Monday, December 21, 2009


Today we'll do the medical; next time we'll do the Biblical. (The Biblical is quite fascinating, because it doesn't mean what most people think today.)

Catracts are patches on the lens of the eye through which one cannot see. The standard treatment is to remove the lens using a technique called phacoemulsification. A surgeon uses an ultrasonic beam to break up the hardened lens, and then vacuums up the pieces from the eye with a suction device. An artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, is inserted to replace the cataract lens.

That's what happened today — right after lunch. (No breakfast this morning; tea and a tiny bread roll post surgery.) All kinds of drops put into my eye, to fight any potential infection or inflammation, and then to "freeze" the eye. They to the surgery. Then Home. (NO I didn't drive mysef — Momma Bear did that — thankfully!!)

Over the next week my vision is supposed to get better. Right now, it's worse — which is why I'm writing in such large type -- so I can "sort of" see what I'm saying. I have to keep putting drops in my eye for the next four or five weeks, to prevent infection.

The really fun part is that the surgeon will check my eye again tomorrow. At 7:00 a.m. In his office downtown. (Is there really a 7:00 in the morning? I thought they got rid of that a few years ago.)

And bye and bye the surgeon will do the other eye, which is almost as bad.

Other than that, the day was fairly boring. Sadie and Nuala hardly notice anything. I slept when I got home, sitting up. My eye is starting to hurt so I'll take something for that. And I'll probably go to bed fairly early. For not having done much today, I'm feeling awfully tired.

I trust you've found this "insightful."

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Since I try to be an ethical person, I make of point of giving credit where credit is due. In this case, it's all Sonia's fault (more or less).

If you don't believe me, you can check here current piece on gift buying, or an earlier piece on a similar theme.

Christmas, I'm told, is the time of year when we spend money we don't have, buying presents we can't afford, to impress people we don't like. Or words to that effect. That's really bah, humbug!

I was reflecting on Sonia's second piece about people who "have it all." I wouldn't say I have it all. I would say I have WAY TOO MUCH (a problem which plagues our entire family, and much of most of our nations). And I am desperately trying to unclutter my life. I'm seriously focusing on simplicity. Besides, like many people, our economic resource base is shrinking in today's "interesting" economy.

This year, I'm going to "re-gift" some things I got last Christmas, that I haven't really opened.

Basically, if I need something, I buy it, when I need it. If I need an extra shirt, I'll get it from the Salvation Army or the Mennonites. There are a number of things which will work wonderfully if I sew a missing button on them. (I"ll wait until after my eye surgery to try that.)

I recall a tape to which both my wife and I listened a number of years ago. One of the notes was that, if you want to have a happy occasion, buy yourself the present you really want. There are only two things I want. One is a beautiful Celtic ring -- silver with a green stone -- modestly priced. The other is a brown leather vest. I like vests because they have so many pockets, and I tend to carry lots of different (small) things with me -- easier in a vest than in a brief case.

This year, we are consciously giving donations to groups and individuals which/who need some help. Community projects, friends going through a bad time, etc. We're giving some things to our kids and grandkids, too. (Or actually, some things to each other that we can do with the grandkids.)

I think we have far too many unfortunate, overblown expectations about presents, and mind-reading, and present-giving. As if, somehow, it's Christms so we have to give somebody something. If you look at Christmas, for example, God's gift was a person, not a gold watch for everyone in Bethlehem. If you know something that would really brighten someone's day, get it. That's great. But if you're just guessing -- skip the thought.

Kahlil Gibran, in this book The Prophet makes the observation that we give very little when give of our possessions. It is truly when we give ourselves that we really give. So
what would happen if we thought, instead of giving a present, we decided to be a present to someone? What form might that take?

Back to you, "gutsy" Sonia.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Had a marvelous day today. Best part was when our son bundled up his two kids in their Chariot (modern carriage for kids) and walked them to part of the facility where Momma Bear worked for 20 years before her retirement.

The point of the exercise was that Grandson F. performed his first solo violin concert (at the age of 5) -- about nine of the dozen tunes he knows.

It was much enjoyed by the crowd of seniors who live in the building, and staff who took few minutes off work to attend.

Then we bundled the grandkids back up and into the chariot, and son walked them to our place (about three-quarters of an hour). It was sunny and -19°C (though the wind chill make it feel like about -28°C). But they all know how to dress for the weather and were warm as toast when they arrived.

The youngsters are having a sleepover at our place tonight. Their Auntie came over for supper and helped them decorate their grandparents (very small) Christmas tree.

Good fun all around.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


November in our part of the world was quite lovely: warm, sunny, dry.

December is, however, like Eric the Red -- a Norse of a different colour. Last night's temperature was down to -33°C (-27°F), the wind chill took it down to -37°C (-35°F). When Sadie and I tried to go for a very short walk, she would just stop and hold her paws up, one after the other. So we beat a hasty retreat home. I went out for a short walk by myself, mostly just to stretch out my back. But it was too cold for me to go very far. By then, the temperature was up to a balmy -31°C, when I checked it out.

Yesterday, the ice pans on the river were quite large. We could hear them scraping against each other. Sadie kept stopping and trying to figure out what this strange, new noise was.

Today, we're one step past that.

The ice pans have piled up, and river is frozen right over, except for a few open spots.

There is still mist coming off the open bits of water, and the sun lends an etherial quality to the scene.

But the geese haven't left!

Silly as a goose, or what?

This is pretty much what it will be like until spring. Makes for hardy stock -- human and animal.
If you want to come for a visit, just make sure to bring your ice skates (we've got lot of skating rinks -- but no skating on the river -- too dangerous!). Or you could bring your cross-country skis.

Here's hoping you have a pleasant day, wherever you are. Sadie and I will likely sit on the sofa, beside the gas stove. I'll read; she'll sleep.

Friday, December 4, 2009



Temperatures hit -20°C last night (-4°F). Under such conditions, our world is transformed -- at least along the river. The cold air hitting the warmer water raises huge clouds of mist.

The sand bar on which the ducks and geese are accustomed to gathering turns into an island of snow and ice.

And the world around us is turned into something of a fairy castle -- suitable for Fairy Nuff, and others.

Ah, yes; it IS that time of year. Soon it will be too cold for taking Sadie out, except for the shortest of walks. Even the birds have gone into hiding.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Yup. It's getting colder these days. High temperature for the day estimated at around -10°C (or 14°F).

It's snowing lightly now. We've had snow for several days. Pretty soon I'm going to have to go out and shovel the walk. Grr$%@#*&%@rr. (That's Bear-speak for s0mething you can't say in "polite" company.)

The river-bank trail is getting covered.

The near side of the river is still fairly open -- though the ice pans are much larger and thicker.

But the sand bar where the geese hang out is totally covered with snow and ice, while the ice pans on the far side (where the current moves more slowly) are starting to pile up.

Still, the sun is shining -- or at least trying to!

But don't worry; it will get a lot colder before it gets warmer.

I think it's finally hibernation time!