Sunday, August 28, 2005


Sometimes I feel like a wet noodle. Sometimes I feel like three wet noodles. Give me some credit though, for if nothing else, it takes some nerve for an old fart such as I to post a photo of his near-naked self for all of the world to see.

Cuppa took this picture several weeks ago in my BIL's pool. Since I am waving, it seems at least somewhat appropriate to post it on our final full day here in Sarnia. I had thought that I would be too busy to post today, but, as it turns out, there's little else that I can do, for I continue to experience a back crisis. It's changing positions that's really difficult. Rolling over in bed became quite an ordeal last night; eventually, I managed to accomplish the task with prodigious help from my elbows. The more weight I can bear with my upper body, the easier it is on my back. It's not much better today, so let's hope that tomorrow brings a substantial change.

Regardless, the modem and router will be dismantled today, so this is the final post from Sarnia, where we have lived for the past thirty-four years, twenty-two in this very house. Full cycle: I came as a rookie teacher and leave as a retiree. I had two parents and no children; now I have two children and no parents. Enough of that, however.

We won't have access to a high speed telephone internet connection in our new digs, but we can get broadband through the cable television company if we choose. Meanwhile, Butterfly and The Boy have high speed in their place, and we'll be staying with them, probably for the best part of the next week. We take possession of the new place on Tuesday, but won't receive our worldly goods until Friday. Between Tuesday and Friday, I expect there will be shopping and purchases to occupy us. There's always quite a bit of that when you move into a new place. Knowing myself a little, however, I must speculate that I'll get around to posting something before too long.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Thwart, Thwart, Thwart

There's been a whole lot of thwarting going on around here lately!

A few days ago, I posted a photo of the heron which we have been regularly passing by. I said he was always there, always in the same spot. So, we made a special trip with my camera and the telephoto lens.

Thwart! He was there but much further back, so far back that the telephoto lens couldn't bring the heron close enough for a decent picture.

That was in the afternoon. However, we usually bike in the morning, and, sure enough, when we cycled by the bird on the next morning, he was back in his usual spot, relatively close to the road — close enough that had I brought it I would have been able to get a fairly tight shot with my telephoto lens (which I don't take with me on the bike).

Yesterday morning, when Cuppa went out for coffee with a friend, I decided to visit the cemetery, and I wrote about that already (in the post just below this one). However, before going to the cemetery, I and my telephoto lens detoured to the drain, thinking that, since it was morning, the bird surely would be there posing in his photo-friendly spot.

Thwart! He was way back up the ditch once more. Does he somehow sense when I will have my camera and take appropriate evasive action? I took some photos regardless, and rather like the colour of the grassy and reedy bank to the left and the landscape in general in the following picture. But the heron is no closer with the telephoto lens than he was in the previous photo without it.

Hold on; there are more thwarts coming, for yesterday afternoon, after being treated to a farewell lunch by our elderly neighbours who live across the road, we decided to go for a ride. We changed into our cycling gear and got on the bikes.

Thwart! I had a flat tire: my first in over a year. We put the bikes away and did some more packing. What fun!

Then, yesterday evening while I was doing something or other outside, I noticed the sun lowering in the sky through the trees across the street. The sun seemed full, and I thought this would be a good photo op. "Let's drive out to the lake and take some sunset pictures," said I.

On the way, we stopped by the heron's hang out once again.

Thwart! You guessed right; he was far away — again! For something to do, I turned the camera to the side and took the following photo. I suppose that it does in a pinch, but it is most certainly not what I had in mind!

Do you notice the cloud cover in the above photo? Please recall that we had set out in quest of a glorious sunset over Lake Huron, but that must have been interpreted by the universe as a clarion call to immediately dispatch abundant clouds our way. Nevertheless, we continued; perhaps the clouds would dissipate. Hah!

Thwart! Although the eastern sky remained clear, the western sky was almost obscured. The following photo was the best I could manage. I played with it in Photoshop to try to breathe some life and drama into it, but you can only do so much.

With all of that behind me, I called the bike shop this morning and asked if they could fix the flat. Yes, they could, and with some difficulty we crammed and jammed the bike into the car and headed off.

Major thwart! My back spasmed as I was lifting the bike out of the car to take it into the shop. Now, I can barely move. Cuppa is attending to last minute packing, but here I sit — uselessly immobilized. We can probably get help to pack the car tomorrow night, and there's little for us to do on Monday but be here while the movers pack up the truck. But then, we have to get in the car and drive for seven hours, and no one is going to be able to help with that trip. I think that I will be able to manage to do my share of the driving (well perhaps not exactly my share since I generally do all of the driving), for I can adjust the car seat to a fairly back friendly position, but we'll be on pins and needles until we get there.

This isn't at all what I had hoped. I don't want to be immobile right now, especially not now, not as we undertake the most major move of our lives. I will try to handle myself with cheerfulness and good grace, but I feel mighty useless. I feel that I have let the team down.

Thwart, thwart, thwart!


Friday, August 26, 2005

They Were Enough

We are entering the final countdown before Monday's big move. Fortunately, we have lately been treated to a number of farewell dinners, rather a good thing considering the dearth of edibles in the fridge and our incredible disinclination of having anything that might be considered remotely intimate to do with the stove. I had put a visit to the cemetery on my mental todo list and finally got around to paying my respects this morning.

I'm have not been an avid visitor of cemeteries since I deem that nobody is really there. In fact, my dad's remains have rested there for six and a half years, and I have not really visited. I did take mum there for a quick visit once so that she could reassure herself that those responsible had dutifully added the year of dad's death on the flat and tasteful headstone. She was not a terribly trusting soul, my mother wasn't. Me? I am perhaps too trusting, too willing to assume that all will work out. It turns out, of course, that it usually does, so I was not surprised to find that mum's death date had been duly added, probably two years ago, shortly after she died.

Although I have confessed to not being an avid visitor, I must now admit to spending a very pleasant time at the graveside today. It was a wonderful summer morning; gentle cooling breezes caressed me in the shade. I sat on the grass and let my mind wander. Preferring to enjoy the quietude, I didn't try too very hard to stir up memories but let my mind wander wherever it would.

Memories that did pass across my mind were just that, memories from a long time ago: mostly from over forty years ago when I was young and my parents were much younger than I am now. I remembered walking with the folks one day and my mother bemoaning the fact that she was about to turn forty. Dad reminded her of the old saw that life begins at forty. I also remembered my mum and I once laughing hysterically at my hearing-impaired father when he responded incredulously to some comment or other that he has misheard: "You want me to weed the carpet?" Why this next memory came unbidden to my mind I don't know, but for a while we went to a very small church that was short on talent. My mother once tried to sing a solo, and her voice cracked on the high notes, but she did okay. And I remembered dad preaching a sermon from Philemon when the pastor was on holidays, and I had been proud to realize that he was quite a good preacher.

Then I thought how the wheel of time ever turns. About twenty years ago mom and dad moved here to be nearer family in their declining years. Now, I am the one moving to be nearer my kids. I am not going there to die but to live, but, of course, death comes ever closer, and one can't help but think about it. I don't think it's gruesome or macabre to ponder my death; it's just the wheel turning, always grinding relentlessly onward.

I sat there on the ground in the shade of the trees for quite some time. It was pleasant, so pleasant that I wondered about changing my own plans. I have thought to have a tree planted over my remains in some unmarked spot, but now I wonder. Perhaps I should give my kids the opportunity of visiting such a peaceful spot, a place where they can think and, perhaps, remember. We are not there, where we are buried, but it marks a spot where there is nothing for the visitor to do but rest and remember, and that is not such a bad thing. But in the end, I'll probably still opt for for an isolated unmarked site and ask for tree to be planted over me. It pleases me to think that some of my remains might be absorbed into a mighty oak or a shady maple or a staunch jack pine.

Soon enough, it was time to leave, time to say goodbye, a sort of goodbye anyway although my memories go with me and will endure for as long as I endure. Someday, that's all I shall be, a shadow in someone else's memories, and then those memories too shall fade, and I shall finally fade with them. Perhaps that is as immortal as we shall ever be. I couldn't help but think that today, that this one brief and flickering candle that we call life is all that we have to live and that we might as well live it fully, whatever that means to each person. I am not dogmatic about this, and I am not being theological in this respect; it was simply an impression that I had.

Soon, too soon, the best part of an hour had flown by, and it was time to depart. I patted the headstone and spoke out loud. I told mum and dad or the ground or the air around them that they had done a fine job, that they had done their best and that their best was enough.

That's not so bad is it: to do your best and for you best to be enough?


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Border Flags

Honest. I had this photo posted in draft mode before Jen did her flag photos. (O good grief, I think I inadvertently deleted her address from my bookmarks, and the name of the blog escapes me.)

We live, for another few days at least, in a border town. When we head to the river and, more importantly, to the chip trucks under the bridge, we are treated to two large pairs of flags flying. One pair flies on the Canadian side, and the other similarly sized pair (they're big flags, folks) waves to us from Stateside. Our countries have their little squabbles from time to time, but we get along pretty darn well for the most part: with a lot of mutual respect too.

They're big and impressive; I simply like to look at these flags and thought that you might too. Since the vast preponderance of visitors to this blog are either Canadian or American, consider it a salute to you and to each other. There are scads of worse places to live than these two wonderful countries. And few better.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beautiful Enemy

Yesterday, I had a lot of company while deadheading the flowers. There were a lot of bees buzzing to and fro. They were busy both with the false sunflowers (heliopsis helianthoides) shown in this photo and in the cosmos beside them. I did get some pictures of the bees, but they weren't nearly as sharp as this photo of a handsome wasp. Wasps are a royal pain at this time of year, sometimes literally, but they are rather photogenic creatures. On balance, however, I think I'd gladly forego the photo in exchange for a little peace. Never eat outdoors in late August and early September: not around here anyway.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Great Blue Heron

Oddly enough, after I mentioned the Great Blue Heron in my post yesterday, I began to recall that we had tried to take some photos. Sure enough, there were a few on Cuppa's camera. While this isn't exactly a close-up, it isn't so very terrible either.

It will serve a nice reminder for us of many enjoyable bicycle trips out to The Grove. Last year, we rode the trail, but this year we have discovered a route that allows us to travel on paved but lightly travelled country roads. Pedalling on pavement is easier and faster than on trails, and it's a lot less dusty and grimy too.

The river that you see in this photo is a human-made, or at least human-enhanced, drain (or ditch). The water is always brown, but, for some mysterious reason, it turned out blue in this picture — without any Photoshop contrivances on my part — for a change.

As I wrote yesterday, we usually call a loud and cheery greeting to this heron, who is almost always poking about or very close to this very spot. S/he must wonder about the sanity of these boisterous humans shouting from their odd, two-wheeled contraptions, but we like doing it. We should be able to make a couple of more trips before moving day, and we'll continue to greet the bird cheerily.

The funny thing is that I almost feel sentimental about this impending loss (i.e. not encountering the heron any more), for I suppose that I am letting this encounter represent the many bicycle trips which we have enjoyed so very much. I am not overly lugubrious about leaving this locale, but I am a tiny bit wistful about forsaking this bicycle route, not to mention this Great Blue Heron.

It has been our wonderful privilege to ride out to the shores of beautiful Lake Huron. It's just about the right distance for us, and the destination can't be beat — Lake Huron and Tim's. I'm pretty darn positive that we won't find a better route in our new location, but we'll make the best of whatever we are afforded, and we'll endeavour not to cast too many comparative backward glances.


Sunday, August 21, 2005


Suddenly, and without warning, I don't seem to have much to blog. Apart from the occasional informational item, I have been reduced to silence for the past week or so. I can't seem to even muster a comment on most blogs. I have been keeping up with you, however. Since I have nothing to say, I am pleased to have this photo to post.

The Boy and The Butterfly are visiting this weekend, saying their goodbyes to this house. We, ourselves, only have one more weekend before we make the long cross-province move.

Yesterday morning, The Boy looked out the kitchen and saw this goldfinch in the side border. We all scurried to the window and looked. At first, I didn't bother to get my camera because I have found that birds usually don't stay put for long. After a minute or so, however, he was still there. So, I found my camera, changed to the telephoto lens, and was still able to take about a dozen pictures through the window pane before he flew off. This was the best photo, but I still had to crop it, brighten it, and warm it up a bit in Photoshop.

When we are biking, there is one section where we often see goldfinches. They often seem to escort us, but they are really trying to fly off and are surprised when that we are able to keep up with them. At that point, they speed up or veer off, but it's fun to travel with them (as it were) for a while. They seem to fly in short, looping bursts that I quite enjoy watching.

There is something very satisfying about being touched by nature, even in these small ways, like seeing three young hawks practising their soaring close to ground level in the wetlands the other day. There is another spot where we see a blue heron almost every time we cycle by, and we usually shout a cheery greeting. We always have Cuppa's camera at hand, but the 3x optical zoom doesn't really give us a good shot, and I am a little loathe to pedal about the countryside with my SLR and telephoto lens in tow.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

From My Email

I can't resist this.


International Symbol of Marriage is Approved

After 5 years of heated debate

the Commission of Human Rights

approved the

International Symbol of Marriage:


Friday, August 19, 2005

Blogger Adds Word Verification

Bless Google's little heart because they keep on finding ways to improve Blogger. We now have the option of adding word verification to our comments. This means that anyone who wishes to comment must copy a random string of letters. It may cut down somewhat on spammers. I am going to give it a try. I have re-enabled Anonymous comments and enabled Word Verification. If I don't like the results, I can always change my mind — again!

Two things:

  1. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just try to comment on this blog, and you'll soon get the idea.

  2. I have also found a freeware program called Wink, which you can obtain at the Wink homepage. Wink enables you to easily construct a movie of what's occurring on your screen. Click here to view the little movie I have made a showing How to Enable Word Verification. Once again, check out this freeware at the Wink homepage.

    The caveat is that you must have space on the Internet to house the movie.

    You should also know that people must have Flash enabled in order to play it, but I don't think that this is a problem for the overwhelming majority of folk.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Blogging with Word

I don't use MS Word to create my posts, but you might use it to compose and edit your entries. According to BloggerBuzz, there now exists a plugin for Word that allows you to do everything from within the program, including publishing. Because I don't use Word, I haven't personally checked out this plugin; I'm just passing the news on.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Childhood Memories

Gina has tagged me to elucidate on the five things that I miss about my childhood.

I'm not sure that I actually miss anything. Miss is a strong word, which, to me, implies a sense of loss, but I hold that life is to be lived and appreciated in the present. However, there are some fond memories which spring wistfully to mind as I dimly contemplate my ancient history, so I will make an attempt to follow the spirit of the meme. Whether or not I manage to unearth five, or only five, memories remains to be seen.

Extended families, or at least their dwelling together, are largely a thing of the past. However, my first recollections are of my parents and I living in my grandfather's house, along with him and my uncle. It seemed natural then, and it seems right in my memories.

In those memories, grandad and uncle Charlie seem to be more normally socialized than my parents. Dad was extremely shy but also nervously quick to anger. Meanwhile, Mom had an odd way of being in the world. While some people, like my Cuppa, tend to see the world through rose-coloured glasses, Maw tended to peer darkly through grey, foggy, and somber spectacles. Fortunately, Grandpa seemed placidly normal, and uncle Charlie was a happy, little munchkin who liked to laugh, tease, and joke, and I think that their influence may have helped me to achieve whatever small semblance of normality I possess.

The thing about elementary school that lingers in my memory was that we were all together and accepted into the whole group. I did not have the sense of separateness or otherness that I later endured in high school. I was an ordinary kid in what must have been a rather tough school environment, but I got along pretty well in that milieu, not one of the tough guys but accepted by them. I was innocent then and could exist ingenuously without angst in my surroundings.

When I was around nine or ten, I received a weekly allowance of fifteen cents. With that amount of money, I was able to buy three chocolate bars. The bigger bars were a dime each but a nickel would buy us a smaller bar.

On payday, Saturday, I remember sometimes spending my stipend on three of the smaller bars, probably Neilson milk chocolate. That night, we would sit down to watch Hockey Night in Canada, and I would produce my three chocolate bars: one for each of us — Mom, Dad, me.

I'm sure that this generous phase did not last for very long, but this simple sharing seemed right and good to me then, and it does now too.

In a similar vein, I was in Wolf Cubs for several years. We met at my school on Wednesday evening. At closing time, my dad would usually meet me at the doors to make sure that I got home safely. Along the way, I sometimes got him to stop at a variety store called Pops. He would give me a dime for a bag of chips which I would happily munch on the way home. To this day, I remain rather fond of potato chips.

In those days, life was simple. Nelson was my best friend. On our walk back to school after lunch, we often threw a ball back and forth for the whole route. On weekends or on summer days, we would take a picnic lunch to The Tree by the train station and eat and talk on one of its huge, low branches. We were forever riding about on our bikes, Nelson and I. We biked downtown; we biked to Mount Royal in the middle of Montreal; we biked to Beaver Lake. Life was good, uncluttered by cares and responsibilities.

We met again several years ago, after more than decades had passed. we were still able to talk and laugh and be friends.

Although I didn't really know it at the time, we were pretty poor. Oh, I knew that we weren't rich, but I never felt poor. We didn't have a television until I was almost ten and were car-less until I was much older than that. We got around by public transport which was pretty reliable back then in Montreal.

Any number of times, my parents took me to Cap St Jacques for the day. I always liked the water, still do I guess. We'd pack a picnic lunch and get on the bus and make a day of it. Since dad didn't like the water, I know that they did this mostly for me, and I think that was pretty darn nice of them. I can't think that the bus trip was much fun for them, but they seemed happy to make me happy.

Well, that's six, and I suppose that I could go on, but I won't. Thanks, Gina, for giving me something useful to do when I woke up before five o'clock this morning.

In my bleary state, I would be hard pressed to remember five people to tag, let alone type their names, but I rather hope that Butterfly might choose to pick this up. She hasn't been blogging lately, and I'd like to hear from her. The proper rules for Butterfly or anyone else can be found at Gina's.

I think I'll put this aside to proofread later and try to go back to bed now.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Going to the Dogs

On one of our rides last week, we made our usual stop at Tim's in the Grove before taking the coffee down to the lake. While I was inside ordering the brew, someone tied their dog to a post near Cuppa. As soon as Cuppa spoke a few friendly words, the mutt rolled over and assumed the requisite position for a tummy rub.

It's something that I have been noticing a lot lately. Has there been a big societal change or has it always been so?

I speak not of canine tummy rubs, at least not necessarily, but of the bond between woman and pooch.

It seems to me that the phrase Man's Best Friend is no longer true if it ever was. Or if it was, I interpreted wrongly, for it must have meant man in the broad sense as in mankind or human as opposed to male. But methinks that it really did mean males, and, if it did, the times they are a'changin.

The phrase should be altered to say Woman's Best Friend because it is they who are walking the dogs in my neighbourhood. Not that men don't as well, but it seems that the preponderance of walkers are female.

Are they family pets, and is it the ladies who walk them either because no one else will or because they want company on their walks? Or are women choosing canine companions in unprecedented numbers? If so, do they choose out of loneliness, desperation, or preference? Could it be that the pooch makes a better companion than the typical male?

Really, I have no idea what's going on. It's simply a phenomenon, at least in these parts, that I have been noticing.

I'd like to discuss this more, but Cuppa is approaching with the leash and saying "Walkies?!" Apparently I am dog enough for her.

Thank goodness. But when do I get my tummy scritched? Huh?


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

For Miss Muffet

You'd think that it would be easy.

We were sitting on the back deck yesterday morning and noticed the sun shining through this spider web. Great photo op. But we tried various shots without a whole lot of success. These were probably the best two, but they leave something to be desired. They shout, "Amateur!" which is exactly what I am, so that's okay.


Hemerocallis Crimson Pirate

I don't love the hemerocallis or daylily plant, but the flowers can be quite lovely. To me, the plants don't work well in a garden, but I don't mind them on their own, preferrably in an area where there aren't a lot of viable choices.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Cavalier Serendipity

Love me, love my dog. When we visit with our inlaws who adore their dogs (and I like them too), we usually score a few brownie points by taking treats for Oliver and Charlie — two rather adorable (excuse me as my nose tilts towards the ceiling as I write this) Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

This post is not about dogs, however, but people. When I dropped into the pet store to purchase Greenies just before our visit, I was surprised to note that a former student was there to transact my little purchase. He had worked there, in his parents' store, during high school, but I hadn't seen him for some time.

As we caught up I learned that he had graduated with a science degree from my old alma mater. After four years of higher education and one year in a research lab, he was forced to conclude that this wasn't the life for him. He did not love spending his days working in a small, windowless, interior space. And he began to recall that he had quite enjoyed working in the pet store while he was in high school.

He called the folks, and they were happy to have him back and take up ever more and more of the duties as they sailed further and further into advanced middle age.

We talked a little about the notion of preparing for the future. It's a really hard thing to do. Mike had a notion about science and research, but when he reached that place, he was disappointed. It wasn't him, wasn't what he had expected.

He certainly hadn't planned to take over his parents' business, hadn't expected to become a shopkeeper. But he likes it and is happier there, probably making much less money for the time being anyhow.

Life is like that. When we are young, we are told that we can be anything that we want to be. Silly and false notion that. The problem is that we can't really know what we want to be until we sip from that cup. We have to strive for something, and I don't suppose that Mike regrets going to university (in fact, he tells me that he had quite a good time there), for in my unworthy opinion, education is almost always a good thing. However, Mike was smart enough to to look elsewhere when he found himself disappointed and dissatisfied with life in a research lab. He reevaluated and ended up in a place where he never thought to be.

Retirement has been a somewhat similar experience for me. We are told to plan for our retirement, to know what we want to do. I thought that I might delve into A and B, but I found myself flowing into Y and Z. It's not that A and B don't interest me to some degree; I may take them up at some point. But right now, my inclinations lead me to Y and Z.

Just leave yourself a little elbow room. Give serendipity a chance. That's all that I'm saying.

And just in case you were wondering, this is what a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels looks like. Oliver is a sweet boy who looks a lot like Walt Disney's Lady to me.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Silence is Golden

On our morning ride, I couldn't help but notice (once again) all of the cyclists, joggers, and walkers carrying their portable music whatnots with wires extending from the whatnots to their ears.

Don't get me wrong, I think that music is great. I sing, whistle, and listen frequently. But silence is golden too. Sometimes it's nice to not have the distraction of a beat bouncing in your ears. You might hear birds chirping or the waves lapping the shore. You might be able to think a little differently, perhaps even better.

To me, at some point, most music transforms into annoying noise, even the good stuff, even the great Bocelli. I need to turn it off and lose myself in white noise periodically. During a marathon drive with Lady Bug two summers ago, I needed the occasional rest from music. For LB, this wasn't easy. After about twenty non-musical minutes, she was nigh unto ready to ram her head through the car window. By then, however, I was generally agreeable to spinning another CD; I simply needed a little break.

It's a generational thing, I suppose, but I wonder if that means that the younger set will need to forever have wires penetrating into their ears or whether they will change as they age. There's absolutely nothing wrong with walking or running to music. With the right tempo, it can be extremely helpful. I've done it; I know. I had a Mini Disc player until not long ago, and it was great to use on occasion. And, yes, I would love to have an iPod. I don't need an iPod, but I would love to play with one, rip the songs, upload the songs, and all of that sort of thing.

I'm not particularly saying anything negative about this ubiquitous, portable music. Rather, I am wondering about the apparent need of some to have it playing constantly. Perhaps they don't; perhaps it just seems that way.


Friday, August 05, 2005

King David's Palace?

Many scholars have doubted the existence of either King David or King Solomon, at least with the wealth, power, and prestige that scripture conveys. Apparently, there has been scant archaelogical evidence of such a glorious kingdom.

But according to the New York Times, Eilat Mazar may have found King David's palace. At the very least, she has discovered a major building that dates back to the 10th century BCE. Read the article here. (You may be required to obtain a free subscription.)


Thursday, August 04, 2005

AC and His Girls

Don't mind me, but I'm sitting around sorting through several months' worth of photos. How they pile up. They needed sorting and much re-labelling.

I came across these two photos from Father's Day, both with me in silly headgear, which is usually as a result of Powerpuff's instigation. That's Powerpuff hugging me in the top photo. My Lady Bug is behind her. We all seem to be in great mirth.

And that's my Butterfly, below. Many opine that we have similar physiognomies. I suppose that Butterfly would fervently hope that weren't the case.


Empty and Chirpless

It will hardly shock anyone for me to admit that I didn't post the above photo for its artistic merit. Some photos are simply record shots. They denote an event for whatever it's worth.

This one simply reveals (well, if you squint studiously, it might reveal) three little sparrows on our lawn. I'm pretty darn sure, by both their number and their in-flight wobbliness, that they are none other than our very own grandbirds. They are learning to fly and to forage for themselves, which must be of mighty relief to their overworked but doughty parents.

Me? I already miss the little blighters. Out of habit, I keep casting my glance to the birdhouse, but it stands empty and chirpless.

It reminds me, although I barely require it at this stage, that life moves constantly and inexorably onward. We all begin our existence microscopically before breathing independently and finally gasping our last. Their spans are much shorter than ours, but just as they live one hundred percent of their lives, so do and so must we.


In the Mud

After having probably my first eight hour sleep in weeks last night, I dragged myself out of bed this morning, early enough to hit the bikes by 9:00. But I didn't much feel like it, and neither did Cuppa. We used the weather as an excuse: hot, humid, windy, cloudy, smog alert. Thanks goodness we had a handy excuse because I wouldn't have felt like it no matter what.

I'm not sure why, but lately I feel as though I am dragging myself through mud. Our last ride wasn't terribly long, but it was quite the slog: difficult to keep churning leaden legs. Even on rest days around the house, I have little energy.

Do you go through low energy cycles too, or am I just an old poop? My sleep has been off; my legs have no spring; I feel weighted down. It's as though I'm attempting to ambulate through thick mud. I don't make much progress in mud, and I feel kind of vulnerable too.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Although I didn't blog it until a few days later, it was last Wednesday that Lady Bug had her bicycle wipe-out. Quite a wipe-out it must have been too, for this Tuesday she was still too sore to stay at work very long. She is sore all over, and it pains her greatly to try to get around. This girl is pretty darn brave and somewhat stoic too, so if she admits to pain, then you just know that it's very real and very formidable.

She went back to the clinic today and this time saw a nice female doctor who told her that she would be sore for a month and that she couldn't ride her bike for that long either. She prescribed anti-infamatory pills and physio. However, I don't know if Lady Bug is covered for physio. The province de-listed it not too long ago, so unless it's covered by her university plan, she won't be able to afford it.

But here's why we're ever so lucky. I knew that we were extremely fortunate as soon as she began to supply me with more details today. She said: " You know how when you're going downhill and you're going so fast that your feet can't keep up with the pedals ..." Gasp. I had no idea that she was travelling that fast. She was late for work, you see, and trying to make up time, you see. In traffic. In the rain. You do see, don't you? Does it make you cringe too?

No wonder she is in great pain. No wonder it will take her a month to recover. It is a wonder, almost a miracle I'd say, that my little one isn't very seriously injured. She must have sailed head over teakettle. She could just as easily have broken her neck and been paralysed. She could have been killed.

But she isn't paralysed, and she is alive. Sore and in pain, but alive.

So very fortunate are we.

So very thankful am I.



Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Taking Flight

The day's big news is that the sparrows about which I have been posting have spread their wings. Or at least two out of three have.

Out of the corner of her eye, Cuppa happened to spot the first one fly about six feet and land in a pot of petunias at ground level. Above, there are two blended views: one further and one closer.

We missed the departure of babybird2, but #3 is still in the nest. At least s/he no longer has to compete directly for food and should soon become strong enough to fly off as well. I don't know where exactly the other two have gone but not far according to the chirping that I hear out there.

Below, is a recent photo of feeding in action. The parent has its beak deep into the kid's mouth. Those little critters are almost all mouth at first.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Top Ten Songs Meme

For better or worse, Dale has tagged me to do this music meme of ten songs that I am currently enjoying. My CDs are mostly packed, and I don't do these kinds of lists very well, but I'm willing to give it a shot. In addition to my own inadequacies in these matters, however, is the realty that few will know the many of the artists or songs which I mention. In no particular order, except perhaps for the first, the songs are not listed in any particular order.

  1. Everytime (Barra McNeils)
  2. Un Nuovo Giorno (Andrea Bocelli)
  3. You Lift Me Up (Josh Groban)
  4. The Parting Glass (The Cottars)
  5. Cruisin' (Theresa Sykorka)
  6. Rise Again (The Rankin Family)
  7. The Night Pat Murphy Died (Great Big Sea)
  8. Figlio Perduto (Sarah Brightman)
  9. Voyage (John McDermott)
  10. Into the West (Annie Lennox)

Because this meme has been making the rounds, I am going to resist tagging specific people, but it would be interesting to see what various people might come up with.


Purple Loosestrife

I meant to post this the other day when I uploaded two other photos from our bicycle rides, but I lost my place as I am often wont to do, don't you know.

Near the end of the trail (coming home that is) we pass this field which, at the moment, is rather resplendent with rows of Purple Loosestrife alternating with rows of Queen Anne's Lace. There is a lot of worry about the spread of Loosestrife and its potential to overtake native species, or at least this concern existed several years ago. Still, it looks rather striking. Pretty as a picture so to speak.