Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ani DiFranco Poet

Today really has been one of those ups n downs, the kind of day you feel like staying in bed.

However, after taking care of a few things I came online. I did my run of links, & then came the blog of BillyBlog the Oxypoet. What I found there is something I will never quite get over, ~ a poem "Self Evident".

I give you the link and judge for yourselves... Thanks a million Billy.


Monday, December 24, 2007

“Our kid”

I sincerely apologise for the length of this story, but believe me it was necessary, thank you for your indulgence. ~

I sat staring blankly at the television screen, just me, the TV and a chair. I had sat there now for some little time, a lump in my throat, my emotions just ripping away at my insides as I tried to summon up enough courage to turn the damn thing on! I was angry, I was an empty vessel, yet my feelings ran rampant. I longed so much not to believe the tape, a tape I had yet to watch, even though the dreaded content I knew already. ~

The Christmas card had arrived well in time, as it always had when the family sent them over from the old country. My youngest brother now held the reigns for that annual chore, ever since Mom passed away a few years back, God I still miss her so much.

No more those welcome phone calls, the unmistaken English accent, and who could forget the incredulous questions each time?

“Hello. Is that Eric? Is that Canada? “

The almost disbelief in her voice like that of a child, that you really were not standing in the next room, but indeed 3000 miles away. ~ She never did get used to the magic of the telephone.

Then Ron took over the cards & ocassional phone calls, the greeting there being,

“Hi there Our Kid!” a pause, “Are you doin alright then?”

A favorite phrase that somehow had attached itself to me from Ron. Both the call and the card were very special that year, for they became the very last I would receive.

A couple of weeks later Ron collapsed and died, no apparent warning. ~

I was angry at myself for not being there and worse, not being able to travel such distances now, because of my own health problems. ~

One of the in-laws promised me that the whole funeral & service would be filmed on tape for me. ~

I pressed the TV remote on/play button. ~

The dark screen sprang to life, as swiftly, figures appeared scurrying past the camera in an effort to get seen and be heard. The sounds of “Hi,” “Hi Eric” fell on my ears, with the odd waving hand slipping by, belonging to only who knows who. The camera scanned the church as people moved down the aisles to find a seat, I strained to see if there was anyone I recognised. Quite frankly I was amazed at the numbers of people present, some sad, others chatting away among themselves as they waited for things to settle down and the service to start. I never realized that so many even knew Ron. Tentatively I looked down at the front of the church aisle towards the alter, I was looking for the coffin.

With none in sight it looked more like a turnout for a wedding, with a moderately jovial crowd.

Quietly, I sat looking through my own personal window, protected from the crowd I could see and waited. Sobbing silently as with a flurry of activity, two ushers wheeled in the coffin on a covered trolley, the lump took a violent jump.

A guttural sound forced its way out of my throat, as tears started to flow onto my cheeks. In my mind I was crying out “Ron No!” and the tears became a deluge. Elizabeth came over and hugged me, her own tears falling over my face.

Settling down a little I rewound the couple of minutes of tape I’d missed. At that point the Vicar entered and made his way to the alter, went through his ritual, then turned to address the congregation. I sat there staring, hardly hearing most of the first words he uttered, these were mostly of the routine kind anyway and he had a musically accending voice that was difficult at best.

It had been decided by me prior, that I would furnish the Eulogy, to be read by the vicar on my behalf. ~ He proceeded to move along in that direction, after spending what seemed like an eternity voicing accolades over Ron and his life. ~

Finally my turn arrived as the vicar picking up the eulogy, started reading. He read with a reverance and pride, maybe the most impactive speech he had done in a long while. His reading and voice reflecting to me, that maybe he had practised this before the service began, I just swallowed hard, only to have another lump lodge in my throat. ~


I come to you today, tho’ conspicuous in my absence, to join with you, both relatives and friends in a celebration of life, for my brother Ron.

Dear Ron, my heart, tho’ full of love for you is also so heavy with grief at your departure.
For some time now you have been on my mind, I guess getting cards from you over Christmas will do that to a person. Of course at times like that, I usually dig out any photographs that I have of the family and reminisce about how I wish I wasn’t so far away, for I have missed you so much.

Not so amazing is how now, at a time like this memories come flooding back to me.

Always foremost in my mind, was always your strength of purpose as you bounded through whatever life threw at you. Many times in my life I have envied you your strength of character, something I wished I had had more of.

But I also remember, your apparent fragile state when as a child of two, you fell off the second stair from the bottom and apparently broke your arm, an accident that soon lost its sense of pain after the crying stopped, for now you had a nice clean cast to show everyone and of course be made a fuss of.

I remember as a child the time before the war and our evacuation to Blackpool, when we had to go in the Sunday school "Manchester Walk" one Easter Sunday I believe, you holding my left hand and Harold holding my right. I have never forgotten that day, for we had to wear little velvet suits that our Mom had made for the occasion, I remember mine was a light Blue.

Even later your excitement at owning your first motorbike, a BSA if I remember correctly. I was left feeling quite humble, for I just had a bicycle although that was my choice. As time went on, the apprehension or excitement at having to go into the army like our brother Harold did under national conscription or as I did as a regular and then you got the cushy job as cinema projectionist for your army service. I still have the photo of you guzzling back a beer on a nice sunny day.

There are so many memories of those years of our growing up, good times, rough times and a few good battles on the golden mile after a few beers, when the ‘Valentines’ took on all comers, I guess in those days we had quite the reputation. Like the three musketeers, it was always "all for one and one for all" with us. I think of those days often and still get a wry smile on my face.

I remember too, all the good times at the clubs, such great friends and friendly camaraderie, as we played our games of darts, cards and domino’s, we did pretty good in those days.

In more recent years since our parents and Harry passed on, we seemed to get even closer you and I. I can still hear your voice when you picked up the phone and uttered those now famous words ‘Hi there our kid’, such a term of endearment from you, one that I shall never forget. I love you Ron, it breaks my heart to realize I will never hear those words again over the phone, or receive the cards you always picked out to send me with such caring and love. I will always love and remember you Ron and all the members of the family no longer here. I dedicate this poem to you that I wrote in my grief.

See you ‘Our kid’ Your loving brother Eric.

Au Re-voir

Warm moisture feel I on my face
Lips tremble tears abound,
My arms around you in embrace.
In sadness, I cradle you.

Misted thoughts do crowd the space,
In my endless swirling mind
Of better times, or better place
But of this you’re not aware.

I grieve for your reality,
Yet celebrate the freedom of your soul.
As silently away you slip,
From the realm of my reality, into
The memory pastures of my mind.

Eric Valentine ©

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stormy production

You have no idea how much trouble I had getting this to work, sometimes unconventional methods do the trick.

Wish the video was a little longer, but this is some of the stuff we got dumped on us in the storm.. Enjoy... Sound is of course optional.. ~ :)

As you can see we still have a gliche but this hyperlink at least works to show the video...You just have to back out the window when its done.. Sorry for the inconvenience.. :)



Thursday, December 13, 2007


A couple of weeks ago if you recall, I ran into a computer problem. Fortunately I was still able to write text, but the additional problem persisted and in doing so messed up my ability to blog the way I normally would.

I thought I had narrowed it down to the Norton’s Security program, but then I got additional problems happening that can only be related to Vista. I don’t know if anyone else experiences ‘Windows Explorer’ (in Vista) stop working, shutting down any open windows & then resumes working again? Anyway lately I seem to get that quite frequently. It’s pretty ludicrous when because of the problem, I now have to save my work more frequently ~ Just in case! ~

In my search for a solution I went through all kinds of checking, searching etc, going back through error files and stuff I didn’t know existed.

Along the way I twiddled and twaddled giving a few things a swift kick for good measure. Imagine my surprise last night when I went in and ran another of my many tests, things worked like they used to.

~ So bear with me if I go a little crazy and put some pictures in here that work!! ~

Elizabeth is the Pied Piper

Something to look forward to in the spring. Dancing to the music.

Our prize Cardinal, he's got his eye on you!


Sunday, December 9, 2007

One Christmas

Can’t you tell that Christmas is upon us. Yesterday I was in the bathroom puttering around to start the day, when in walked the wife. I can always tell when she’s up to something for she gets this mischievous look on her face and a twinkle in her eyes.

“Don’t forget to shave,” she quipped with a smile.

“Why, are we going someplace love?”

“Well no, but you always look better when you have shaved. I want to take some pictures of you wearing this hat.” She flourished a Santa hat from behind her back, then promptly plonked it on my head!

“I’m not wearing that thing!” I retorted while tossing it aside, chuckling as I uttered that futile protest, for I knew she would insist and eventually the pictures would be taken.

It was the magic of Christmas in the air that got me thinking. On this ocassion I was reminded of how differently Christmas is celebrated in various parts of my world.

Here in North America and in Canada in particular, things are very commercialized and on view to the naked eye. Houses are decorated and lit up on the outside, in most cases a thing of beauty, but with the ocassional glaring garish display.

Over in England where I originate from, Christmas is more of an indoor decoration & celebration, unless one tends to go into the town and mix with all the party revelers. Thinking about all this earlier today, brought to mind a memory of when I was a small kid and times were very different in the world. Sitting there daydreaming, I thought of how we used to go out Christmas caroling. This was a popular tradition years ago back home. There would be a knock on the door and when you opened it a group of children would be singing xmas carols. After a couple of songs the people would tip them and off they would go to another house.

It was almost like looking through a window in time as I gazed into my memory. There we were, my brothers and I getting all excited about Christmas and going out carol singing. ~

I thought about the year my two small brothers and I went and rang the bell on the door of a huge hotel on the seafront. I didn’t think too much of it for I delivered newspapers in that area. This man came to the door and as he looked down on us, we started to sing carols. Surprisingly, he was patient enough until we finished. He asked us questions about ourselves and then enquired, did we think our Mother would let us go back to the hotel later that evening? Even though I was only 9 yrs old I knew mom would say it was ok and told the man so. It was arranged then that we go back at 7:30 that evening. Apparently they were putting on a Xmas production for the hotel guests. The man wanted us to go on stage and sing some carols for the audience. We turned up on time and accompanied by a piano, went through our score. We were very warmly received and the crowd were very enthusiastic with their applause.

If you can imagine three scruffy little urchins standing on a stage in ragged short pants singing like angels, we must have looked a right sight. I guess you get the idea, we were almost like a scene from “Oliver Twist” and this was Christmas 1942, ~ there was still a war on.

After we had finished our singing a lady took us along to the hotel kitchen. We sat down to the biggest spread of food that I had ever seen, except maybe in movies.

To start there were Christmas crackers, the kind you pull, they go bang and a trinket usually falls out along with a paper hat. Food was jelly and canned fruit with custard, turkey sandwiches with lots of white turkey and stuffing, English trifle and to finish it all off was a big piece of English Christmas cake with Royal icing, very much like a wedding cake today. We stuffed ourselves as kids will, and to take home they made up a bag of goodies plus a nice box of chocolates for Mom.

In addition to the feast, the hotel people had ‘passed the hat’ around the audience and took up a collection for our performance. We almost fell over when we saw how much money they handed us. It came to about five English pounds, the equivalent of two weeks wages for an adult. We thanked everyone very much for their kindness and the experience, then rushed home to mom with the loot. ~

I stepped back from my ‘window’ only to find tears trickling down my cheeks, as I related my story to Elizabeth. I remembered those times, I remembered my family, all of who are gone now but not forgotten, for I will always have my ‘window’.

The wife brushed away my tears and scolding me gently said,“Just look at you, you didn’t even comb your hair today.” To which I replied, “Oh yes I did, then someone put a silly hat on my head!” We hugged as she laughed at me, tears still fresh on her face.

Eric Valentine Dec 08/07 ©


Monday, December 3, 2007

The Treatment

Have you ever stopped to think about the word “Treatment”? Such a flexible word that can be and has been used down through the ages for effect.

There are of course the most obvious uses of the word, like when you feel ill or catch a bug, an “uh oh better get treatment for that“. There are many secondary uses of ‘that word’ such as the carryings on, between let’s say businesses & unions, ~ they sure know how to give each other “The treatment“ come bargaining time. ~ Kids have been known to give parents the treatment, to get what they want. How do you look after your dog/pet? Nice treatment ~ How do you treat the material things you buy or own, ever think about the treatment they get? ~ You get the idea.

The best use of the word though I think, comes into play when you get into the behavior of people. Have you ever took stock of how different people treat each other, depending on which side of the table you come from or the situation?
How about the wife? Does she give you the ‘Treatment’ if she doesn’t get her own way? ~ Yeah, you know what treatment means at those times, it‘s painfully obvious. ~

Elizabeth and I have a lot of fun. I like to goof around and I tease her an awful lot sometimes, ~ but even I am not beyond getting ‘the treatment’ if I go too far. (Insert a smile at this point)
I think that if I had to be serious most all the time I would go nutz!

So I act the goat, be a comedian, take your pick, for there are a thousand cliché’s for the things I do, just to keep life happy and simple. Of course I could do none of this if I didn’t have such a caring and fun loving partner.

You might well ask, what brought all this up? This topic?

Well earlier today, I was busy trying to solve that computer problem I’m stuck with for now. That’s when the wife chose to say

‘let’s watch a movie‘.

Well normally I don’t like watching movies in the early daytime, I’d rather watch in the evening, so I said no I don‘t want to waste time watching a movie! I had to try to fix the problem & the noise from the boob tube would disturb my concentration. ~ Perfectly understandable to my way of thinking.

That’s when I noticed this distinct cool change in the atmosphere, this silence with the retort ~ ‘fine!’
I always know she’s upset with me when she says fine like that.

I looked at her sitting on the couch, trying to keep that serious schoolmarm look on her face, her with her reading glasses perched on the end of her nose. (She’d make a pretty schoolmarm)

I said “You’re giving me the treatment aren’t you?”

‘Who me? What is that? ~ She said,

I just burst out laughing as I pointed out the schoolmarm bit to her. At that point she cracked up, and we both laughed together, she can never stay upset for too long, as I explained that I had, had a lot of experience with “The Treatment” thing in my life and could tell in a minute that‘s what she was doing, more laughter from the pair of us, as she said

‘I never thought of it quite like that’,

I just looked and smiled for she is just so sweet. Having second thoughts I said to her,

“ Put the movie on if you want, I’ll manage somehow”.

‘Nope! It’s been on too long and is half over anyway’

I looked at her incredulously then at the clock.

“It’s been on ten minutes! If you discount the intro and commercials, you’ve missed maybe the opening credits!”

‘It doesn’t matter now, it’s too late’

She buried her nose in the book she had started reading. I sat there,

“You’re doing the treatment again!”

Elizabeth looked up, a smile tugging the corners of such a pretty mouth, she has this way of rolling her eyes at times that is so cute.
I tease her some more,
“No point looking up there, you’re on your own with this one”.

More laughter and things are fine once more.

This is the way we are in our relationship, it works fantastic and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, ~ Sometimes “The Treatment” does pay off ~ mostly for the ladies and once in awhile, ~ Maybe the guys win one.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cold Comfort

This last two days have been a bit of a headache. If you recall earlier this year I ran into problems with the switch to ‘Vista’ a thing that is still not totally out of the woods, shaky at best.

My newest problem involves a little Vista, but I am thinking most of the quirks are from the ‘Norton’s International’ security program. So much so that I am still in the throes of finding a fix. Meanwhile I am stuck with just text posting for now. I had wanted to make a post in the blog two days ago, but because of my problem things will have to be on hold for a short while.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, now I’m off to roll up the sleeves and get down to the nitty gritty.

All this and a temperature outside with the wind of -18c, how do you like them apples! Grrrrrrrrrrr ~ No doubt there will be a gnashing of molars as I go.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Mist & Mystery

This particular blog, will mark the one hundredth post I will have made since I started blogging this last January. To celebrate that milestone for me I decided that something a little special was in order. To that effect I have put together a true story taken from my life, a couple of segments of which I did post in part quite a while ago. Today I will post the whole story, now that a few missing pieces have finally fallen into place completing the picture.

This is about the most personel thing that I have written to date, other than the earlier ~ “Eyes of a Child” autobiographical series of posts. So forgive me if it is a little lengthy.

Mist & Mystery


The yellow haze hung in the air like an impending disaster. Above the haze even larger volumes of stormy clouds swirled around tenaciously. Slowly at first the drizzle came down, the kind they call Scotch mist. It saturates the clothing in a very short time and leaves you standing there freezing to the bone. From the edges of the undergrowth rose a cold damp mist that enshrouds and clings to everything. Visibility was at a minimum, making one feel like they were trapped inside some endless void or a drain, much like a drowned rat.

Slowly out of the murky depths emerged a figure, a small slight woman holding the hand of a child. Hunched over against the cold and wet breeze she peered looking for something. Gradually, slowly, like ghostly apparitions, headstones emerged from the mist. Still my mother and I moved on seeking now we can presume, a particular grave. ~ I was four years old.

That is all I can remember about that visit other than eventually we arrived at a headstone. Then we just stood there in the cold misty rain, and my mother adding a warming tear or two.

That was the only visit I ever made to what I found out years later, was my fathers grave. Came the war, evacuations and I just forgot the road back.

At the time of my fathers death, I was a baby of two, with a brother one year old and my mother was six months pregnant with my youngest brother.

As a child growing up it’s not too difficult to notice that other kids have a dad, yet I did not. Whenever I brought up the question I was always told he had died in an accident at a steel mill.

I was ten years old when my mother remarried.

As time passed my stepfather changed from being the nice okay person we had come to know. He became instead quite hateful and spiteful with us kids, with beatings and saying terrible things about how our real father had died, thus creating doubts & mystery that stayed in my mind. Consequently I never did reach any good relationship level with this new man in our life. Instead, I left home at age 17 and never lived there again.

In 1969 my step-father died, so I flew home from Canada for his funeral, but only for my mothers sake.

I might add that even then I was filled with bitterness towards that figure laying in the coffin. It came as no surprise, when I couldn’t shed a tear at the funeral. It took many years for me to come to terms with all that happened and eventually reach a state of forgiveness. ~ Surprisingly, it was only then that I shed a tear for this man.

Before I left England to come back home, I remember my mother calling me into the sitting room. She said that she had something to show me that she thought I should see now, it was something she had kept hidden from us all of our life. Carefully she reached up and took down a sizeable picture that had hung on the walls all those years. Taking the frame apart she removed the picture and revealed yet another picture hidden behind the original.

With misty tears clouding her eyes she handed it to me. It was a fading picture of my biological father hidden behind the other picture.
I was almost 37 yrs old at that time. It had been hanging on that wall all those years! yet she had never spoken a word about it.
Up to that point in time, I had never seen a picture of my father before not ever! Now being an adult, I can understand her doing that rather than having to dispose of it, in light of her getting remarried.

Because of the advent of her death, I have that picture today. Pretty strange no matter how you want to look at it, for I never suspected. ~ Even after all these years I am still amazed. ~

Years later, 2007

Recently at the age of 74, I received a very pleasant surprise. It was an email from my niece in England. In her mail she asked me for some help because she was doing some research into our ancestry/family tree.
It is amazing really what turns up once you get started into something like that. With the documentation we have put together, there is information that goes as far back as six generations.
Of course what seems so ironical is, I had already been writing about our family history myself, there were however many gaps and unanswered questions.

All of this had of course raised the spectra of the doubts of my fathers death, the product of the seeds, sown so long ago in my mind by my stepfather. Doing this research then prompted the possibility of a death certificate for my father? My hopes were slim but we set out to determine that possibility.

For a few days while I waited for more news I was thinking, it was almost like this ancestry thing was just meant to happen, for in doing so it opened that door that had been closed for far too long on unanswered questions.

Later I heard from my relative that after much difficulty, she finally had the document. I waited expectantly for a copy to arrive in my mailbox.

Trembling, I opened my mailbox and there it was, his death certificate. With bated breath I magnified the copy so I could read what it said.

“Cause of death: ~ Coal Gas poisoning ~ Suicide.

I should have felt something at the news, maybe bitterness, even anger? Yet I couldn’t find an angry bone in my body for this man, the man who could have been a father.

With a lump in my throat I tried to swallow, tears trickling down my cheeks. Finally at last. ~ Closure. ~

It was a cool wet miserable day outside, which kind of jogged my memory because of all the things that had been going on. I stood at the window peering through the misty rain. I remembered a visit to a cemetery as a four year old child so long ago.

I thought about that now cold, wet, worn headstone and found myself adding a warming tear of my own. ~

Eric Valentine Aug 25/07 ©


Thursday, November 22, 2007

It Happened

Finally, after suffering through two days of cold windy rainy weather, the temperature's plunged. Overnight the temp’s went down to -10c and very sneakily the rain turned to snow and ice pellets. We woke up this morning to a token covering of the white stuff.

For good measure snow & ice covered the truck to the point, we couldn’t get the doors to open for a while at least. It sure was a cold blustery wind blowing, ~ even the poor birds were puffing up in an attempt to keep dry and warm.

Woody Woodpecker, a regular visiter.

Today the feeders went down in a hurry I can tell you, even these two little Juncos, were looking at each other as if to say. ”What happened!” Today then was quite a busy day in the bird eatery dep’t! More cold weather is on the way.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

#5 Sequel

Cutting a long story short we ended up walking almost half the 18 miles and getting a ride on the back of an old flatbed style coal lorry (truck) the rest of the way. Well you can imagine the look on the sergeants face when we rolled in, wearing the Queens uniform and totally covered in coal dust! The rest of that episode is too, too sad.

You have to realize that we guys were just very young army ‘Nig Nogs’ ~ that is raw recruits. ~ So upon finding out that the last bus had already left, there was a momentary fit of panic set in. Learning army discipline will do strange things like that to you in the beginning. The discipline is designed to have every man act as one upon command, the premise being that one day that same discipline may save your life. So it was that we set off for camp the minute we realized we could end up in trouble. ~ (Late & marked AWOL) Grrrrr perish the thought!

It’s not much fun when you are hoofing hell bent for leather down a country road in uniform, certainly working up a sweat in a hurry. There are no lights in the country & no stars for the sky was overcast. So you just follow the road hoping for the best, that something will come along so we can hitch a ride. It was just our good luck that this lorry came down the road and pulled over. “Running late are you lads, need a lift?” the driver shouted out. Quickly we gathered around the cab hoping we would fit in there, but no luck.

Take it or leave it, we had to climb on the back and hang on to the rail that ran behind the cab. Straight away we were covered in coal dust, it was all over our hands. Then looking down with a groan, saw it was all over our uniforms from climbing aboard. Not much we can do about that now I guess. I for one was just hoping that as the truck went down the highway the wind would take most of it off, but not much luck for it just kicked up more coal dust.
We went along and keeping an eye on the time, breathed a sigh of relief as it looked like we would make it in time after all.

When one goes out in their off duty time you have to sign out at the guardhouse as you leave camp. So when we arrived back, there was no way we could sneak in for we had to sign in again on our return. Being as it’s that late in the evening too, more reason we would be seen by the sergeant and we were.

In the British Army the well known (music hall) saying was “laddie,” so when those who wield power want you, that’s when you hear that well known phrase ringing from the heavens! ~
Tonight was no exception when the sergeant laid eyes on us, “miserable manky miscreants” his words, “Where the hell have you been & what the fr***en hell happened you miserable little men.” ~ More of his soft fatherly renderings.

He then proceeded to verbally berate you downwards till you shrink down to about two inches in height, I am sure that at that point he would have loved to raise his boot and stomp on us like some small irritating bugs.

The end result to all of the verbal rampage is, we got put on report and the following day got sentenced to 7 days confined to barracks. That also means working cookhouse duties, usually spud bashing (peeling taters) ~ ever figure out just how many potatoes a camp full of soldiers can eat? You don’t really want to know my friend.

So that was the memorable end to an even more memorable 18th birthday, one I certainly can‘t forget.

There are many stories in the life of a soldier, this has been one of them.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Meme for friends

I have been meme’d by my friend Swen. Meme is a new term for me and I am not really familiar with it.

So doing as all good bloggers do I googled the definition of the word meme. The following excerpts are what I thought were of interest: ~ ~

Richard Dawkins coined the term meme, which first came into popular use with the publication of his book The Selfish Gene in 1976. Dawkins based the word on a shortening of the Greek "mimeme" (something imitated), making it sound similar to "gene". ~ Memes do not always get copied perfectly, and might indeed become refined, combined or otherwise modified with other ideas, resulting in new memes. These memes may themselves prove more (or less) efficient replicators than their predecessors, thus providing a framework for an hypothesis of cultural evolution, analogous to the theory of biological evolution based on genes."

"A short story written in 1876 by Mark Twain, Literary Nightmare, describes his encounter with a jingle so "catchy" that it plays over and over in his mind until he finally sings it out loud and infects others (also known as an earworm).”

I took my first hint from the ‘Meme’ posted by Swen, in it he said, ”I will endeavour to mirror his 7 randoms, find something as close as possible to his.” Meaning the person who had meme'd Swen.

Therefore I took the implied meaning of meme to mean, ~ imitate or mimic. ~ Talk about information overload, but it can sometimes prove at best, a little interesting. So here then after much dallying around is my attempt at a meme.

1. I was born in an age when most all kids were named after a parent or some relative, distant or otherwise. You only got one first name, for in England middle names were not given at that time. My distinction is, I am the first Eric so named anywhere in the family tree that I am aware of, as a child I hated it for I wanted it to be spelled as Erik.

2. On the subject of white/gray and we are talking of hair. White/gray hair doesn’t seem to run in my family as it does with some. Therefore if I live long enough to break that distinction, I possibly could live to be a 100, hopefully before it all falls out.

3. In the course of my lifetime thus far, I believe I have driven just about every type of vehicle imaginable and in many different parts of the world. I have driven on both sides of the road depending on the country ~ I’ve also been known to drive across country up hill & down dale. ~ My most memorable drive was to drive a ‘Tank’, (23 MPH) surely not the fleetest of foot, down the ‘Autobahn’ when I was in Germany many years ago.

4. Fortunately I have not had a benign incident in my life, however I too am on corticosteroid medication for the rest of my life due to my COPD.

5. I was in the army at age 17. It was during one of my training periods at a Tank firing range camp well out into the wilderness of the moors, I celebrated my 18th birthday. To that end then a few buddies & myself went into the nearest town by local bus that afternoon, the idea was to look around have a beer or two and try not to get into any mischief. Well wouldn’t you know it, unknown to us at the time, the last bus back to camp left at 9pm, without us of course. It was only by a fluke that we discovered that and then realized we didn’t have a heck of a lot of time to get back to camp, curfew was at midnight! ~ Cutting a long story short we ended up walking almost half the 18 miles and getting a ride on the back of an old flatbed style coal lorry (truck) the rest of the way. Well you can imagine the look on the sergeants face when we rolled in, wearing the Queens uniform and totally covered in coal dust! The rest of that episode is too, too sad.

6. I have to say that most all birds are my favorite, we are fortunate where we live to have built up a bird haven that is visited year round with such a wide variety of our fine feathered flock. I have to relate though that at this point, the Raven has to be a favorite of mine. Raven happens to be the handle that my wife uses when online at the few places she visits. It was while we were online together that we met and of course, many stories later here we are. That Raven was the greatest catch of my life. Nowadays the wife & I spend many a romantic moment watching our feathered friends.

7. You would think that after serving in the army for 8 years and having family in the military over the years, that I would have a tale to tell, sadly I have no stories to relate really. ~ My great & grandfather were in the army & uncles were in the navy, all served through the first & second world wars. Luckily all but one survived and came home, but vastly changed men from when they left, but who in those days wasn’t. The one lost soul was an Uncle Harold who disappeared at sea in the merchant marine.

Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged/meme‘d.

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 3 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

I am tagging: Augs Casa Shades of Twilight Elli

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Last Friday I got roared.

Thank you so much Zirelda for that honor. ~

Shameless says : Those people I've given this award to are encouraged to post it on their own blogs; list three things they believe are necessary for good, powerful writing; and then pass the award on to the five blogs they want to honour, who in turn pass it on to five others, etc etc. Let's send a roar through the blogosphere! The image above can be copied and pasted onto other blogs. Also, a small size of the award for sidebars can be found over at the writing circle site.

Like Zirelda, I too am not really sure what constitutes good powerful writing. 1. I do like stories that grab me early into the book. 2. Good descriptive writing creates the image that puts me in the midst of the action. 3. A story from the heart will always stir the right emotions inside of me, causing me to reach for the tissues.

A lot of the blogs I read vary in substance. One I find most interesting is ~
Newnorth. She writes about a multitude of things and has that ability and approach that keeps you wondering, ‘what’s next’! It’s like being on a carousel, but she does write good from the heart stories.

Leon writes very well and is a combination of so many characters ~ you see he enjoys himself immensely, being quite active in the theatre.
Leon is a busy family man, an avid reader and writes about the many things in his life. Like many he compliments his posts with very good pictures of the workings of his character acting parts.

is another one I consider a dear online friend. He now lives in Germany, but his site with all the different flags complete with an explanation, needs to be seen. I find Swen very interesting, for apart from being a good read he is a very outgoing type of guy, he likes a good joke and even the odd quiz here & there. He travels quite frequently with his family and always comes back & shows very interesting photo’s. I enjoy reading the travel stories he writes.

Tim Is an artist, a very good artist whose work always amazes me when I see it. Tim is a very hard working and conscientious person, an online friend who shines no matter what he does. I have read a lot of his writing and believe me, he is no slouch with the pen ~ such talent.

Pursuance of Truth, by Janice Thompson, an amazingly good poet with a very distinctive style that is unique. For me she is a favorite read.

When the Heart Speaks, by Margie a well known & loved poet on these blogs & World united Bloggers. Margie has taken a sabatical for a little while, but it would be amiss to not include her among my favorite places to read.

Augs Casa is another good blog that I like to visit, my mate is such a happy go lucky family man, a treat to be around when he gets on a roll.

Shades of Twilight, another good Photography blog, such great shots by “Shades” showing life the way it is, another favorite.

So many and such great reading. The World really is, the proverbial oyster.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Will o’ the Wisp

This last few days have been pretty hectic, & as is usually the case, ~ so much effort and too little to show for it all.
It seems that it was just a few short weeks ago that the weather was a balmy 38c, that in itself was crazy for Sept/October.
~ Summer Fall & Winter ~

Seems we missed the fall somewhere along the way, even the leaves for the most part, just rotted on the trees before falling away. Real will-o’-the-wisp weather if you ask me, for after reaching low’s of -3c this last week, today was up again to an unrealistic +13c.
In keeping with the weather, today we went to the park!
So here are a couple or so shots of a will-o’-the-wisp fall season!

Leaves stubbornly hanging on.

Pampas grass? A bright sight, in the cool fall weather.

Hmmmm It's that man again!

Cool clear waters

Cool clear brilliant sky.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lest We Forget

In" Flanders Field," if you should go,
You'll see the gravestones, row on row
In fields of green and poppies red,
Rest all the boys that we once bred,

And as you stand and listen long,
Perhaps you'll hear, their voice in song.
Remember long, remember sad,
All the boys, that we once had

Remember lives, that they once filled,
But now they rest, in "Flanders Field"
The boys who all went down in song,
Through the mud and blood, to fields beyond.

So each year it's remembrance time,
Remember boys, both yours and mine
Think of the wars, whence they all died,
Take a look at today, was it justified

The "Vets" now, they are just a few,
To forget them all, will just not do.
Young ones, they must not forget,
The men that died, the blood they"Let".

In "Flanders Field" for you should go
To see the graves, stood row on row
Think of the wars, think of the greed,
Ask yourself, is this what we need.

A lesson learned, we hope and pray
So no more wars, least not today
The young ones now, our guardians are
And with some luck, they'll take us far.

In "Flanders Field " if you should go,
To see the graves stood row on row
Think of the boy's who are now a vet,
Make sure that you do "Not Forget "

Eric Valentine Nov 11/93©

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Melancholy Moment

I think that anybody who does blogging has to be familiar with David Santos.

A little while ago I was at David’s blog and read his sad story about a young girl. The following is an excerpt from that story. There is at the moment a protest movement ongoing, in an effort to get somebody to take some responsibility for the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. ~

~ “01.06.1998 – FLAVIA SOUZA BELO, at the age of 10, suffers a severe accident when her hair was sucked by the swimming pool drain in the condominium where she lived with her mother and her 14-year old brother, in the neighborhood of Moema, city of São Paulo, Brazil. Flavia experienced cardio-respiratory arrest and since then she is in a vigil coma, a condition that—according to the doctors—is irreversible.” ~

In thinking about this a few days ago. I wrote this little poem, I think it summarizes the situation as it stands. ~


Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Hairy 24

Monday we went out to the mall, mostly for me to exercise walking. Of course going anywhere, where there are stores can be fatal when we go out. I’m not a compulsive shopper, but the wife does believe in having back-ups. (cough, cough)

Like lots of people who live in these cold and in winter dry wastelands north of the border, (heating season) we do (especially because of my COPD) have a number of toy’s to compensate for all these climatic changes.

In winter it can get pretty dry here without the use of a humidifier. Ours just needs a new filter this time around.

Monday the day started off in a real hairy fashion. First the missus & I had a lively discussion about the filter as opposed to buying another machine that goes without filters. ~ That’s when the toaster decided to go on strike and refused to toast, oh boy! ~ Elizabeth’s eyes just lit up like a beacon! ~ Ours is a nice cream color, (she says antiquated old white! ~ Bah humbug! ) the wife now would like a black one. Another item to the list, all this and I hadn’t even left my chair yet to find out why it conked out. (I was thinking about the kettle incident!)

We arrived at the mall to walk ~ ahem ~ Elizabeth was off like a shot looking for the aisle with humidifiers, after finally catching up to her, we looked over what was available, we’re not impressed. ~ We were still discussing the filter, when we turned into the toaster aisle. There was a couple already there examining the toasters, and as we approached you could hear them voicing opinions on stainless steel verses black. She it seems, is leaning towards the black one.
That’s when we see…… the nice looking black toaster that the guy was holding in his hands. ~ He spotted us watching him, I guess we had made it pretty obvious, and with a smile he said’ you want this one don’t you?” I chuckled, this guy was a smart cookie alright.

He & his wife had not decided yet what they wanted, so I tried pointing out another store to him, where they had some great stuff, but he wasn’t falling for that either, or putting the toaster down! ~ When we came back a little later they and the toaster were gone.

We did find the aisle that held the filters & even got so far as finding what we needed, but the wife was adamant, she wanted a new filter-less machine.

So more stubborn resistance on my part, and sulks that would bring a fountain to tears on the part of the wife. That was the end of that store and so off we went to another favorite place to shop. Forgotten now it seems was the primary reason for coming out, re: walking exercise! Oh well, walking around a store can be deemed a workout in more ways than one. ~

When we got home with the new machine………… Well it was said that it wouldn’t hurt none to have a backup just in case……We never did get the toaster that the guy was holding, oh well there is always another day.

A number of times during this summer we have experienced a few minor problems with the fridge….. Uh Oh!………. Yesterday in line with all the other hairy goings on, the fridge decided it wanted to be a freezer,…. by freezing the eggs……… At this point it might be understandable then, that there were definite grounds for the gnashing of teeth! ….. C’est la vie……

This morning, after sleeping on an otherwise crazy day Monday, we rose bright eyed & bushy tailed. Elizabeth, all nice and cheery starts to prepare the breakfast. Going to the fridge…….. Surprise! ~
The fridge is once more a fridge again, not being able to compete with the freezer, and the eggs were just fine. Lo and behold, forgetting that the toaster was broken she flipped bread in and pressed the lever down, … The toaster, deciding that it wasn’t going to be replaced, considered it too had better work again, which it did! ~ The wife still in a shocked state served breakfast and forgot my eggs! Then on hearing my yelp! realized she had given me the wrong plate. Still the toaster worked! So today was going to be a fine day after all.

Later Elizabeth sat there deep in thought, then suddenly broke into excited chatter. She had started off by saying that she felt a little guilty over the humidifier, after all we had one that is still ok………. I said don’t be silly, we can always use a back-up…… Yikes! ………Did I say that? She burst out laughing at me. She then went on to point out that with all the savings, offers, adjustments and not having to buy a replacement filter, the new machine wasn’t that expensive anyway!.. Boy! Talk about cost justification.

I said to Elizabeth, ‘be careful what you say around me, you might end up in my blog !’ ~ More chuckles! ~

As you can tell by now, we tease the hell out of each other and have a lot of fun doing it.

A Hairy 24 will do that to you.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just a Great Day Feeling

Up bright & early today. Already we have had the usual groups of birds drop in for a bite. Red Cardinal, Blue Jays, and even for the first time together. A group made up of the Nuthatch, a few Red Breasted Nuthatch's and surprisingly a Black-capped chickadee all on the feeder at the same time. I give up trying to get a picture of that, it's almost as if they know, for the minute I'm ready with the camera they take off!

This was quite the site a couple of days ago. ~ That's a whole lotta Pumpkin Pie!


Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm Late, I'm Late, for a very Important Date!

We have a very nice neighbor lives upstairs over the top of us, she is a pretty marvelous woman I think. A couple of months or so ago, she had surgery on her right knee, it looked a mess at first to me but healed up nicely over a short period of time. Just a couple of weeks ago she went back in and had the other knee done. The first time, she was able to be in rehab whilst at the hospital for they had the room. The second time she was not so fortunate, so had to come home and go to rehab from there. While she was having all this done, Elizabeth has been looking after her lovebird, but that‘s another story.

I might say at this point that if that were me with the surgery, I probably would still be on my back and screaming blue murder! I’m not a baby, but you know what I mean. This lady really has the get up & go, along with a real good attitude.

Wednesday so happened to be my rehab day at the hospital for my COPD and yes, this time I was going to make it for a change. ~ We were part way down this ridiculously long hallway, when we heard the automatic door open behind us and someone huffing and hustling down that aisle like a freight train. Imagine my surprise when we saw it was our friend. I couldn’t believe she was moving so fast with a leg like that, for it has only been a few days since she came home from hospital.

On seeing us, she sped up and was mumbling and grumbling about being late. ( It reminded me of the White Rabbit & “The Mad Hatter“ from Alice in Wonderland).

It seems that the patient-van pickup service that brings her in for rehab ran late. She started to tell us what had gone wrong that morning. There is an out-patient pick-up service here called ActiVan, it is a very small fee pick-up & delivery service for disabled patients, using hospital rehab.

The thing with ActiVan is that you have to plan ahead, let them know and you will be on time. Her appointment was at 11am so pickup was set for 10.30 (the hospital is a 10-15 minute drive from here). The regular driver was off for some reason, so a young man filled in. As it was, he showed up 10 minutes late anyway & eating a sandwich. Somewhat perturbed she expressed her concerns about possibly being late, but he calmly and cheerfully informed her of only one other pickup before the hospital….Fred.

Normally the Activan customers are waiting at their front doors, but after ~ well, perhaps it seemed like a really long time to Sally ~ the driver went to knock on the door….Fred still wasn’t quite ready yet, so back to the van ~ several more hours (minutes) passed ~ I’m guessing at this point that Sally was planning both Fred and the drivers demise. Maybe the driver felt it. He went back into the house this time. More time passed. ~ Finally the driver and Fred emerged from the house and started for the van. Fred had a crutch and was also wearing a foot to knee cast on one leg, this slowed his progress a bit. Ok…that explains the time delay ~ Then suddenly Fred flips over into the bushes.

It takes the driver several minutes to notice he was alone, as he was ahead of Fred. Sally just can’t believe this is happening. The driver goes back and after a lot of awkward pushing and shoving decides the situation is impossible, for he can’t lift Fred up and it might be better if he backed the Activan closer to the bushes so Fred can just crawl in. Which unbelievably they do. ~ I’m surprised they didn’t just winch him aboard!

Sally gets a whiff of alcohol when Fred crawls in…well, ~ now it makes some sense….and off the three of them go to the hospital.

I’m killing myself laughing as the neighbor tells the story, for you have to see the funny side of it. Sally still grumbling, heads off down the hall, I know we shall hear more about that episode later. ~ I still have a smile on my face, for it all did turn out ok in the end.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Final Fall Days

We went to the park on Wednesday last week, but of course I didn’t write about it until now. The reason for that is I wanted to write a post in these final days, complete with more fall like pictures. On Wednesday Ted’s music was absent again and also on Sunday, chances are he doesn’t even know how much of an aura the music adds to the park in these closing days of yet another year.

In the midst of so much beauty, I can’t help but feel a little sadness. ~ Sunday was the closing day for the season at ‘Willow Park’ for this year 2007. This summer has been just one gorgeous treat after another in natures little wonderland. For the photographer it has been a very rich yield of one photographic opportunity after another. I have never ever been in such a place that gives so many display’s of naturalistic settings.

In relation to the park closing that took place Oct 21st it appears that, that was the closing date for the Ecology season education program for the young and youth of the community. ~ There is wonder in abundance in the vegetable and herb gardens as well as flower gardens, all thanks to the ecology programs. The obvious program success is there to see in the faces of the young children and the volunteers alike. They are as children will be, ~ excited at having learned and taken part in something that actually made things grow. We found out the park itself will of course be open year round right through the winter. I can just visualize the transformation that will take place, with a mantle of ice & white.

On the approach drive in to the park.

Even in the fall, flowers are still in healthy bloom.

Yours truly, back in my favorite surveillance position.

Pampas grass in full glory and in a high wind too.

This one I really love, a shot of the bridge.(on the River Kwai)

On my way home, it has been a great year, thanks Willow Park & all.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

A First Impression

It has been many years now since I first set foot in this country. Like many before me, we immigrated here from another place looking for a new life, in a not so promised land.

The very first thing that registered on me was, ‘hell it’s bloody cold here!’ The plane had touched down at Montreal airport for a customs and international health card check before proceeding further on our journey. Of course there probably had to have been other reasons why we landed there but that was the part that effected us. The doors of the plane had been opened since we landed, and they remained open for a whole hour. The icy fingers of the coldest winter wind that I had experienced in many years, came whistling down the aisles, enveloping the passengers and gripping you around the ankles, with the first welcome, to what felt like igloo land!

That certainly was my first impression at the time.

It was early in the month of March and naturally, winter was yet barely over. Another short delay as they found someone who needed a shot before they would be allowed to proceed, and then once more we were on our way.

We arrived at our destination to a fanfare welcome from the gathering of in-laws, some of whom I had never met before, and of course another icy blast of the cold stuff. These family members however, were quite key to us even being in our new home, for we had to be sponsored to come here.
So you get caught up with the initial excitement of things, for that is only natural and the weather momentarily becomes a memory.

That initial meeting with two of my brothers-in-law would be the start of what would turn out to be, our very foundation in this new life.
Just to show just how small the world can be, one of the bil’s turned out to be a guy I went to school with, so many years before and boy had he changed.

Jack, the other bil, is the one that sponsored us and where we stayed for the first eight weeks upon our arrival. Jack was one hell of a guy, full of fire, determination and a real workaholic. He was a great family man with a wonderful wife and kids. He was also a very mischievous person, “Dennis The Menace” comes to mind, ~ talk about a prankster.
There is really only one way to describe Jack, he was the original ‘Give you the shirt off his back’ guy, and that says it all.

Jack loaned me his car so I could go job hunting, he also set me up with a friend in the business to buy my first car over here. ~ Eventually, after I convinced him I didn’t want to live in an apartment, he found a way for me to purchase a house ~ I had been in the country just 2 months! ~ When they came out on strike at the steel mill I got a job at, he got me temporary work working alongside him, and his boss. Thanks to this man, I was able to build a rock solid foundation, in my new home of Canada. He and I were friends right up till the time he passed away from heart trouble, a few years ago God bless him.

Saying just thanks Jack, really doesn’t seem to be enough, but I will never forget my friend, my good Samaritan and for all that he and his family gave to us.

Every person should have a Jack to come to when they start a new life in a new country, I’m sure glad we had ours. I’m forever indebted to my friend, rest well Jack.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jack Sprat

Tonight we sat down to a delicious supper of orange-glazed pork chops, served with scalloped potatoes and cabbage as a vegetable.
During the course of the meal, I noticed Elizabeth cutting away a little bit of the fatty part of the chop. On seeing that I said to her that, that was one of the tastiest parts of the meat, but she wasn’t going to buy that one from me. That’s when the following nursery rhyme came into my head, which I quoted to my honey. I was surprised to hear that she had never heard it before, so I promptly googled it and showed it to her. The history of how that particular rhyme came to be was what I found interesting.

Jack Sprat

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean.

Origin can be found in British History:

The Jack alluded to is in fact reputed to be Charles I and Henrietta Maria, his Queen. Apparently, when King Charles declared war on Spain, parliament refused to finance him (leaving him lean!) So his wife imposed an illegal war tax (to get some fat!) after the angered King dissolved Parliament. The first publication date for the lyrics of this nursery rhyme can be traced to 1639.

This is the recipe for a taste sensation.

Orange-Glazed Pork Chops

Prep: 15 min.
Bake 30 min.

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon water
¼ cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon lime juice
1-½ teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bone-in pork chops
(¾ inch thick)
1 small lime, thinly sliced

In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, ginger, soy sauce and water until small. Stir in the marmalade, lime juice, oil and garlic until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir mixture for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Place the pork chops in a greased 8 inch baking dish. Spoon glaze over pork; turn to coat. Top with the lime slices. Bake, uncovered, @ 400 for 30-40 minutes or until pork juices run clear. Yield: 2 servings. ~ Enjoy ~

Bon appetit!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall's In

These are just a couple or more fall pictures that I said I would post, and are from Ontario, just over 2 hours North of Toronto Canada. A point of interest in the picture with the fire hydrant. If you look closely, you will see a post with a small pic on it above the hydrant. For those of a curious nature, these posts are to indicate that there is indeed a hydrant at that location. When winter and the snow arrives the hydrants really get covered. You can judge by the height of the ‘flag’ just how deep the snow can get.

A shot of Fairy Lake

On the Road again.

A view of the Muskoka River.

This is called Hunter Bay.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Giving Thanks

This year, before sitting at the table this thanksgiving, to partake of the wonderful bounty placed before us. I would like to take a moment, to offer our thanks to Mother Nature for all that she has given us already in such a wonderful year of pleasure.

This has been at a time of my life with this COPD, that I never dreamed I would participate in, let alone feast on such a menu of beauty to take home, but then who could turn down such an incentive.

When it comes to putting on a show nobody does it better than Mother Nature, who once again flexes her awesome power, putting on such enjoyable sights.

In addition to the park that we go to and I have shown so much of, we also have a small lake a short distance from where we live, it takes all of five minutes to get there. These then are a few shots taken there and some of its wildlife.

(clickable thumbnails)

Round em up, move em out!~ Time to go.

Now be nice ya hear, eat and no squabbling.

Well whadya think. ~ We come again next year?

Doncha think this is just a great turnout?

Get outer here! Ya say that to all the ducks.

Thanks for a summer to remember.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Park Poetic

We were at the park again on Sunday, the days are getting shorter and the summer is drawing in. I never mentioned before, but near the entrance to Willow Park there is a day care nursery school. The air is usually filled with chattering shrieking children, most days when we arrive at the park, but they are just kids having fun.

Today when we got there, the playground was standing empty but the signs of kids were still unmistakably scattered around. Over by a far fence there were tricycles & scooters. Gently blowing around in the breeze, was a red balloon, but restrained still, by the captive fence.

There is plenty of evidencet this week that fall is well under way, with leaves falling like red and orange colored raindrops, soon to be replaced with feathery flakes of white as the face of winter arrives with a vengeance.

The very landscape seems busy preparing itself for that Christmas card look, that comes with the approach of cold blustery snowy days & Santa Claus.
Small chipmunks and squirrels scurrying around gathering up winter nuts, food supplies, before the blanket of white covers them up to sleep, the turtles having disappeared already. Strangely, when leaving to drive home on this, one of these waning days, my thoughts were filled by a red balloon.

A red balloon escapes-
Twisting, turning lazily
In a shifting wind.
No longer tethered-
To a sleepy child’s hand.

A leafless limb,
stark against an autumn sky.
Music faint-
Amid the swirling mist -


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


About a week ago now one of our neighbors endowed us with a gift of this very sizeable zucchini. This monster had to be about four feet long and weighed almost as much as me. The first question that came out of me was, where the blazes are we going to put that thing! Second I asked the wife, why? Why did you even say yes, I swear I don’t know what she was thinking of. So for two days ‘it’ resided on the end of the dining room table. (I’m sure if it was plotting to take over the whole house.) believe me it can be quite intimidating trying to eat a meal with that thing giving you the once over.
I know you can carve a pumpkin, I guess we could carve the zucchini, that would get rid of half of it at least.
The wife likes those things, can’t you tell I have no time for them. ~ Zucchini always reminds me of a cucumber that went rampant with the hormone pills!

On day four Elizabeth decided that she would have some of that monster fried, I declined, though I admit it did smell pretty decent when she cooked it.

So the monster now, somewhat subdued and smaller in length, graduated to the kitchen counter not that we have a lot of space to start with. Of course the cut end was covered, but even that didn’t stop it from discoloring slightly. Out came the knife and some more bit the dust, unfortunately, now the size would at a squeeze, fit into the fridge! ~ Oh no not that I said to the missus, it’ll contaminate the rest of the food. ~ She gives me one of those patented over the spectacles looks, the ones that say’s you’re crazy! I smile, for this is my way of teasing her about the monster.


Have you ever had a period of time when things don’t just feel the way they should? The last few days have been that way for me, and I’m dammed if I can put a specific label on it. The problem I am sure is that I have COPD.
For the benefit of those folks who aren’t familiar with COPD let alone what it means or entails, I can try and explain a little. To try and keep things as short as I can, COPD is a respiratory disease and the only visible signs are, if someone is really SOB (short of breath). A favorite saying is, ”Sick Lungs don’t show”.
A person can get COPD in various forms as well as various ways. If you have smoked cigarettes/tobacco for any appreciable length of time you can end up with emphysema that is one form. Being asthmatic or suffering bronchitis at any level is another form. In fact if you suffer anything at all that interferes with your breathing, chances are you have COPD. A spirometry test will determine how badly you are effected.
The problem is that once you have the disease then you become prone to anything that goes round, by way of germs/bugs. This is because with COPD your immune system is compromised, therefore you can get whatever is going around if you‘re not careful.

So getting back to my being under the weather for a few days. It did not mean I was ill or sick again, it just meant I was under siege by whatever is afloat, for even the very weather itself can do it. If it is hot/damp/humid then that makes the air very heavy & hard to breathe. The cold can do the same thing too, for then it freezes your lungs and once again you are out of action.

Today was supposed to be rehab drop in, I didn’t make it because of the above difficulties. Instead then, we decided to try and go in the a/c truck to the a/c mall and pick up some needed med supplies.

On the way to town there was ample evidence that fall is upon us, with all of the changing leaves. This then brought to mind our visits to the park and the declining number of days left. We had hoped to get to the park again today, but the weather put paid to that idea. Still there we were driving along and thinking. I could almost see the park from where we were, so tantalizingly close and yet, so far off limits for today at least.
At the mall we took care of a number of things, and at least I got some walking in, which is good for me. We did get one real steal today at the ‘Cole’s bookstore‘, ‘Windows Vista for Dummies” book was on sale at 30% off , not bad when you can get a book like that for under $20. So now if the computer starts acting up, I can at least, whack it with the dummy book!

We also ended up at the food court and the tasty ‘Frisco Fries’ need I say more! I keep telling myself that the extra couple of lbs I have put on recently, is simply because winter is coming and I need the insulation, yeah, that’s what I thought too, that works if you’re a bear.

Guess I have to do a workout when we get home.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Loose Ends and Friends

I can’t believe that September is almost over, where ever did the time go? I have been thinking recently that I had mentioned certain things in previous blogs and then left them dangling. Just lately I seem to have been so busy with online friends and ongoing business. Loose ends and friends, it’s time to tie a few knots and clear the decks for more stuff.

You will remember a little while back, that we ran into some transmission trouble with the truck and this, after we had, had a front end brake job done.

With the transmission if you remember where we left off, I was holding my breath that the problem wasn’t a serious expensive job. The o/d light was flashing and that could be indicative of anything from a hamburger to a steak. The good news turned out to be that it just needed the bands adjusting and they replaced a ‘Shift Kit’ for it appeared that it was skipping 3rd gear. The cost for that was sufficient, but certainly better than a new Tranny.

Some very good advice I received along the way with this saga was: Never take your tranny to a franchise dealer, for it is assumed that you could get set up etc. etc. The advice is to always pick a small non franchise dealer, you will fare a lot better, it certainly paid off for me at least.

For an encore to the transmission I was endowed with the plague of ‘Vista’ on my new computer.
There was of course the initial problem of no email service, which was resolved after much harassment of a number of people, ranging from Hewlett Packard, Internet explorer types and even the giant, Microsoft itself. So after much gnashing of teeth and resetting of half the hard drive, it seemed. “We Got Mail” since then the only problems we get with email is, sometimes they are just so slow to go anywhere, and other times they just go into orbit never to be seen again by man nor beast!

I have read and heard a number of times about that most elusive word, (usually found in divorce courts) Incompatibility, a week ago I ran into that monster full tilt.

We use a digital camera like most folks do and for us we run the Kodak easy-share program. Easy? Ha! Not when you hang out with Vista. It downright refused to accept the disc that came with the camera. I was almost ready to need a gasket job of my own! So off I went with my newly working email to get in touch with Kodak. After much detailed conflabation, we achieved success with another download. However I celebrated too soon at the newly installed Kodak program. As always when you get an upgrade, they always seem to mess something up that used to work oh so well with XP. With XP I used to be able to email out my pictures in varying sizes, which works great for the things I like to do with them. Not any more! What a botchup!

Between the differing ‘My Document’ files set up with Vista compared to XP, the Kodak too has to bring in its own set of file mis-management and manipulation as well. Trying to get the two to work efficiently together is so far, still out to lunch.

I am determined to get the better of these two adversary’s, by hook or by crook. To that end I got the Vista Dummy book from the library, I realize now though I will be better off to buy my own book, I cannot resolve all the challenges of Vista in just a 3 week span. At the present I have the 'Windows Vista book for seniors', which gives you more visual oriented explanations, until I get to the store. The battle continues.

October 21 is supposed to be closing day at the park we go to so much. We are going to miss that place tremendously over the winter months, but we will be ready with the ‘Bit firmly between the teeth’ come opening day in April 08. My thanks to all the volunteers that make Willow Park the haven that it is.

The final loose end my friends belongs to all of you, the friends and people who daily come along and visit my blog with such regularity, wondering no doubt or I hope, what did he do today!
Without the people to come and read/look/post, there would not be a lot of incentive at times to try and write anything. I don’t have a set piece that I do when I write here, but I do try to provide a little variety in an effort to keep things interesting and at times provide a chuckle or two. So to all of you out there a big, big thank you for all your support, interest and comments keep coming back ya hear!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Waning Days of Summer

We were at the park again yesterday, the weather had picked up and it was warm enough to venture over and see if there were any more turtles sunning themselves.

It had occurred to us that although we have taken many pictures at Willow Park this summer, we didn’t have any of the two of us together. Yesterday we rectified that omission by shooting a healthy number of photographs.

Elizabeth and I will not torture you with a whole bunch of poses, but we will share a couple of the ones we like with you. Incidentally as it turned out no turtles showed up for us this time.

We hadn't eaten yet so I was getting hungry, still a walk to go though.

Honest we were just holding hands!

A seat at the picnic table after lunch.

Well fed and resting.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Willow Park

Yesterday we went to the park. In the morning I was feeling very restless. I know that this came from checking my post for Tuesday.
The post simply read “Fateful Times” a poem that I wrote a number of years ago. Last Tuesday was the 6th anniversary of the infamous 9-11. ~

Yesterday we went to the park, yet thoughts were weighing heavy on my mind. Physically I was not having a very good start to the day, but I still had to get out and enjoy a little of what is left of the summer season.

From previous posts you have noted our enjoyment of this little piece of heaven, this corner of the ‘Garden of Eden’, ~ this ‘Willow Park‘.
It was an overcast day to begin with the temp’s hovering around 68f.
As I drove along the highway, I was having my doubts about whether this was a good decision to have made, ~ I drove anyway.

It was a similar morning six years ago that was preying on my mind. On that day many people left the house to go to work, or their daily business, just like any other day. Too many of them never came back home.
So many people died that morning and they never even knew it was coming, let alone how. Such a horrific scene, such a deep scar on the face of humanity.

Yesterday we drove to the park, and were thankful to be able to do so. We enjoyed the simple pleasures of the wonders of nature, clouds overhead with the odd burst of sunshine. Finally between sun bursts, a turtle sunning on a log in the pond along with three baby turtles on smaller logs, you can see a baby in the top righthand corner. We were beginning to wonder if there were indeed any turtles around. But yesterday was Painted turtle day and the bull frogs were conspicuous in their absence.

Like us the turtles time is coming to a close here at the park, as they are known to hibernate beneath the mud in the pond for the winter. ~ Amazingly, these turtles can survive without oxygen up to five months at 37.4f ~

Yesterday Ted wasn’t home playing his classical music, so everything seemed extremely quiet around the park. The geese flying overhead were the only sounds, other than the music of the rippling stream as the water hurried itself over the rocks and slipped away into the distance.

I reminded myself that there are not too many days left before the park will be closing up for this season. I still had to get photo’s though when the leaves turned, for they would complete the picturesque scenes of this place we have grown to love so much. I counted the days that there are left to come here and uttered my thanks that we should be so privileged.

My mind was active as we drove home from our September day at the park. ~

I thought of another September day, six years ago. ~