Saturday, 30 April 2011

And another photo for Kim...

When Kim was taking photos of his daughter blowing the dandelion fluff into the spring breeze, he mentioned it took 167 shots to get the right one. Which was a good thing, as they ran out of dandelions.

If he wants to repeat that effort, and does not want to run out, I would suggest he come to the farm I used to live on. We had acres of dandelions, the above only being a very small sampling!


Okay, so I had to put up a new post so as not to have those overly busy eyebrows staring me in the face every time I looked at my blog. It's not that I have anything specific to say, it's just that I needed to fill up the space to lower Mr. Bushy Brows out of the limelight.

The past few days have been a bit on the warmer side, with temps between 15C and 22C. And sunshine, which Manitoba is famous for. Today , however, is cool and rainy. Not like we need the water. Why can't the clouds head down to Texas, where XL tells me it is hot and dry and there's a threat of wild fires and water restrictions? Like we need more water here, in the land of the Great Red Sea that is inundating just about the entire bloody province!

I got an envelope in the mail yesterday from the clinic where I will be having my shoulder surgery. Since I'd just been there on Wednesday, I was startled to think they were sending me my OR date already! That would be efficiency in spades! It, however, turned out to be a request for donations. I don't think so! I don't have any extra money for anything, let alone donating to anyone. Could use a few donations myself, though, if anyone is interested...

Monday I am going to give the lawyer a call and see if they have any word on my money from the sale of the house. The sale was two weeks yesterday and the funds get held up because the land title transfer has to take place before funds can be distributed. This apparently takes 2 - 3 weeks at the moment (or so I was told). I'm hoping it happens soon. Funds are tight... and I hate that!

The cats seem to have settled into the apartment fairly well. Lila loves tearing down the hall and sliding across the floor. I'm sure if she had her driver's license, she'd be into street racing and get into all kinds of trouble! And she just turned two on the 27th, so technically she's an adult, but she sure doesn't act like one! Pips is her usual mostly sedate and affectionate self, although she does have her moments when she rips around and plays too. Her favourite sleeping spot is inside the bottom of the chair in the livingroom. How is it that cats always seem to find a way to make a hole in the fabric that covers the underside of things, just so they can have a hidey-hole?? It must be genetic... every cat I've ever had has done that. Either a piece of livingroom furniture or the boxspring of the bed.

I think I have pretty much settled in too. I'm getting used to it... the noises from the hall as people traverse the length to get to the elevator. That will pick up in time. There are 16 suites on this floor and only 5 are occupied at the moment. Funny how they are all on the south side of the building too. We know what the north wind brings in the winter...

Friday, 29 April 2011

The eye(brow)s have it?

Is anyone else creeped out by those eyebrows??
Is it necessary for a man in such a "prestigious" position to be so unkempt???

That's a synopsis of an observation made while catching the highlights of
Will and Kate's wedding this evening.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

On the list

I saw the surgeon today. He's pleased with the little bit of improvement there has been in my shoulder since I first saw him. He gave me some exercises to do, and I have been, but because it's only been a minor improvement, I told him I want it fixed. It's been three months already!

So I am on the list for an OR date. I've been told there is about a 2 month wait for the surgery and they will notify me by mail of the date. Given that it's the end of April, I expect the end of June or early July.

Then, he told me, I immobilize my arm in a sling for 3 weeks. Then I don't do much with it other than light movement for a couple of months. At around the 3 - 4 month mark, he says I will be able to return to work with restrictions. Strength training does not start until 5 months.

So perhaps I will be close to fully functional by Christmas??? *sigh* It's gonna be a loooong haul...


Went for my walk today in sandals... for the first time this year! Yay! It was 18C out there and while not sunny, the clouds were high and thin so it was bright enough for shades.

My sandals are Keen Newports. I love those things! I've had them for a couple years now and spend a lot of the summer in them. (And no, they are not worn out at all.) Today however, was a bit much for the first wear of the season. Probably would have been fine if I had not been out walking briskly and working up a sweat.

I gave myself a blister. I could feel it halfway through the walk but there was nothing I could do until I got home... which was 3 km away. Just had to tough it out!

When I got home, I thought I would give it a little TLC so applied some antibiotic ointment and a little bandaid...

I did manage 6 km in one hour though! Just because it was hurting, I didn't slow down. However, I'll be back to wearing my socks and shoes for a few days, I think...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Heavy flow

"On Monday, the Red flowed past the well-fortified town of Emerson at a rate of 83,000 cubic feet per second, the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool rushing by with every tick of the clock." Winnipeg Free Press, April 26/11

Emerson is the town at the border crossing between Canada and the US in my province of Manitoba.

I cannot imagine that much water! But given that I drove a bit south of the city of Friday afternoon, I witnessed the overland flooding and the massive overflowing of the Red River. It was a land of lakes, not fields.

And this is not close to the amount of water in 1997 when we had the "Flood of the Century". At that time, 143,000 cfs of water flowed past Emerson. We didn't have anything in place to handle that amount of water then. But because of that... we do now. All the towns in the flood zone have ring dikes around them. And they will close off the dikes with dirt across the roads to prevent flooding that way. That means, either everyone in those towns is evacuated, or they are then locked in for the duration until the waters recede.

All farm houses in the flood zone have been raised up on earthen mounds, along with a lot of farm buildings. Quite a few farmers and rural residents have also had permanent earthen dikes built around their properties and I've seen a number who has sealed off the driveway access with dirt or sand to prevent the water from getting in.

Because of the measures the government and individuals have taken, the biggest factor in this flood will be the ability to plant crops. The water is expected to remain high until the end of May or early June, which means planting any crops on some fields won't happen this year. Even forage (hay) that grows every year on its own will likely be either drowned out or severely flood damaged. And that means farmers with cattle and horses will have a difficult time finding food for their livestock. I feel for them. Having lived on a hobby farm, growing hay and raising horses, I know how nerve wracking and worrying that can be. It's a very tough life. 

But it's not just forage for livestock that can't be grown. It's food for humans too. Manitoba is a highly fertile agricultural zone. In actual fact, these flood replenish a lot of the top soil and nutrients and are good in that way. But because of the way we humans intensively farm, it has a devastating effect on the economic situation. So given the rising prices of gas (although we are nowhere near as high as Europe and the UK, we are higher than the US by a fair bit) and the limited growing season (we do have about 6 months of winter), it's going to be a lot more expensive to eat around here.

I do believe the time will come, in our lifetime, when just about everyone will have a garden and a few chickens in their yard. Buying local will become a better alternative than shipping produce across the world.

And I just moved to an apartment...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

We really DO exist!

Sooooo... that means I am NOT a figment of anyone's imagination... except perhaps my own. ;-)

Happy Easter!

Friday, 22 April 2011

The rising Red Sea...

Here is a link to a local photojournalist's bird's eye view of the flooding in our province. Most of these photos are around the area of two towns in southern Manitoba but the extent of the flooding is much greater. It is not just affecting the southern part of the province, but farther north as well, as the entire river system eventually snakes its way from the US border up to Hudson's Bay in the north. It passes through Lake Winnipeg north of the city of Winnipeg, where I live, and then feeds through other rivers on its way to drain into the
Arctic Ocean via Hudson's Bay.

To date, there have been more than 1000 people evacuated, around 700 road closures (with some of those roads complete washed out) and two deaths attributed to the floods (that I recall reading about in the news). On April 20th, at Emerson (the US/Canada border), there was 73,100 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water flowing in the Red River. That's a helluva lot of water! The Red River is not expected to crest until the first week of May (2nd - 7th) and although the height has been decreased in the past few days, that crest is expected to hang around for a while.

The Red River is so called because the water is quite silty... and as you can see from the photos, that is the case with the flooding as well. Although overland flooding helps replenish the topsoil, it also leaves behind terrible damage from the silt deposited on buildings, vehicles and farm equipment.

Spring Cleanup this year will be of epic proportions this year.

Celebrate Our Planet

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
~ Marshall McLuhan ~

Cat box

Lila just does this, except she doesn't care of the box is empty or full!!!

Thursday, 21 April 2011


How do you stop the caring when your heart belongs to another?

How do you stop the wanting when it cannot be?

How do you stop the tears in the silence of the night?

How do you stop your heart from breaking?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

State of Emergency

While Spring is usually an eagerly anticipated time of year in most places, here in Manitoba, it means flood season. And this year is by all standards a bumper year when it comes to water.

It's everywhere.

And this is a good week or so before the two rivers crest. Yes, I said two. We have The mighty Red, which is the only major waterway that flows south to north here on this continent. This direction means it goes from warmer to colder in the spring. That means ice jams along the way, which cause the water to back up and spill overland. And right in downtown Winnipeg, the Red intersects with the Assiniboine, which travels west to east.

The local newspaper sent one of its editors, along with a camera man, to have a look-see at what parts of the area outside of Winnipeg look like. Hundreds of roads have been closed because of overland flooding. At least two people have died from driving on flooded roads and getting swept away. (Condolences to their families, but how stupid do you have to be?) Hundreds of people have been evacuated because of rising waters threatening homes, or just from being cut off by the flood waters. (Red River Valley flood zone April 20/11)

In 1950, there was a terrible flood in Winnipeg. Much the same kind of thing, caused by the spring thaw, with a good portion of this city under water. The then premier ordered the building of the Floodway to move water around the city. Since then, there have been ring dikes built around towns and farms all over the southern portion of the province. There is a diversion canal to take water from the Assinibione River to Lake Manitoba as well. This year, sandbagging and shoring up (and building even higher) dikes was started early because the flood forecast was grim, both inside the city (along the river) and in a lot of surrounding towns and farms.

The provincial government guy in charge of infrastructure and such said that this year there will be as much (if not more) water as the 1950 flood, but because of the flood mitigation efforts, the damage in Winnipeg and a lot of towns will be minimal. And any houses built in the country since the 1997 flood (that was called the flood of the century) have to be built on a raised up mound of soil to prevent flooding. A lot of farms have built earthen dikes around their buildings to keep the floodwaters at bay. And for the most part, those efforts have paid off. But it is still pretty awe inspiring to see the video footage of what things look like right now.

It's only going to get worse before it gets better. Luckily, as I am now living on the 4th floor of a building, I will stay high and dry. However, if the water gets to my door, you'll need an Ark to survive!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Plum worn out!

Well, I am all moved in.... but I am plum worn out... and once I've had a chance to recuperate and gain back some strength (and get some sleep), I'll be back. The unpacking is just going to have to wait.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Just about done

I'm in the midst of a move... downsizing from a house to an apartment. I've donated/sold/given away so much stuff, you'd think I'd be possessionless!

Such is not the case, however. I still feel like I have way too much stuff for a 2 bedroom apartment, but once I get everything unpacked and put away, perhaps it will all fit.

The cats have enjoyed the ever changing playground of boxes. Little do they know that tomorrow they will be unceremoniously stuffed into their carrier and transported to the new place. I have a feeling it is going to be a noisy ride. But, like me, they are adaptable. They will like having their cat tree in front of their very own window and new digs to explore. Of course, all the furniture and accoutrements stay the same... just rearranged somewhat.

I've managed, with the invaluable help of Nephew #1, to get a lot of stuff moved yesterday. Today I will be taking my clothes over. And some stuff that's left that hadn't been packed yet. I have to go to the new place, unpack some kitchen stuff... and reuse the boxes.

I did decide to fork out the money for movers for the furniture, instead of subjecting my family and friends to yet another day of lugging stuff from one place to the other. I'm nice like that. ;-)

I also was warned last move that no one wanted to ever help again... because we are getting too old for this! I certainly felt all the aches this morning when I woke up. I'm okay now, but man! was I stiff and sore when I climbed out of bed!

Tomorrow evening, I will be disconnecting all electronics and carting them over to the apartment. The service guy comes in the afternoon on Wednesday to plug me in and get everything working.

Thursday will be cleaning day for the house, to make sure it's all spiffed up for the new owner. Then I can take my time, unpack my stuff, and settle in to my brand new digs.

And breathe a sigh of relief that this much of 2011's adventure is over.

Friday, 8 April 2011

If I had my axe...

WARNING: Graphic and disturbing images and descriptions follow in this post about cruelty to animals. Please be forewarned that this post may very well make any grown man cry, not just the women.

I came across a case of animal cruelty yesterday while reading the paper online. I have time on my hands and tend to spend some of it in front of this infernal machine.

If I had an axe (I do have a hatchet... that might work just as well and is more easily concealed beneath bulky clothing), and the ability to slip in and hack away a bit (just to maim, cause pain, and eliminate the ability to move around much) at the person responsible for this, I would. I was in tears of rage, horror and pain upon reading the story of this little dog and what that so called human has done to him. This just makes me sick. Be prepared to have your heart wrenched out of your chest...

This is the story of Patrick, a year old pitbull, so named because he was discovered in an apartment garbage chute the day before St. Patrick's Day in Newark, NJ. He had been stuffed into a garbage bag and tossed down the garbage chute, all because a certain woman could not be bothered to care for him properly. Obviously, she had never cared for him... ever. The guy who cleans out the chute every couple of days was doing so and saw that one bag moved a bit. He tore it open and found this:

A one year old pitbull should weigh about 50 lbs. They are not large dogs but are quite muscular. Patrick weighed just 20. In these photos, he does not even look alive, until you look at his eyes and see the plea there. How anything could have survived as long as he did is beyond me. He is a tenacious little guy, I guess, with a very strong will to live. The humane society people who first took him in felt that as well. They didn't give up on him.

He was so weak from dehydration and starvation that he could not even stand. He had pressure sores all over from lying down. Every single bone in his body stuck out. They still do but to a slightly lesser extent now as he's slowly starting to gain weight.

Is he not just the cutest little guy? My heart melts...

There seems to be an increase in cases like Patrick's. The sad state of the humans on this planet (not all, I know but still... I just don't understand why these things happen) is more and more evident by how we treat the other living creatures, not just others of our own kind.

The owner was found and the original "disorderly persons offenses" have been upgraded to indictable torment and torture charges. She could face up to 6 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. This has become a very publicly followed case so I hope the law throws the book at her. I also hope they ban her from ever again having pets of any kind. I cringe to think of how she would care for children... I don't know if she has any but perhaps they should think about banning her from procreating as well.

I don't have the words to describe the fury I feel for that woman...

This is the link to the Associated Humane Societes' website where they are posting Patrick's progress.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A time of change

It is now spring here in Winnipeg. Skeins of geese wend their way northward across the sky in ever increasing numbers, honking sporadically as they survey the massive remnants of snow that still cover most areas. The river is on the rise, as is the temperature, with the impending flood causing scurries of preparation work with dyke building and sandbagging of low lying properties in the city. Outside the city, meltwater already floods the fields, quietly awaiting the swell of the rising Red.

The change of seasons is well underway. Trees sport fattening buds. Tulips poke through the warming soil, only to have their leaf points nibbled off by hungry cottontails. Amorous birds abound, flitting through the trees, beaks stuffed with nesting materials.

My own nesting will begin on Saturday. I get the keys for the new place at 11:00 a.m. and plan to start moving things in bits and pieces right away, with the movers handling the big stuff on the 13th. I will be glad for the change of focus, as time has been dragging for me. Feeling like a wounded duck has not been the most pleasant scenario for me. I've always soldiered through injuries and tough times. This shoulder thing has sidelined me more than I care to admit, adding a feeling of vulnerability that is rather uncomfortable. Having something to keep me busy will be a welcome distraction as I fit my physio exercises into days of moving and unpacking.

A distinct shift also comes as one breaks the news today of a new job in another city, life to take a course away from me, tangents of contact thinning and breaking. Breaking too, is my heart. It is most definitely a time of change...