtown Kelowna, BC (it was a small city at that time) so they bought six acres on the back side of Knox Mountain and had us help build a house on our property's one flat spot. There, the mountain was rocky, but weather had eroded the rock into a smooth surface which provided a perfect place for our house.
Please don't get me started on more. As an old TV show used to say "there are a million stories"...!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Plenty of skywatching here

There was a wild and woolly prairie windstorm last night, with thunder and lightning and crashing and banging. When I got home from a meeting, my husband and a neighbour had already cut up a branch as thick as a man's arm that had fallen from one of our giant poplars. It hit and bent the electrical wires going from the house to the garage, and left the wires lying across the exposed metal of our hot-tub's gazebo.
They were talking things over when I appeared. I insisted that they call someone, and as soon as they did, a firetruck arrived— with siren screaming and all the attendant drama.
A lot more excitement than I needed, but some of the neighbours enjoyed it.
This branch broke off one of
our huge poplar trees in 2012
and landed right where our
beloved Golden Retriever,
the late and lovely Lindy,
liked to sleep. It wasn't
until a full year later that we
finally called in the arborists.
I thought I'd never get to sleep last night, and I was awake for hours after I went to bed. Our little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, slept happily on my bed as soon as all the men and trucks had left, but the wind was still blowing, the thunder still crashing, and the lightning still showing even past the blinds on my bedroom window. Worrisome. Worry-some!
So, after listening to my husband's side of the story today ("It's okay, the storm is over, and only one branch came down," etc.) I checked to see when we had last had the trees trimmed.
He said it wasn't very long ago.
Turns out it was 2013. I still have photos of it. It was a full year after I started nagging about the branch that came down on our old dog's favourite sleeping place. And we finally got the trees trimmed.
Nagging doesn't always work. Sometimes I have to take matters into my own hands, as I did today.
In one of those things that seems to happen to us, living in a small town,  today I phoned the tree people (arborists, in other words) who had been here in 2013. The owner of the company lives in the nearby city, but just happened to be here in our little town, shopping at the Home Hardware store, when I called.
He was here in ten minutes, recognized our house (okay, our trees) from the previous visit, and discussed the present situation with me. After a while, my husband wandered out to assure us that the problem couldn't really be as bad as I thought. 2013 isn't that long ago, right? But these trees grow very, very quickly.
So, when said husband and the dog left to go for a walk, the arborist and I discussed what could or could not be done, and what should or should not be done.
When he got out his calculator, I came into the house to check my bank balance and decided I would be able to afford the most worry-free (most expensive) solution. Just manage to afford, mind you, by using some fancy footwork. Arborists are expensive, because they have great, huge, and very big equipment to haul around, with which they perform their seemingly impossible branch removal, and it's a great, huge, and very big responsibility.
After they're done will we still have our two big trees left? Yes, we will. They won't be as big as they useta was, will they? No, they won't. Will I sleep better knowing that the work has been done? Yes, oh yes, I will.
Did I take photos of the trees after the arborist left? Oh, yes, too many, so I will never forget how large they were. But my ailing computer seems to have lost them. I hope my cell phone hasn't done the same thing. Sigh.
Thanks to Skywatch Friday for being there. I had eyes to the sky quite a bit today, taking those photos which seem to have disappeared.

Monday, May 22, 2017

So happy to be in Our World

Thank you, Lady Fi, for this timely springtime photo challenge on Our World Tuesday. My husband has just taken some wonderful photos of desert flowers as well as photos of our bonny dog, Bonnie-Belinda.
I was completely unable to get the pictures to open in iPhoto, but eventually my husband managed to get a few of them onto there.
I've mentioned, before, the tediousness of my computer, and it continues to worsen, so I'd better post our photos while I can.
For those of you who were wondering, Bonnie is becoming more and more adventuresome as she realizes she is home to stay. Her life before the SPCA is a mystery except for the obvious fact that she'd been abused. We're thrilled that we were able to adopt her, and more thrilled that she is adapting well.

Photos by Richard Schear



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Photos of our Bonnie Belinda

APOLOGIES TO LADY FI and to anyone else who notices this post came up twice. I'm very sorry, but I'm having trouble with my computer and hence trouble with posting to Our World. —K

It's hard to get portraits of our new little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, because she is always moving. She's like a non-stop wind-up toy. We've been so used to photographing our elderly Golden Retriever, our much-beloved Lindy, who loved to pose for photos when she was younger, and didn't move much when she grew older.
However, here are a few Bonnie shots we've managed to garner during the past month:
My dear friend Judith, now back in Canada (albeit the far east coast) after several years in England, loved this one of Bonnie sleeping on  the couch, all tucked in behind my knee:

My favourite is still this one of her perched on the arm of the couch. She loves perching up on one end or the other, to get the best possible view, I suppose.

Here she is looking for new blades of grass coming up in our back lawn, followed by a photo of her eating the fresh new grass.

Sharing this, albeit a day late, with Lady Fi's popular meme Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spring cleaning is two dirty words here

"What's on your mind?" Facebook always asks me. Sometimes there's nothing on my mind, which condition I attribute to my steadily advancing age.
We've had a lot of fun
However, right now, as well as many, many times in the past few years, my mind has been on dumpsters. Our garage, our shed, and even our house — full of enough junk to fill two dumpsters! Only one or two of the things in there will ever see the light of day, and then only when my husband takes out what few items he needs for his work.
Yes, it's nice having a husband who, in his senior years and retired from teaching, is still working. I appreciate that, I really do, and I’m very proud of him. But his work and his extracurriculars leave him no time for anything other than working, playing tennis, playing something called pickle ball, refereeing high school sports and walking the dog. Therefore, but certainly not as a direct result of either the dog or the pickle, he has no interest in ridding our property of superfluous superflussities.
With all due deference, wife to husband, I must insist that I do not want to die and leave all the junk for his daughters to clean up.
They are dear young women but they would be well within their rights to burn down the garage, the shed, and even the house, were it not illegal and dangerous to theirownselves as well as to the neighbours.

Himself in Ecuador

I was younger once
So now I'm looking online to see if I can find a dumpster rental company, preferably one staffed by several very strong young men, because whatever strength I ever once had, is a distant memory. I remember I could outrun my brother Rob for about 100 yards (or metres) when he was 14 and I was 35, but that was grim determination more than athleticism. And it was also half my lifetime ago.
In addition to Dick's daughters, we have to consider Rob, and also my niece Jodi. As executors of my will, they might also have to come out to eastern Alberta from western British Columbia, to help with dumpster-loading. 
I don't wish that dumpster-loading chore on anyone, except maybe-perhaps my husband hisownself — but he is unavailable, due to pickle balls, tennis balls, basketballs, footballs, and the abovementioned employment.
Je t’adore, mon cher Richard, I really truly do, but I must confess I would much rather you had fewer balls.

Hoping to link with Lady Fi's wonderful meme, Our World Tuesday

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

No fun for me with this toy story

I've just caught our silly little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, eating her 'indestructible' Kong toy. I suspected she had strong jaws, and now know she certainly has...I've never seen a dog destroy this kind of toy.

Now I'll have to follow her around every time she  is outside, to inspect for chunks of red rubber. Not a fun job, but someone's gotta do it, right?

My husband will be so glad he's out of  town on business. I just hope I have good news for him when he phones. Not exactly the sort of thing about which one says "It will all come out in the wash"! I'm just glad I got health insurance for her just last week.

PS: the veterinary hospital gave us a special dog food to bring home yesterday and it seems to have worked overnight. What isn't working today is my ability to upload any more photos other than the ones of "Sheldon" and the RCA Victor dog, shown below. Bonnie looks like a mixture of the two.

We don't have the results of her DNA test back yet, but I suspect her lineage to be something along the lines of  'Sheldon' here, and/or the RCA Victor dog:

"Sheldon" as seen recently at

 "His Master's Voice"

Sharing with Our World Tuesday, although it is now Wednesday. Thanks, Fi, for this wonderful meme.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Falling for our bonny Bonnie-Belinda

It seems I have taken to falling down at inappropriate moments (not that there are appropriate ones) and have fallen more than once, so am quite sore all over.

HOWever, most of me seems to be fine now that I've rested, so I decided to start test-driving our bonny wee Bonnie-Belinda.

Bonnie loves being in the car, and doesn't seem to mind that she's all by herself in the back seat, strapped in with her wonderful new harness. She knows I'm there, driving the car and chatting to her. So far we haven't left our own neighbourhood, but I'm thinking of a test drive into the city (Medicine Hat, Alberta, a whole lot east of Calgary).

Back to my falling, however...blogging friend Sallie (Full-time Life) did ask, so I must admit I've had two falls lately, one splat, spread out on my front-side a week or so ago, and another less dramatic one this past Saturday.
The second time, I was trying to put a harness on the dog by myself, without first seating both of us on the couch. Thought I could do it standing up and bending over.
How wrong I am.

I suddenly found myself sitting flat on the floor, legs sticking straight out in front of me and my poor aching hands on the floor, all help-I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up.
Dick was a couple of rooms away, talking on his phone, so he didn't hear my yelling right away.
Eventually, however, he arrived and hauled me ignominiously up to a standing position.
So, more bruises to add to those acquired the previous weekend, it seems. Sigh.

I didn't do much of anything for a couple of days after that, but today I felt up to putting the harness on Bonnie, this time sitting comfortably on the couch with her, and, yes, accepting help from my husband.
Then Bonnie and I went for a couple of little expeditions around the neighbourhood, and she was as good as gold both times, just looking around and taking in this new view of the neighbourhood where she is accustomed to walk with her daddy.

So now I'm thinking of going into Medicine Hat. We have friends there who dog-sit for us, and I want her to feel comfortable there. However, I think Dick and I just might stick to car trips this year, taking Bonnie-Belinda with us.

I'm hoping to share this with Fiona's marvellous meme Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It's a horse, it's a cow...oh, wait...

It's's our new little dog, our bonny Bonnie-Belinda, looking for new grass in our back yard, because she thinks it is ever so yummy.

Found some here! Yummy!  

Hoping to share this with Lady Fi's wonderful meme, Our World Tuesday.
Thanks so much for being there, Fiona. Computer problems have kept me a little bit off kilter lately, and the world news isn't helping much, is it? 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bonnie-Belinda is our world Tuesday

On our way home!
It is Our World Tuesday time. Tuesdays and every other day, these days, our world is white and brown.
After the death of our beloved Golden Retriever, Lindy, last month, my husband's friend Sam, a dog-owner who lives across the lane, suggested we get another dog sooner rather than later.
Well, we had adopted Lindy from the wonderful SOS (Save Old Souls) in Medicine Hat, Alberta, so I checked their website. However, they had only one dog awaiting adoption...a large male, while we were hoping for a somewhat smaller female.
So I then looked up the SPCA website, where I saw Bonnie. I could not resist her sweet face and beautiful eyes.
At home—I can see more if
I sit on the arm of the couch!
So we were off to the SPCA, where we were introduced to her—a sweet but very shy little girl whose four puppies had been already been adopted, leaving her at the SPCA for two months. During that time, she had accepted the SPCA, with all the other dogs, cats, rabbits, and other critters, as her home. The staff and volunteers loved Bonnie, but no visitors offered her a forever home.
Until we came along.
She was brought out to meet us, crouching close to the floor, shy and uncertain, clearly more at ease with SPCA staff than with anyone else.
And at that time, we were certainly "anyone else".
We kept our visit brief, but promised we'd be back.
The next day, when we visited, it was suggested that one or both of us take her out for a walk. Off we went, with Dick walking Bonnie on a leash attached to a harness, and with me tagging along to offer suggestions (which Dick calmly ignored, as usual).
We were very grateful Bonnie was wearing a harness because that little girl could really pull, and didn't necessarily want to go where we were taking her but, still, she obviously loved going walking. The Medicine Hat SPCA is in an industrial area, which meant few pedestrians but quite a few large, noisy trucks. However, that little dog paid the trucks no heed.
A walk? You want to
go for a walk? Me, too!
It is believed she's part British Bulldog, and her legs are very short, so my favourite Bonnie-thing was watching her jump over puddles. So cute! (I wish we had a video.)
The next day, our friends Gayle and Larry came to the SPCA to meet her, because they had always cared for Lindy when we travelled overseas.
As we took Bonnie out for a walk, Gayle fell in love with her, just as I had done. Dick and Larry were pretty much willing to do whatever Gayle and I wanted.
And we wanted Bonnie.
The next day I started on the necessary paperwork, and yesterday I went to the Redcliff village office to get her dog-tag.
When she came home with us, Dick suggested we call her Bonnie-Belinda, so we'd have a remembrance of our golden girl Lindy in her name.
Now she is our bonny Bonnie-Belinda who, much to my delight, has decided she is my dog.
Before she came home, I had prepared not one, not two, but three different dog-beds in various parts of the house...and Bonnie ignored all three in favour of my bed. I'm not particularly delighted with her sleeping with me on my rather narrow bed, spreading her rather heavy self across my legs so I can't escape. "Claustrophobia city" as my brother and I would have said when we were young, and I can say it again now.
Therefore (as any dog-lover would understand) I have decided I'll buy a larger bed. There was a time when my husband would have thought me crazy to do that, but after all the wonderful years we had with Lindy, he understands that I would do or buy anything for my bonny Bonnie-Belinda.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Something blue for Friday

Sea meets sky in the south Pacific.

Sharing with the popular meme Skywatch Friday, where you can see beautiful sky photos from all over the world.
Hosted by Yogi's Den.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A rant...what to do? How to do it?

Can we at least try?
Try what?
Try doing something to help those far, far less fortunate.
As Canadians, we find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma.
We know we want to help all the women, men and children suffering in the horrendous food crisis in Africa. We want to help because they are all (all!) starving, while we bloggers are well fed.

We want to donate, but to which charity? and what will that charity do with our money?
How do we know which of those will best use our donation?

Therein lies the rub, as the ubiquitous "they" used to say. Do those charities, the ones we most admire, use our donations wisely or are they perhaps using our money to overpay money-hungry executives?

To explain...yesterday I stumbled upon a website (a motorcycle website, so you know I had to have stumbled upon it). The author was discussing well-known charities and how their funds (our funds) are being dispersed.
So, let’s look at this author's numbers and,  for purposes of this discussion only, assume his numbers are somewhat close to today’s truth...

Motorcyle Blogger didn’t pretend to be any kind of expert on the subject, but he says the worst offender in money distribution is UNICEF! Imagine!
His blog states that only 14 cents, out of every dollar donated, will go to those in need, while the rest of the money (donors' money) is making millionaires of the charity’s top executives.
According to him (and, again, I cannot verify the numbers) the second worst offender is the American Red Cross, with only 39 cents out of every dollar going to charity. The Red Cross. The holy grail of charities. Less than half of the money donated. (I don't what it is in Canada, probably close.)
Next, the religion-based, do-good United Way wisely pays its president only $375,000, not to mention many expense benefits. Somehow, however, only 30 cents of the United Way’s dollar reaches people in crisis.
Fourth on the list of big spenders is the president of World Vision (Canada) who receives a home with all expenses paid, maid service, pool maintenance, private schools for his children...the list goes on, leaving about 52 cents of every dollar available for charitable causes. Well, that's not too bad...a little more than half, but...
Finally, the author of the motorcycle website identifies an organization using 93 cents out of every dollar for charity. Yes, almost a whole dollar “goes back out to local charity causes” if you donate to the Salvation Army.
Gotta love the Sally Ann. No denying that, drums and tubas and all.

However, dear Sally, local charity causes, as much as they do need the money, cannot solve the burning question now, in March, 2017... how best to feed Africa's starving children, many of them infants, plus their families, without any executives receiving absurd amounts of our money?
We’ve all seen those children on TV, absolutely skeletal from lack of food, many of them dying every hour, and their parents are in worse shape because they feed the children what little they manage to scrounge and eat little or nothing themselves.
When photos of starving children are shown on our televisions, do we change the channel? Do we go to the kitchen for coffee or maybe a stiffer drink to numb our charitable instincts? 
What do we do?
Younger Canadians can probably go to Africa, and perhaps even should, just as North American youths went to Israel to work in kibbutzes in the 60s, but where to go, exactly? What to do there? How to help millions of people? Young people with hearts and minds full of goodwill don't know how to do it.
Syria, across the Red Sea from Africa
...years of war, years of starvation
Senior citizens cannot simply don a backpack and go to Africa in person, so that lets me, most of my friends, and several of my relatives out of the long trek. in Canada, as in Europe, we have accepted Syrian refugees, and have taken on a responsibility. Try as we might, we can’t teach English to Syrians if we are in Africa helping to stem the tide of starvation.
What to do? What to do?
Do we weep and wring our hands at our helplessness? Do we ignore the cost of a charity's religious recruiting? Or do we embrace it because 52 cents per dollar is more than the other guys?
Or do we try to find a way to send help, that 90-cents-out-of-every-dollar kind of help, right now, today?
I don’t know, but I’m putting this out there for all the world to see, because my fellow bloggers are good people, I know they are.
(Many thanks to for that thought-provoking post, and for the cost comparisons. I don’t know when it was written, or even how much of it is true today, but I do know a good person when I see his writing.)
Linking with Lady Fi's popular meme Our World Tuesday

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Early morning repartee at our house

Lindy some years ago,
during a walk around the coulee.
(One morning, soon after our darlin’ dog Lindy died, when neither my husband nor I happened to be in fine form.)

He had been up for oh, probably a couple of hours, but I had just managed to struggle out of bed, get myself a cup of coffee, and go in search of him.
My computer was acting up, you see, and I couldn’t get online, so I was looking woebegone.
No dog+no internet=no nothing, in my opinion. Instead of hitting the computer with a stick, I went to face him in his lair: his home office furnished with two computers.
Surprisingly, after only a few moans, groans, and grumbles from me, he said I could use one of them to go online.
That perked me up a bit, until he refused to log himself out of Facebook.
“You have to log out,” said I, “or else I won’t be able to log in.”
After a few attempts to prove himself right, he had to concede. Okay, he would allow himself to be forced to log out, but he wouldn’t enjoy it.
I went back to the dining room.
No sooner had I started my second coffee, than along came Himself, to begin (without a word) rifling around in the pile of stuff’n’junk on my side of the table.
“What are you doing?” asked I.
“Looking for my clipboard,” replied he.
“Huh?” asked I.
“My little clipboard. You borrowed it,” said he.
“I did?”
 "Did I?” I repeated, always quick with early-morning repartee.
“Yes, you borrowed for your trip to Scotland last fall.”
“Oh...” (more brilliant repartee) “...that thing. I hate that thing, but you insisted I take it because you said it would make my trip easier.
“And it didn’t help, you know. It drove me crazy, sticking up out of my purse, or else lost in the bottom of my shoulder bag.
“I didn’t want to take it, you know. I did say I hate that thing, didn’t I?
“Besides, it can’t be on this table, because I cleaned it off for Christmas dinner.”
“Well, I want the clipboard now,” said he (Mr. Oblivious).
“I’m sure you do, but I have no idea where it might be. I haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee today, and already you’re asking me about something of yours, which I didn’t want to use, and which you made me take anyway, ’way back in October!”
Not getting to that happy place of marital bliss this morning, I can tell.
Then he went...out the door, and into his car.
“Goodbye,” said I, not really meaning the ‘good’ part.
After a strenuous day yesterday, I was planning to mostly nap today, but maybe his little clipboard will launch itself out onto the floor in front of me on my way to bed—then I can produce it, triumphantly, pretending I had actually looked for the silly thing. I really don't know where to look.

Written by me, somewhat fictionalized, and inspired, perhaps, by the fact that I’ve been re-reading books by the late, wonderful Stuart MacLean, a Canadian icon: a writer and humourist with a long career in broadcasting and print.
RIP, Stuart, and if you see Lindy up there, give her a cuddle from us.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Lindy says goodbye

I don't know how many times I've posted photos of our beloved dog Lindy. Dozens, for sure, and many more.
I might post old photos of her again,
but there will be no new ones.

Lindy Davies-Schear left us last week
after a brief but incurable illness.
Her veterinarian came to the house
and told us what we already knew:
there was no hope of recovery from kidney failure.
We will be forever grateful
that we had the opportunity to adopt
our wonderful girl, because she has changed our lives forever.
She was sweet, pretty, fun, amusing...and kind:
Lindy didn't have a mean bone in her body.

I am sharing this post with Lady Fi's wonderful, dog-full meme

Our World Tuesday

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Proprietorial puppy-paw

When our beautiful Golden girl first came to live here, she wanted to be close to one of us. This is a photo I took, looking down at Lindy's paw on my knee. I've always treasured this. It isn't great photography, maybe not even good photography, but there is love in this photo.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preparing to say farewell

“And now, the end is near
 And so I face the final curtain
 My friend, I'll say it clear
 I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
 I've lived a life that's full
 I traveled each and every highway
 And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

Image may contain: dog, plant, outdoor and nature

Lindy's veterinarian is coming over this evening, and we are getting ourselves ready to say goodbye to our Golden girl, but it's impossible to be completely prepared to face the inevitable.
It isn't easy for me, and it's especially difficult for my husband. When Lindy first met him, it was love at first sight, he was completely captivated.
I know she loves me, but she has always loved her daddy best.

Our darling Lindy has lived with us for a good long time now. She came to us from SOS, a wonderful dog rescue organization in the Medicine Hat, Alberta, area. She and another Golden had been living wild for a year or so, and had taken refuge in a barn. The farmer fed them for the winter, but then had to take them to the SPCA. 
Thank heaven for the Medicine Hat SPCA. They phoned SOS, and said the two Goldens were wonderful dogs and would be a welcome addition to any family.

Since then she has been the light of our lives. She has often travelled with us, to visit my family on the west coast of British Columbia and also on other adventures, some as far away as the Grand Canyon.
Lindy loved to travel. However, she wasn't very impressed the first time I took her out for a much-needed break in Arizona, only to find there was no lawn, not even any grass of any kind, just sand, gravel, cacti and other unfriendly plant life. She was not amused.

Now we don't know how much longer we'll have our beloved Lindy, but we will follow her veterinarian's advice. We promised one another we would do everything we could for her as long as she continued to be a happy dog, but now we will do whatever is suggested.
She's been off her feed for several days now, eating a bare minimum, and refusing her medication, including the little pills being presented to her in a tiny peanut butter sandwich.
And she is having trouble walking on uncarpeted floors now, so I went to to the local Home Hardware to get floor coverings of some sort, the kind on a roll, which they sell by the foot.
We'll buy carpet for her, and feed her peanut butter, as long as she's happy. We don’t think she’s suffering...her veterinarian will know more about that...but she doesn’t eat now, she just drinks copious amounts of water, then goes outside to relieve herself.
Kidney disease in a senior dog, my veterinary research says, leads to just this sort of behaviour, and it isn’t going to improve.
Linking with Our World Tuesday, dog-lover Fiona's popular site.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trump fans, don't read Mencken

Or should that be "Trump fans have never read Mencken"? Take your pick.

My best friend (who now lives in Nova Scotia) e-mailed me these words of wisdom, written by H.L. Mencken for the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1920.
A man well ahead of his time, it seems.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

'Take Two' for Tuesday

Liz at EA Photography/Australia posted photos of rusted machinery in a field in Queensland, Australia. The photo brought back so many memories! Thanks so much, Liz.
So many memories flooding back to me, most of them concerning my much-younger brother Rob, an already talented artist and avid photographer at the age of 14, who accompanied me on an incredible journey in 1982.
My friends had told me I'd be able to stay in Australia much longer if I didn't take "that kid" with me, but I'm glad I took "that kid" because he was a ton of fun, and Queensland wouldn't have been the same without Rob's keen eye pointing out things I might have missed.
I still smile when I think of him saying, "Look at the kookaburra on top of that pole!" and his having to point my head in the right direction. He was and is a treasure in my life.
I also cherish the memory of one day on the coast of Queensland, where we found the Australian racing yacht Gretel, who had been put out to pasture, and was sailing for the first time in her new incarnation as a day-sailer for tourists that very same day.
Image result for Gretel II
I can't go into her entire history because I don't know enough, but I do know I had been a fan for a long time. And there, on board with us as Gretel took us for a short cruise, was a member of her crew from the America's Cup Yacht Race.
I was delighted to be able to discuss the sport with a man so experienced in the history of my all-time favourite racing yacht.

Gretel II was no slouch, either! Do check her out! II

Halvorsen built Gretel vs. Weatherly 1962 America's Cup yacht races, Rhode Island:

Few things rival a sailing-yacht race for beauty combined with daring and excitement!

'Take Two for Tuesday'

Foot races for geriatrics

Last year, my gerontologist made me get a walker. Yes, gerontologist, or geriatrician, I forget which, but yes, made me. If you knew Dr. Rodriguez, you would know what I mean...shaking his finger at me (not quite under my nose, but it felt like it) and saying, with steel in his voice, "Get a walker! And use it!"

I felt like I'd ended up in the principal's office with all the other recalcitrant children.
However, there's more to the man than that.
Dr. Rodriguez chose geriatrics (or gerontology) because he believes seniors are an important part of the community, that we all contribute in different ways.
"A geriatrician looks at the whole individual," he once said in a press interview. "Mind, social and environment," he continued. "Multiple factors have to be addressed at the same time."

So...the snow is gone from our neighbourhood, except for a few dirty patches here and there, and my husband suggested that I take my walker out for a stroll, after he came back back from his scenic walk around the coulee.*
Coulee (or coulée) is applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley or drainage zone. The word coulee comes from the Canadian French coulée, from the French word couler meaning "to flow".

Where was I? Oh, yes. So I took my walker out for a stroll, but apparently I had forgotten the meaning of stroll. Observers would have thought I was in some strange kind of foot race by myself.
It's true, I really didn't stroll. I pushed that cotton-pickin' thing up avenues and across streets for what felt like miles, only managing to go around one city block before reaching home again, but feeling that I had run the hundred-yard dash.

"The hundred yard dash" is what they called it when I was a schoolgirl. It's now something to do with meters in Canada, and I get the impression that a meter is about the same length as a yard in the system I learned.

A hundred yard dash wasn't very far but I was small for my age, and running against girls 6 or 10 inches taller. Obviously, they had longer legs, but take my word for it— I won a few of those dashes, if I do say so myself. And some 20+ years later, I could outrun my 14-year-old brother, for one brief summer, before he became too athletic for the likes of me.

Now, back to the might have been good exercise if I had actually walked with it, instead of chasing it like a dog with a rabbit...but I didn't.
And then, back to Dr. Rodriguez. I'm seeing him again in a few months (appointments are few and far between, because he's much in demand, what with the aging population) and I just know he'll ask me about my walker, and why I don't have it with me. Note to self: remember to take it. Further note to self: don't lose first note to self.

Linking this post to Lady Fi's memorable meme Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

My World Wednesday, on Thursday

I would be remiss if I didn't write about yesterday's sad news. We Canadians have lost a wonderful part of our country's history.
Stuart McLean, Vinyl Cafe radio personality, humorist, author, and traveling raconteur, died yesterday at the age of 68...
two years younger than I am! ...the same age as my younger brother! I mention my brother because Stuart felt as close as a sibling in the hearts of many Canadians, male and female, young and old.

My husband Richard Schear and I were privileged to see him onstage here in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a few years ago. McLean was still healthy then, full of fun and joie de vivre (a bilingual country, Canada, don't forget) and kept the crowd  laughing with his many Vinyl Cafe stories about Dave, Marley, and their son and daughter, all of whom got into one sort of mischief or the other, at one time or another.

Although McLean performed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (now CBC), both radio and television, his passing is mourned countrywide, to people of every persuasion, and the news of his death was also carried on CTV News and on radio stations everywhere in the country.

I hope some of our American friends have been able to enjoy his stories, on radio and on television. He was a true Canadian treasure, his wry humour reminding us of events in our own lives.
One of the most wonderful things about Stuart McLean was his habit of talking to ordinary people in every city he visited, people on the street, in coffee shops and restaurants, always asking them about their own lives in a gentle way that never offended, and certainly never frightened, anyone.
There aren't enough adjectives to describe him fully, but he was warm and friendly, courteous, considerate, compassionate, amiable, empathetic, exuberant, frank, generous...the list goes on, it really does, check it out on
and you'll see I needed help finding the right words. Words were my thing when I was younger, I used to play with them and work with them, and toss them around like confetti, but they fail me now, and I have to look them up.
Somehow I doubt if words ever failed Stuart McLean, though. That great Canadian treasure always knew what to say.
Today I ordered a number of his books (I forget how many, but more than 10) from an online book store. It will take two weeks for them to get here, and it will feel like two months to me. Of course, you know what will soon as they arrive I'll remember where I put the ones I've had for years, but I believe there is no such thing as too many Stuart McLean books.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My world Tuesday, on Monday

My world today has consisted largely of three things: keeping Lindy happy until her daddy came home because she missed him so much, watching the CBC News, and an hour-long phone call with my best friend, Judith, who has moved back to Canada with her husband, Michael, after they spent more than a few years in in a narrowboat on a canal in England.
So, with her daddy safely home in the early afternoon, Lindy finally ate her breakfast, went out to explore the back yard for a while, and is now happily asleep.
Judith and Mikey are in the throes of a huge snowstorm in Nova Scotia but, once the heat was restored to their big old house, and with Michael beginning to recover from a fall down the back steps and some broken ribs, they are otherwise happy. Who wouldn't be, in a 100-year-old character home on a hill overlooking the ocean? And who wouldn't be happy, sore ribs aside, with this amazing antique kitchen sink in their new (but very old) house?
HOWSOMEVER, as much as I love Lindy, as well as Judith and Michael, neither of the above proved to be the biggie in my world today.
Today, many of you might know, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, (yes, son of another Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau), met with the USA's new president, Donald Trump, for the first time.
And the meeting went well.
Justin was calm, cool, collected, and very handsome. Much more so than his late father, if truth be told, but Donald Trump mentioned the late Pierre Trudeau more than once, saying he liked him and they had been friends.
Whew again. No World War III in my world today.
One never knows, when people of power come together, what will happen. Yes, their speeches might have been carefully scripted, but Justin's smiles were as sincere as his hope that our two nations might continue to get along together. And President Trump's speech writers did a good job, too.
A success for my world Tuesday this Monday.