Archive for July, 2010

Wouldn’t you know it.  The day after I pay for a new pair of glasses, having lost the old ones three weeks ago, what should I stumble across at the edge of the lawn?  Of course, my old pair!  They had fallen out of my pocket as I was walking around, and all the searching three weeks ago and in the interim had not turned them up.  After three weeks of Dollar store reading glasses I’d had enough eye strain.  Went for a new eye exam, got updated scrip and ordered a new pair.  At least the new pair is a progressive lens and a different style.  That’s my oldheimer story for today.

Read Full Post »

Ground Zero Mosque

What’s with the plan to build a mosque near ground zero?  Is that some kind of sick joke?  It’s been described as a monument to tolerance and understanding.    Who are these people?  Tolerance and understanding?!@?  When Iran agrees to build Christian churches and when Saudi Arabia funds synagogues, then USA might consider a muslim temple.  But anywhere within 10 blocks of ground zero is absurd beyond words!  Yeah, forgive and forget but this is just way beyond any logic.  That is just sick!

Read Full Post »

Oldheimer’s moment

Talk about an oldheimer’s moment!  I’ve spent the past several days looking for my leather sandals.  Scoured the house and outside, in the car, the garage, down by the lake.  I covered every square inch of the place but do you think I could find them?  Where on earth can one just misplace  a pair of flip flops?  Because leaving them somewhere means you had to continue your travels barefoot!  So where in hell could I have dropped them, meaning to walk barefoot or complete some chore barefoot?  Found them today.  Where?  In my shoe rack!  Now if I could only find my reading glasses that have gone missing for two weeks!

Read Full Post »


It’s summer time and the perfect opportunity to salvage wine that just doesn’t cut it.  I was into a bottle of Shiraz, and after a couple glasses (yes I was extremely forgiving) decided it was too hard to drink.  What to do?  Sangria.  So the half bottle went into the pitcher.  Here’s the ad hoc recipe we came up with that turned into a primo sangria.

half bottle wine

can of pineappple mandarin orange spritz (Palm Bay)

dollop of Bacardi pina colada

one cubed orange

can of soda

cup of orange/grapefruit juice

and to bring all those disparate flavours together, a can of San Pellegrino Chinotto.  This citrus and herbal beverage from Italy will really add a unique and very enjoyable flavour to whatever concotion you create.  Of course, after a few glasses, just about any concoction will taste good!  Ahh, cruise review from last night.  Aside from the fact it felt as if a local nursing home had rented the ship for an outing, it was an enjoyable tour of the B of Q.  Cold beer and cool blues made for a memorable evening.  But it was certainly a case of been there, done that.  Mind you, with a grouop of friends I could see this being quite a blast. 

So don’t toss that bargain wine you had to try, turn it into Sangria!  Hasta luego!

Read Full Post »

Just laying on my lake bench, catching up on emails and generally hanging out.  My dog is laying in the flower bed behind me.  But it’s only a bunch of cone flowers yet to bloom.  They’re in the shade any way so unlikely to bloom into some extravagant display.  Plus, Blue is being such a good dog hanging around with his master.  Anybody catching the tour?  Kind of sad to see Lance just going through the motions.  It would really be cool if he were to ride now as support for his team mate Levi who still has an outside chance of making the podium.  Do the grunt work that supported you for so many Tour victories.  And how about that arrogant dick Costador?  He decides to attack today’s last mountain stage to gain a few seconds on Schleck, and in the process denies his team mate (Viskrussian something) a stage win!  What a jerk!  How’s the weather wherever you are?  We are riding a heatwave the past two weeks.  30C most days.  Fantastic weather.  Here’s a pic of where I’m at.  Tomorrow I’ll give you an update from the boat cruise.  Gonna tour the Bay on a paddle wheeler while enjoying some vino from Peller Estates.  I think I’ll also work the crowd and hand out tons of bcards.  Cheers!

Read Full Post »

For those readers just tuning in to this blog, what follows is the 6th excerpt from my mother’s first husband’s war and post war diary.  It is translated from the original Estonian by yours truly and I am presently redrafting the story into a screenplay.  To get the chronological impact start reading at excerpt 1 and follow them thru from there.  Herein follows excerpt 6.

Christmas was drawing near.  Our commander was planning to spend time at his family.  I wrote my wife and asked that she try to get a travel pass to come and spend the holidays with me.  She got a pass.  But then the commander got word that his travel was prohibited and he suggested that I travel to my wife for the holidays.  I informed my wife not to leave as I would be traveling to her. 

 On the 15th of December I got instructions to leave for Preussisehi- Eylauss to a huge POW camp to control the work of three Russian officers.  I returned on the 21st of December and left the same night for Konigsberg and from there on to Berlin.  The train for Berlin was so full that I had to stand the entire trip throughout the night.  I arrived in Berlin in the morning and from there to Baruth at mid day where I spent my Christmas. 

 Since everybody had to register, my wife also had to register at the local municipal hall.  Her boss had made a deal with the local bureaucrats to register her as a cook.  In fact, she did go but more as a guest than a cook!

 I returned to the camp on 27 December and arrived on the morning of the 28th.  The commander had been assigned elsewhere and most of his belongings were already packed and loaded in the cars.  We drove to the nearest front, Insterburg and stopped at Luisenberg bei Insterburg.  The occupants had been evacuated.  We occupied a two story stone building, itself surrounded by several out buildings. 

 After celebrating the new year with his men, the commander left on 2 January 1945 for his family to squeeze in a couple days visit with them. 

 Even here we had lots of free time, which was spent the usual way; cards, hiking and drinking.  We were well fed because in addition to our rations we got local milk, pork and chicken. 

The sounds of war echoed regularly and got nearer and nearer each day.  Our house was even the target of air raids.  Our commander returned in mid January with orders to evacuate.

On the 19th of January the commander sent me with a car to the west in search of a new post.  West of Insterburg at Grosse Eschenbruch we took several rooms in the local inn.  Most of the residents had already fled and the rest of the locals were preparing to leave. 

 The return trip to Luisenberg was made more difficult as the road was filled with soldiers, tanks, all sorts of vehicles…..This was the beginning of the end!

 We again started our packing the same night and early in the morning on January 20th departed in two trucks and one automobile.  Between Luisenberg and Insterburg one of the trucks, which contained our personal belongings, started to cough and sputter.  It proved impossible to repair by the roadside so we left it there with one of the soldiers as a guard.

 No sooner had we arrived in Insterburg, and the air raids began.  In just a short time, the town was reduced to a pile of rubble.  After lunch, we started out again with the truck loaded down with the additional baggage from the broken down unit.  We arrived at Grosse-Eschenbruck in total darkness.  In the direction of Insterburg a glow hung over the town, and the night air was broken by regular explosions and whistling of flying shells.

 We only were able to stay one night and day at Gr. Eschenbruck, and in the night of January 21st we had to evacuate.  Now the second truck also broke down, and we loaded up as much of our belongings as possible onto a third.  All the lesser important items stayed behind.  We struck a deal with a tiger (tank) brigade, after plying them liberally with alcohol.  They agreed to let our truck join their convoy.  A horse drawn carriage with cow tied to the rear led our convoy.  At night we arrived at an estate, stayed the night, and left again in the morning.  Our convoy moved steadily down the road.

 Usually one thinks of a defeated army in a sad and hopeless way, but the impression left by this hopeless trek, scaled even those bleak visions.  I had not seen such desperation and despair before.  As far as the eye could see, there stretched a moving caravan: cars, tanks, wagons; between them and beside them walking movers, piled with belongings, rolled beddings, towels and all sorts of rags, guns hanging carelessly from shoulders.  In the fields and ditches and under tree cover stood countless lost animals; horses, cows, pigs, chickens, geese….The cows mooed incessantly, udders near to bursting and nobody to milk them.  Corpses lay by the roadside, heads caved in – apparently many had simply fallen under the wheels of the caravan.      Nobody paid attention to the dead, nobody cared to speak with a neighbour, everybody was looking out for themselves and with one objective: escape, to get away – even if it meant stepping over bodies.  This is war and its aftermath!

Read Full Post »

Santana in concert.

I caught Santana in concert at Molson Amphitheater.  The man is a musical genius and guitar virtuoso.  I do hope the audience had a few musicians in attendance, especially younger ones although from the look of the crowd it was a white middle aged group of music fans.  Young musicians could learn from this expert, how to produce songs with interactive layers.   The percussion was seamlessly woven into the song, at times highlighted when Carlos needed it to be, but most times well integrated into the thematic lines.  Anybody else using three complete drum kits, yes, three, would be drowning in kathump rhythms.  Yet Santana is able to work the musicians into his vision without having them overwhelm the music.  And the guitar?  What else can one say about a guitarist who decades ago mastered this instrument and now enjoys the luxury of bending and moving its strings in a dance of delight. 

The Molson theater has matured into the perfect concert venue.  Trees at the crest of the grassy knoll have matured into a luxurious green wall, sheltering and encompassing both music and audience.  The esplanade area bewteen the grass and reserved seating is my favourite place to catch an act.  Dance all you want, lean against the stone wall, watch your fellow revellers.  The beer ladies trundling wheelbarrows filled with ice and cold beer keep you supplied with cool refreshments and should you be sitting at the top of the hill, the beer boys will hike to your seat on the grass so you never have to wait in line at some artificial concession stand. 

It was an excellent concert evening!

Read Full Post »

Unlike toddlers, there is nothing humorous or charming about spoon feeding your mother.  Life has come full circle.  Where once she ensured I got my necessary quota of daily vitamins and protein, it is now my turn to keep her alive.  Pureed food, just like me so many decades ago, is the only way she will swallow food.  Anything larger and she spits it out.  It’s a by-product of dementia/alzheimers to reject just about everything.  Even so, I have to quickly follow a spoonful of pureed beef and potatoes with a sip of milk, so at least something gets down her throat.  She’s probably lost 30 lbs in the past couple months, barely has the strength to push her walker down the hall to the dining room.  Mom needs help just getting out of her chair.  And she is now totally blind.  Bladder control is disappearing fast.  She cannot grasp a cup, and holding a fork or spoon is asking too much of her limited strength.  I’ve decorated her room with multiple arrangements of silk flowers, hoping that even the tactile recognition or the simple knowledge they are there might elevate her spirits.  If anything it will show the staff that Mom has people who still care, so they better not ignore her needs.  Her conversational skills have disappeared, she just wants to get out.  Out of the nursing home, out of her life.  And poor Dad keeps focusing on these negative issues further bringing her and him down.  Mom just sinks further and further into an isolated world that must be unbearably depressing and overwhelming to her.  The end of life can be so bitter and cruel.

Read Full Post »

Brain Cramp

Sitting here thinking of something to write about, fingers are frozen.  Must be all that gardening I did this weekend.  And lugging rocks up from the lake.  I have a new appreciation for those of you who have created rock gardens, or built retaining walls, etc.  That’s some kind of hard work!  But immensely satisfying once it is done.  Not to mention the damn exhausting physical nature of the work.  Mine is not yet there, but getting close.  I’m gonna raid the fence line for stone, lot easier to fill a wagon and pull it to the front than it is to bring an armload up from the lake.  Thanks to the previous generation of farmers who cleared the fields and piled stone under the cedar rail fence!  Maybe I’ll even share a picture with you loyal readers when I do get it done.  So there you go, I did actually get a twitters worth of page written!

Read Full Post »