DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Miscellaneous Updates

Heidi, my stunningly beautiful Great Dane, was successfully spayed three days ago. We got to her appointment by cab, (there seems to be a lot of people who don't like having such a large dog in there vehicle.) and my son managed to bring her home the next day. She has been a little tentative for a couple of days but this morning she seem more like her old self.

It turned out she was not pregnant as a result of he frolic with the handsome dog next door.

I guess I will accept the wisdom of others and agree life will be better for her and myself going forward. She may actually live longer and I will not have to be the defender of her virtue twice a year.

It has been a few years since I have seen a female with her nether regions so nicely shaved. Hopefully that will grow back before Winter sets in.

Thanks to all for your encouraging words.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My friend, Lynne, finally managed to come for a visit. I guess I never realized or appreciated you much of a challenge it was for her to drive this far. As it turned out I traveled by train to Mississauga and drove with her here. After a week's visit, and with encouragement from me she managed to drive home alone, reporting the trip went well, much to my relief. The real test will be if she can drive a back up here.

Lynne still seems to think I live at the end of the World, when in reality I am barely in what is considered Northern Ontario.

We often sat out on the porch swing. It is loveliest in the morning with a cup of coffee. Later in the day Lynne enjoyed a class of wine, while I mostly stuck to the coffee. Heidi often likes to join
us on the swing, which made it a little crowded.

While here we took a couple of short drives in the car. One to Emerald Lake, another just up the bush road I live on and then a couple of hours north to the Tri-town area. Driving up the bush roads, Lynne could not get over the fact that we could drive 20 or 30 miles and not see a building, let alone a house. Emerald Lake is a lovely deep lake trout fishing lake. There has been a gold mine here, The Golden Rose, for many years but it has only periodically been open. It seems they have yet to discover the mother lode of gold in this area. May they never! Virtually all the land outside of the small towns is crown land. It is owned by the government (all of us). For the most part we can all enjoy it. There are some camps and tourist places on some larger lakes but the vast majority of the thousands of lakes have no private places on them.

I did have an opportunity to take Heidi in a car to see how she traveled. She managed quite well. Once we got moving and with a little encouragement she lay down and slept much as she does most of the time at home.

It seems I am the one who needs some training at traveling with a dog! We stopped at the small town of Temagami to get a little take-out food. I decided to take Heidi over by the boat ramp to get a drink from the lake. I then decided to take her across the parking lot to the bush in case she had to move her bowels. She did. . . . but she only make it half way across the parking lot before she "stooped to poop". I madly looked around to see if anyone was noticing and I bent pretending that I was petting her. (It is hard to screen a Great Dane)

HONK! HONK! There was a double blast on an air horn. Someone did notice. A couple sitting on a balcony began shouting at me to pick up after my dog. Well I had no way to do this. I was unprepared. They admonished me and told to to go and get something to clean up after my dog and come back. I apologetically agreed to do so. I did. Never again will I be unprepared.

We stopped briefly at the famous Highway Bookstore south of the Tri-towns. It is largely alone on the highway, quite unusual for a retail store. It sells new and used books and has seem published over the years books on local history. The very elderly couple who own and run it have it up for sale if any of you bibliophiles is interested.

We managed to drive through the Tritown communities and the historic town of Cobalt (which I had never visited) It was a lovely drive by the wonderful Lake Timiskaming. I would have like to go further but Lynne aready thought we were pretty far from home.

Traveling around I was secretly hoping we would see a moose, bear or even a wolf or lynx. Lynne insisted even from the car seeing such wild animals would be a fright. A couple of deer is the best we could see. To see such animals one has to get going early in the morning when they are on the move.

While Lynne visited we were invited to a picnic at the cabin on the river with Parker and his family. His mother was visiting them. It was a little odd to have my former wife and my friend Lynne together. (Lynne is in yellow and my former wife has the white hair). It proved to be an enjoyable afternoon. My son Parker is the one cooking a hot dog on a stick.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As I read about the weather all around us: Lots of rain in the West and high heat in the South and ever storms that spawn tornadoes, I realize I continue to live in a good place without weather extremes.

The one extreme that concerns me the most is the fact that last Winter we had a winter drought and it extended into the Spring and even this summer there has not been that much rain. As a result my beloved river has the least water in it that I have ever seen in my 30 years of living here. It is dramatically lower. No amount of summer rain will fill it. It will take a Winter with a lot of snow for it to recover. I just hope this pattern of precipitation is not the new normal.

While is has been warm this summer the heat has not been as dramatic as the lower levels of precipitation. We are currently into the typical warm days and cool nights (great for sleeping) usual this time of year.

This rock and gravel shore are usually covered in water even at the driest part of the summer.

This is the river directly in front of the cabin. The large rock in the foreground is usually half under water. A mile downstream some beaver were even trying to dam the river. Mother Nature knows this is usually lower water.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Female Problem's

Heidi has just come through her second yearly heat cycle for this years. Not as successfully as I had intended.

When Heidi is in heat I take great pains to defend her "honour". I go outside with her, keep her on a short lease and run interference with the lovely Golden Retriever male dog next door who like to pursue her when she is "in season".

Well, I failed her this time! I left the cellar door closed but unlatched and Hunter, the male canine from next door pushed it open and let Heidi out for a romp. When I realized this the hunt was on. I called a neighbour for some help and we drove toward town and found them about a quarter of a mile away. I returned Heidi to the house to only have Hunter do this trick a second time. This time he pushed open the front door of the house. We located them in a neighbour's yard half a mile away.

Did the deed get done? Was Heidi willing to "stand for" this handsome canine. ( Can't help using that expression without remember a neighbour when I was a child who spent a lot of her time shouting at her five kids and husband, that she was "not going to stand for it any more". I wonder what she meant by it? Then and now!)

I phoned the vet for some advice. The vet tech I spoke with had only spaying on her mind. My inquiries about a morning after pill for dogs got no reply. Remembering my days of abortion counseling I asked if they ever used an injection of prostaglandins. I don't think she knew what I was talking about. I finally agreed to a day for spaying the dog being unprepared to deal with a bunch of cross bred pups.

I took the dog into the vet expecting her to be spayed only to have a discussion with the vet this time. No there is no morning after pill. Yes, prostaglandins could be used but there are side effects. (I had in the meantime refreshed my knowledge of this drug, which was experimental when I first heard of it, and found it was no longer being used with any regularity to induce late term abortions, in women. I had already ruled it out for Heidi.) Between the vet and my faulty memory of the date spotting began, he figured Heidi would not have stood for the male dog. Ther would have been no romantic "latching". I was relieved but still worried. The vet still advised spaying Heidi (and so he should since it costs $500 and an additional $111 is she was pregnant.) I relented and we set up a date for the spaying after Heidi heat cycle ended. I took her home to wait for July 27, the day of the operation.

The day after I got her home, Hunter was no longer interested in her. My memories of her dates must have been off, too much wishful thinking.

I think Heidi knows something is up. She is a little quieter than usual, or am I feeling guilty. Maybe it is just the heat (sorry! a double entendre joke).

I spend several times each day sitting on the porch swing with Heidi, consoling her; more likely, trying to make myself feel better about my role in her having the surgery.

I hate it when Heidi assumes this pose as if she is training for the position she will be in when she has her surgery.

Is she hugging the pillow to comfort herself?

I will be glad when it is all over. I know! I know! if will be better when she is finally spayed.

I can't help remembering that this is the vet that killed June's tea cup poodle with some medication. . . . . . Let's not go there. Banish the thought.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Graduate

Last week my oldest grandson did us all proud and graduated from primary school, Grade 8.

Dylan, like his brother and sister is an excellent student. He has always brought home a report card of which he could be proud. Outside of school , he is active in several sports : hockey, soccer, football, competitive swimming to name a few. As well, he has some interest in music, playing the keyboard and drums. What makes him most endearing is that he is a lovely, well adjusted person. In short, he is a wonderful grandson, son and brother, of whom we are all justifiably proud, a well rounded kid.

Dylan aspires to become a veterinarian. He has four years to consider this dream or find another. Whatever he settles on in life I am sure he will accomplish much and share much with those around him.

The entrance to the school. Dylan , Olivia and Travis all go to this public language school French school. Their high achievement at school is more remarkable to me because French is not their first language. How envious I am!

The happy boy on the happy day. I like that he is wearing the T shirt I brought him from Belgium with all the varieties of beer on the front.

Olivia and Dylan mugging for the photo

Dylan with is grandpa, one for the photo album.

Just before the big moment, pleased with himself and mildly amused with it all.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day: Fourth of July

I trust my American friends are celebrating the meaning the Great
Republic has for them. All the best to you.

The United States is defined by a series of remarkable documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, The Gettyburg Address and for my generation, the "I have a Dream" speech of Dr. Martin Luther King. Each of these, and lesser writings have moved the country forward and shaped into what it is today.

I recently have spent some time reading ,and reading about, the Gettysburg Address. This short documents, in the midst of the Civil War, raised the understanding of that dreadful war from an economic dispute and war of whether the Nation could be broken up to a war to advance the significance of the nature of the Union made up of citizens under a government , "of the people, by the people, for the people. " The United States was to become a democratic and not a plutocratic republic. By the end of the Civil War this was underscored by the ending of slavery with the Amancipation Proclamation. Only in recent years has civil rights brought this close to a reality. There are now new threats to the nature of the democracy of the United States. One trusts the Nation will once again affirm the best of it's vision and tradition and overcome these challenges.

On You Tube there are several readings of the Gettysburg Address. Here is the one I like.

For Americans, I imagine, the challenge is to have their country continue to grow in the best of its tradition and thus continuing to honour those who fought and died in their dreadful fratricidal war. The battle of Gettysburg saw dreadful loss of life but proved to be pivotal in the Civil War such that in the end the Nation was preserved.

Whenever I study American history I am alway alert to small side issues that link it to Canada and even my own experience. At the Gettyburg Address there was a Canadian politician , William McDougall, who happened to be in Washington finalizing an economic treaty when Lincoln pressed for time, invited him to come along.

I recently learned that Lincoln had read sermons by the Reverend Theodore Parker, a very prominent Unitarian minister who was a very activist abolitionist. He lifed from Parker the idea of "of the people, by the people, for the people".

Even more interesting to me was the fact that at Lincoln's death there was a African Canadian doctor who tended him and kept notes as to his condition., Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott. He was the first black person to qualify as a doctor in Canada. His family, free men ,fled to Canada from Alabama and they prospered in Toronto. He was sent to the black school at Buxton, Ontario , which was on the Elgin Settlement established by fugative slaves. It was such a good school it became the first integrated school in Canada when the neighbouring white school was shut down and those children were sent to the Buxton School. I have long been interested in this small town and its history since reading "Look to the North Star, The Life of William King", by Victor Ullman.. This community, created by Reverend William King and funded by the Presbyterian Church, in its first generation produced clergymen and doctors, who studied at the University of Toronto, many of whom returned to the US. Dr. Abbott along with many from the community joined the Union Army and fought in the Civil War. A further interesting note is that he was not the only Canadian trained black doctor who served. The highest ranking doctor was an African American, Dr. Alexander Thomas Augusta, who trained at University of Toronto, after being denied a medical education in the US and volunteered to serve in the Union Army.

How different Ameican history might have been if instead of clinging to slavery and passing the fugative slave laws and latter limiting the advancement of its black citizens with Jim Crow laws , the Canadian example of citizenship for fugative slaves, legal protections for their rights in the face of discrimination in Canada and the belief that education for the first generation of fugative slaves in Canada could succeed in producing men of letters and qualified professionals.

It is alway been ironic to me that so many fugative slaves returned to the US after the Civil War.
How strong is the hope and promise of the American vision. It was this vision that I think Lincoln was trying once again to advance in his brief poignant Address that day on the battlefield at Gettysburg.

May all Americans on this significant day, find a moment to reflect on the promise of the American vision and resolve to continue to struggle for its full realization.

Here is a lovely patriot song sung by Paul Robeson

I have always considered Paul Robeson a great and patriotic American although during is life he was persecuted for his views and outspoken opinions.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Today is the annual day for Canadians to reflect on our nation and celebrate it's accomplishments and meaning for each of us.

I heard today that before pride in country there is a feeling of gratitude for the privilege in living in a country which has gotten so many things right in creating a civilized society. While we have had many flawed aspects in our history, we seem to be able to overcome them and move on in may positive ways.

Today, as I put out my flag, I am a grateful Canadian, for the benefits our country has brought us, in particular, the benefits it will continue to bring to my son and grandchildren.

The day called for a new flag

"Very little is known of the Canadian country since it is rarely visited by anyone but the Queen and illiterate sport fishermen."

P. J. O'Rourke

Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, is in Canada today to share our day with us.

It is as queen of Canada that I am here. Queen of Canada and all Canadians, not just one or two ancestral strains.

Elizabeth II

One of the gestures the Queen has done on this trip to Canada has been the dedication of this lovely sculpture as a tribute to Oscar Peterson.

Sculpture of Oscar Peterson.

I am sure the piano bench will be a favouite spot in Ottawa to sit and have a photo taken for years to come.

Some Quotes on Canada

“Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.

J. Bartlet Brebner, historian

A Canadian is sort of like an American, but without the gun.


Canadians, like their historians, have spent too much time remembering conflicts, crises, and failures. They forgot the great, quiet continuity of life in a vast and generous land. A cautious people learns from its past; a sensible people can face its future. Canadians, on the whole, are both.

Desmond Morton

Canada is one of the planet's most comfortable, and caring, societies. The United Nations Human Development Index cited the country as the most desirable place in the world to live. This year a World Bank study named Canada the globe's second wealthiest society after Australia.

Time magazine

Canada has shown the world how to balance freedom with compassion and tradition with innovation, in your efforts to provide health care to all your citizens, to treat your senior citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve, to take on tough issues like the move afoot to outlaw automatic weapons designed for killing and not for hunting....

Bill Clinton ~1995. Address to Canadian House of Commons.

How Canadian are you?

You Might Be Canadian If...
You bring a portable TV on a camping trip so that you don't miss Hockey Night.
You can repeat the entire Molson's Canadian 'The Rant'.
You hum David Foster's '88 Calgary Olympics theme in the shower.
You know that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) don't always look like that.
You think it's normal to have a grain elevator in your backyard.
You can sing "O' Canada" in French and actually know what the words mean.
You send angry letters to the CBC demanding the return of the Hinterland Who's Who spots so you can finally find out what happens to the arctic ptarmigan in winter.
You stood in line for hours for Another Roadside Attraction tickets.
You think Great Big Sea isn't Atlantic-centric enough.
You know the French equivalents of "free", "prize" and "no sugar added", thanks to your extensive education in bilingual cereal packaging.
You still haven't taken down your "NON" posters from the 95 Referendum.
You know more than 3 guys named Gordon.
You think Ashley MacIssac isn't Celtic enough.
You remember "Jodie" from Today's Special and wonder why you keep seeing her reading news on the CBC.
You can eat more than one maple sugar candy without feeling nauseous.
You think -10 C is mild weather.
You have twins named Donovan and Bailey.
You know the ingredients for poutine.
You know what happens in the Evergreen Forest when Bert Raccoon wakes up.
You dressed as Bruno Gerussi for Halloween. You spent hours sifting through garbage on the beach to prepare for the role.
You know that the 'Extra Creamy' in Kraft Extra Creamy Dinner is 'add more milk.'
You know the difference between real snow and "television" snow -- the white stuff that passes for snow on tv and in films.
Someone accidentally stepped on your foot. You apologize.
You stepped on someone's foot. You apologize, then apologize for making them apologize.
You pity people who haven't tasted a "beavertail".
Your Saturday nights in the Atlantic provinces include eating beans and brown bread as you watch Hockey Night in Canada.
You know that the Canadian Alliance is just the Reform Party with better hair.
You know that, contrary to general belief, the Inuit have about the same amount of words for snow as do English speakers. Your favourite Inuit word for 'snow' is "navcaq" (snow formation about to collapse).
You wonder why squirrels and seagulls somehow manage to get in every zoo exhibit (including the parking lot and squirrel and seagull exhibits).
You eat chocolate bars, not candy bars.
You only know three spices: Salt, pepper and ketchup.
You know that a pike is a type of fish, not part of a highway.
You drive on a highway, not a freeway.
You have Canadian Tire money in your kitchen drawers.
You brag to Americans: Shania Twain, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion & more, are Canadians.
You know that the C.E.O. of American Airlines is a Canadian!
You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
You know that the last letter of the English alphabet is always pronounced "Zed".
You live in a house with no front step, but the door is one meter up from the ground.
Your local newspaper covers the national news on 2 pages, but requires 6 pages for hockey.
You know that the four seasons means: winter, still winter, almost winter, and road work/construction.
You know that when it's -10 degrees outside, it's a warm day. You perk up when you hear the theme song from "Hockey Night in Canada."
You are in grade 12, not the 12th grade.
"Eh?" is a very important part of your vocabulary, and is more polite than, "Huh?"
You call it a BUN not a "Roll".
Its called a WASHROOM not a lavatory or powder room or rest room.
You have more kilometers on your snow blower than your car.
You have 10 favorite recipes for moose meat.
You've taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard.
Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled in with snow. You owe more money on your snowmobile than on your car.
At least twice a year, the kitchen doubles a meat processing plant.
The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
Your snow blower gets stuck on the roof.
You think the start of deer season is a national holiday.
You head south to go to your cottage.
You frequently clean grease off your barbeque so the bears won't prowl on your deck.
You know which leaves make for good toilet paper.
The major parish fund-raiser isn't bingo, it's sausage making.
You find -40C a little chilly.
The trunk of your car doubles as a freezer.
You attend a formal in your best clothes, your finest jeweler and your Sorrels.
You can play road hockey on skates.

Happy Canada Day to All