Archive for July, 2014

Flights Over Head

When we sit outside in the evening with crystal clear skies, we can watch contrails from flights coming west or heading east overhead.  Where we live we are on the great circle route for flights from Vancouver, Seattle, Denver or Houston heading to or coming from Asia.  Some of those flights I took myself.

So as we sit sipping wine in the late evening we look at the contrails and just imagine the exotic places they are going to or coming from.

Then I downloaded Flightradar on my IPad that tells me what flights are actually flying overhead.

While there are some exotic flights going past, the majority are flights from Alaska to Seattle or California.  We were better off not knowing and using our imagination.

A routine commuter flight from Juno to Seattle is not the same as a flight from Shanghai to California with Rock Stars or drug mules etc if you are sitting in the back yard sipping wine.  Maybe I should not check.

To Write a Book

I love books.  I love to read books.  Recently I have discovered ebooks, which to be truthful, my kids and my brother have been recommending for years.

Lying in bed with no lamp, reading from just the back light of the Ipad, reminds me of the days as a kid when I would read Hardy Boy books under the cover with a flashlight when Mother told me to “GO TO SLEEP”.

Over the years I have often thought that it would be great to actually write a book, but I realize that I just do not have the writing skill.  That little magic that separates the blogger from John Grisham.

This blog is my little attempt at being a writer.  Amusing incidents of my life,however when I re read them I realize that I just do not catch the story and, while fascinating to me, may not be the same as a Clancy novel.

Every book must have a great first line.  They capture the reader and can carry them on for the first 20 pages.  I am an aficionado of first lines and have many that I could use for a book.

“The reflection off the windshield of the excavator hit me in the eye as I became conscious and realized I was lying in a ditch and could not remember how I came to be there.”

“The first time that I realized that our marriage was not perfect came when she stormed out of the apartment with a duffel bag and wearing my favorite Blue Jay Jersey.”

“As my eyes came up from my computer screen and I looked around the carrels of the mindless workers around me, I realized I hated my life”

“It was a dark and stormy night..”      OK I stole that one.

And dozens more.  But the problem has always been what do you do in the next paragraph.

I always admired authors who just capture you and keep you enthralled.  You need a strategy and a flowing plot and every word should captivate you on into the story.

Than I started to read a new book by Alexander McCall Smith that I down-loaded.  Now he is famous for his series of books about the Number 1 Detective Agency.

This book I am reading is entitled 44 Scotland Street which he wrote in segments to be published in an Edinburgh newspaper.  It’s obvious he wrote it with no plan as to where the story would go,  just publish each week as it came out of his brain.  Each chapter would have been a column in the paper and introduced characters with boring lives and some interconnection and you think there might be a crime/disaster/sex scene but no.

Seinfeld episodes on TV (which prided itself on having no story line) still had more plot than the chapters in this novel.

But I am now on chapter 44 and wondering why I am still reading. It is fascinating as it reminds me of my views on people around me.

Now remember, I actually have a list of all the books I read with and interest scale that includes DNF.  Which means DID NOT FINISH, because life is too short to read a book that you do not enjoy.   I have long since passed that in this book even though it would never make a movie.  I just like it.   It reminds me of my blogs.

Which tells me I could write a book about my ongoing life.  For instance I could tell about our wonderful episodes of mowing the lawn and meeting dog owners and exciting drives in Little Red to pick up fresh vegetable, with the little excitement of someone trying to cut me off on the traffic circle .  And… I have great book concepts from dreams, just need some editing.

I know I could get a book deal because I could guarantee at least 15 buyers…. the dedicated readers of my blog.


Wonderful Dog Owners

Where we live it seems everyone has a dog and one of the great social exercises in the neighborhood is to walk their pets.  But as you walk you meet others and there is stopping and gossip and moving on.  So all the dog owners know each other and it is like a social network.

Pat and I do not have a dog but by means of borrowing our grand dogs (Lovely little Westies) for a few months and recently walking our friend’s dog while she recuperated, we were introduced to the society of dog owners and befriended a few.

Well it happens that one of the more talkative walkers has two of the cutest Westies you could ever see.  I hate to say it but possibly even cuter than our beloved grand dogs (maybe because they are younger and twin females).   See the invitation picture.   I know I am going to get grief from my daughter, but Maggie and Betsy are sooo cute  (and well behaved).

Anyway, it is his birthday so his wife arranged for a surprise birthday party this afternoon when he came back from golfing. 24 of his friends from the neighborhood that he meets walking dogs.  Pat and I were about the only ones invited that did not own dogs.  A catered party with wine and beer in a lovely house down the street.

Everyone knew each other and even more important knew the names of their dogs.  Had a great time and met neighbours that I have never talked to, but it was like going to a revivalist meeting as the only sinner.  Everyone kept trying to talk me into getting a dog.  Why should I if I can be invited to the parties with free food, free beer and good company and never have to pick up poo?

Bessie and Maggie

Amputee Golf

This week I volunteered to assist in the Canadian Amputee National Open golf tournament held at our club.  Players (men and women) must be missing at least one leg or one arm.  There are several amputee tournaments each year but this is the Canadian Open Championship and there is a US version in Virginia.  The players range in age from 30s to at least one 78 year old (there are various categories but they all play the rounds at the same time)

I was asked to be a forecaddie.  That is a caddy for a foursome without carrying the bags.  My duties included raking after them in the bunkers, replacing divots, searching for lost balls and holding the flag as well as giving whatever advice about the course that in my limited skill level, I could provide.  I also held clubs and occasionally helped them in and out of steep bunkers.    A three day tournament.

With the physical limitations and it being a mixed tournament, the rounds were at least 5 hours. Fortunately everyone on carts including me.

It was a great experience and I met some wonderful people.  Some were not that great at golf (one lady in one of my foursomes shot 120) but there were players with one leg shooting 70.  I had 3 different groups and they were interesting people and they all thanked me profusely for helping.  An inspirational group but a few in particular come to mind.

There was Mark who only has one arm (his left) and played with only one arm (others played with a prosthetic) .  Mark hit long and straight.  His setup and routine before each shot I could learn from.

Many players had only one leg but played with a prosthetic, but Chris did not have a trace of a left leg so moved around on crutches and used a bit of a stool to sit on when he shot, and he hit a ton.  I had one 78 year old who prided himself on winning the super senior category the previous year and shot an 84 in miserable wet conditions.

I tell ya.  When I play in the future and some guy says his game is off because his back hurts or his knee is bothering him, I will have some stories to tell.

True Love

OK, you have to realize I am writing this blog after a few drinks this evening.

Actually more than a few and a little maudlin, so forgive the story.

We are sitting in the backyard enjoying a lovely evening listening to soft music.  The song “My Heart Will Go On”  from the movie Titanic came on.

It so happens I am re-reading the Michael Connelly book Angel Flight on my IPad.  This is one of the early books about Harry Bosch a detective in LA.  Great series of books.

Anyway, in this book Harry’s wife is experiencing doubt that while he loves her, she is not sure if she loves him quite as much.

The test she gave of true love came from the movie Titanic.  Rose (Kate Winslet) was put in a lifeboat but refused to stay so she could be with her TRUE LOVE Jack (Leanardo Di Caprio) .  She got out of the lifeboat to be with him.

In another great Titanic movie “A Night to Remember” a character  Ida Straus climbed out of the lifeboat so she could be with her husband knowing she would likely not survive.  Rose was 17 and Ida was 70.

So I am sitting there, sipping red wine, loving the music, and I asked Pat.   “If you were in a lifeboat and I could not join you, would you get out to possibly drown with me?”

Apparently while my mind was off in movie experience, Pat was looking at the glorious sunset and the flowers.  I tried to explain my reason for the question which obviously came from way out there, but she just said, you have had too much wine.

But she never answered the question………..


Blog Writing Pressure

I picked up a new blog reader this week which puts additional pressure on me to publish regularly from the vast public that depends on my thoughts. ( I think the number is up to 12 now)

This reminds me of Ian Fleming.  He wrote a couple of James Bond books and just wanted to veg in his retirement in Jamaica.  But the public demanded more (as did his publisher) so he had to spend a month a year trying to continue with his creative ideas.  Eventually he died young due to the pressure (granted he was a heavy drinker and heavy smoker)  I fortunately do not smoke……

Still it is a bit of a challenge to come up with interesting subjects when we are vegging in our Paradise.  Lovely sunny day today.  Biggest challenge was to take Lil red in for service.  I am trying to remember when I used to service my cars when I was younger.  The Miata is running perfectly and I thought only needed an oil change but somehow I came out with a $500 bill.  Apparently they checked everything and determined that the car was great.  Nice feeling that an expert agrees with my opinion.  However I expect it is a slow time at the dealership and heaven knows the mechanics need money, so this is the same as me giving a loonie to the town bum that panhandles beside the downtown library.

As I point out, it is tough to come up with a literary gem on demand when the day is so lovely.  We are BBQing tonight and will sit out listening to music and sipping wine.  If I was Ian Fleming this would be a typical evening.


World Cup Final Game

I have to admit that I have not watched a single game of the World Cup.  I am not a big fan of the endless 0-0 ties with only 2 shots on goal in 2 hours and the guys rolling on the ground after a nudge as if their leg was broken hoping for a penalty.  Honestly there should be Oscar award for Soccer player acting.

However Pat and I did make the effort to watch the final game because Germany was playing and we have a couple of German relatives.  Pretty good game (although again 0-0 tie) and only a few acting attempts.  The ref was very good and ignored most of the fake rolling arounds.  I coached soccer for years and could sympathize with the few pathetic shots on goal. JUST KICK IT I used to yell at my players.

The win by Germany was for us, a nice treat.  Nothing like Canada winning the Gold Medal in Hockey, but nice.

Back Home After 2 weeks

Saturday and we are home from our adventure in Southern Utah.

First thing this morning my objective was to read the Saturday National Post newspaper.  You cannot get a good national newspaper on the road (and do not even hint that the US Today, that is given out at hotels, is a shadow of a good newspaper)  I know the kids say “just download articles on your IPad”  but that is even worse than the 2 paragraph summaries of the world events that you get in US Today.  Internet news is at best 1 paragraph and dominated by celebrity events.  I could give a damn about Justin Bieber, what is happening in the Middle East?

Where are the 1500 word, lovely written, columns that give you the various opinions going on in the world.  The writing of good newspaper columns is a dying art with the short attention span of the public.  To sit and read for an hour on the events of the world not encapsulated in  30 second bites I expect is rare, but something I cherish.  An hour to savor over breakfast.

Anyway lots to do this morning.

The first job was to wash and clean Little Red.  A particular problem was the side drive we took to the overlook at Grand Coulee dam.  The road had been recently coated in tar and little stones and despite my careful driving the wheels and side panels were coated in black stains that would not wash off.  As we looked down at the great dam I wept at the damage done to my precious Miata.

I tried to wash the stains off that night at the Winthrop Inn in Washington.  But to no avail.

So after reading the paper this morning and before the heat of the day came up, I backed Little Red into the driveway and cleaned the asphalt (and bug guts)  with solvent and then washed my precious to a perfect shine.

The rest of the day was spent in yard work.  Around here if you are away for 2 weeks the plants go wild.

I found a flowering plant in the front bed behind the azaleas that was really weird because I do not recall seeing it before.  A meter high and I swear it was whispering “FEED ME” .  I was not prepared to give it any blood but Pat told me not to dig it up and we will see where it goes.

A wonderful day back home.


Weird Plant