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So, The Story Goes

When they drove their 1940’s car along that snowy road in blizzard conditions from Brampton, Ontario back home to Lakeview, Ontario; there were few vehicles on what is now a very busy highway.  Stretched out before them on both sides were farmers fields and numerous horse farms and as I clearly remember as a young child the farm fields were all enclosed in white wooden fences with horses grazing in the distance.  It is a lost piece of a once beautiful landscape.

That was when I was a young child.

On this day I was a bundle, newly born and as mom would say I was a bundle of “joy”, her joy and my father’s.

It was 1955 and I the third born; eventually we would become a family of four children.  I had two brothers and mom desperately wanted a girl.  From the stories my brothers and mother would tell I now understand why she prayed for a girl.  Although I would disappoint mom as a rebellious teenager it did out weigh the many years of love that she lavished on me and I on her.

This story was told to me every single year near or on my birthday by my mom.  Both my parents repeated many stories of their young lives to us children (must admit we would all roll our eyes when Dad began one of his stories) but Dad was the best story teller of all and it would take years for me to really appreciate this oral history.

The nurses informed my dad that he had a baby boy.  In those days’ fathers did not usually see their wife let alone their newborn child until the next day and during very strict visiting hours. I am sure he felt disappointment for my mom for she must have expressed over and over that she hoped it was a girl.  After having two boys only eighteen months apart,  living in a place far from her home in New Brunswick, in a house where ice was still delivered to the door, heat was by coal fire, house half built, wringer washer, no dryer for the clothes and mud so thick and sticky in the yard you would sink  and come out of your boots.

Surely, surely, she would be rewarded with a girl! 

Dad went home and sent my two brothers who were by then aged seven and eight over to the neighbours next to us, across and up the street to announce that we had “another boy” and as the story goes, some laughed and some cried.  Dad then called the relations down home in New Brunswick and in Toronto to tell them the news, some laughed and some cried.

When Dad was allowed to visit mom the next day he said “well we have another boy”, to which my mom promptly corrected him and said “we do not! we have a girl!” My Dad said “no, we have a boy” and again mom repeated “we have a girl!” Hat in hand Dad confirmed with the nurses that I was a girl.

Dad returned home and sent my brothers back to the neighbours next to us, across and up the street, some laughed and some cried.  He then called down home and to Toronto, some laughed and some cried. 

When it came the day to bring me home, Dad asked his supervisor for a half day off to bring his wife and little girl home from the hospital.  He responded “Charlie! Take the whole day off!”

First a boy and then a girl.

And so, the story goes,

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Letting Go

 A while back I had been conversing with a man through email and a couple of phone calls.  We were on one of those dating sites and I had written a previous blog about it.  Our conversations centered around blue water cruising and by that, I mean ocean sailing.   

While sailing had initially been a like and very much a hate situation for me it ultimately became a mystifying love.  When ever the lines were cast off from the dock or the anchor hauled up, I was relieved.  There was the undeniable feeling that I was casting myself off, a release and of letting go. 

What was I letting go of?

Or trying to let go of?

A man that I loved fiercely died six years ago as of November which left a deep dark void and a grief that has plagued me.

Recently I was bored one night; was playing on the computer and thought I wonder what my horoscope for next year is going to be.  I do not read daily horoscopes or believe in them but I have always found it entertaining.  I was watching a YouTube video about the different birth signs.  The key words for my birth sign that were stressed over and over were “you must let go”.  There it was, my light bulb moment.

I do not have to forget that man but I must let go.  The reality is he would be absolutely furious with me for holding on to him as I have.  As a matter of fact, a couple of months before he died (no he did not pass away, nor did I lose him, he did not pass on, he died), he expressed real annoyance with me, stating “don’t be a martyr after my death and not carry on”.  I was angry with him for saying that. Angry that he would think I could possibly just “carry on” and not wish to remember all that we were or could have been.

That was not his point.  He knew me well and realized I would continue to hold him in a grip that might suffocate me and for the most part I did and it did.

It is interesting that the day that marks his death is not a grieving day for me.  His death was long and drawn out for seventeen difficult days. Possibly my mind wished to preserve itself and not want to relive those days or emotions for the actual date of his death holds nothing for me.  The mind is truly amazing, as I have witnessed in those with a chemical imbalance, disease, infection, injury, dementia or with grief.

I will never forget an old married demented couple on my unit. He was in his early 90’s and he had always taken care of his wife not only while in long term care but basically from the first time they met. She became ill and we took her to the unit infirmary and  eventually she died.

Afterwards her empty bed was replaced with a man.  The new man kept stating that the other man was always at his bed and bothering him.  It was not until we questioned him and asked him not to bother the new man that he said he was sorry but only wanted to look after “her”.  It was then I realized that he did not see the man in the bed, he saw Vivian his wife.

We could not convince him otherwise. When he started to dress or undress the new man, we knew that Vivian’s bed had to remain empty.  His mind shielded him from a grief that he could not bear; his mind would always see Vivian in the next bed.

My grief day is the day that marks our wedding.  It was beautiful and it was joyous!  I had actually never experienced the feeling of joy before.  That feeling of being completely filled with such a happiness that you could hold no more. I remember thinking as I walked arm in arm with my son down a flower boarded pathway, “remember every minute for it will never happen again”.  

Yearly on September 11th this is my private movie, in full colour, every image, all the detail; every minute.

It is joyous and it is grief.

________________________________________________

A supernova is a stellar explosion that occurs

at the end of a star’s lifetime, when its nuclear fuel

is exhausted and it is no longer supported by the

release of nuclear energy.  Supernovae are extremely

luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often

 briefly outshines an entire galaxy before fading from

view over several weeks or months.

During this short interval, a supernova can radiate

as much energy as the sun could emit over its life span.

F.W. Giacobbe

Astrophysicist

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Bottom of the First Inning

Strike Two

I finally decided to look for someone to converse with a little bit closer to home as in ALL of Alberta.

Enter Doug, he lives in Slave Lake and has done so for many years. His profile was not particularly interesting but he did have a nice look about him and of course we all know that looks and a profile can be very deceiving, not with Doug.

We exchanged a couple of emails and then I called him at his suggestion.

Doug’s profile struck me as being basic, nice and that is what I found while we were speaking. He talked and talked but in a good way.  His profile stated he had a trapline, enjoyed nature and the usual stuff like wishing to share life, etc.  He spoke to me like a person who has been out of human contact, much like those I have talked to who have been sailing for quite a while and are so glad to speak again to someone other than themselves!

I was very curious about his trapline.  This is not something I generally agree with.  If this is your only means of living/eating then I do not take issue with it.  I know it is all government sanctioned but really, is there a need?   I did not get into this with Doug as that was not the point for calling.  The whole point was to see if there was more to the person.

I always find it amazing what people tell me and especially here in Alberta.  People like to talk and tell you all about their lives. I ask a question and the information flows!  A good thing really.

He did have a small plane at one point but had only flown locally and I had the impression he was not an experienced pilot nor had a real love of flying.  I say it is a good thing he sold the plane. 

He had been married, has three sons, two are married, has grandchildren and the other one is engaged and they all live in Edmonton.  He has been rebuilding another house after a fire went through the town in 2011.  Seems like a long time to take to rebuild but then again there could have been many reasons for that. He told me that the town should not have burned as it did as there is a water bomber base located there and of course the fire dept.  He stated over 300 hundred homes burned.  What?? 

When the hydro went out due to the fire, neither the fire dept., water bomber facility nor the town’s water supply had generators.  No water and no fuel could be had.  He told me that the fire encroached far too close before measures were taken to combat it and to advise people in town.  When I asked if the fire was started by an arsonist, he snorted and said no, it was a power line that started it.  I do not know if all of this is true as I have not googled about the 2011 fire but he was there and I am always more inclined to believe those who have been through the situation rather than what the media is fed to report.

We then talked about his trapline. Actually, very interesting.  If I have this right his trapline is about 24 x 24 miles!  He only manages a small portion of it as there is too much work involved for one person to maintain the traps, set them, clear brush and the trees.  This is not his first line.  Originally, he partnered with an older man to learn and that was decades ago, the old man died and he bought it off the wife. He eventually sold it and partnered with another man, who died and he bought that one from the wife and it is the trapline he has now.  All traplines are registered with the government and the lines are on crown land.  He told me that you can sell the line for whatever you think it is worth, basically the value of animals that can be obtained. 

I did not get into what his career was and based on what he has said I am thinking he needed and does need the trapline as an income.

Doug certainly seems nice, wide open to giving information about himself; has travelled little, has never kayaked, does not ride a bicycle/motorbike, has not explored Canada or the USA and other than owning a small plane at one point has not experienced too much.  Possibly he has wanted to.

This is a no to Doug.

—————————————————————————

I have struck up a conversation with James.  Should we continue to chat I will have to up my game, he is a biologist and outlined a very clear list of what he isn’t and what he won’t accept and if he does not respond then basically you don’t make the call out list.   That made me laugh and replied to his profile with the following – “whew!  Just got in on the cusp of the age requirement”. 

He responded!

Did I make it to short list or long list?

Ha! To be determined.

Onward

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Dog Creek

(for the record)

“What do you think?”

It looks wet to me.

“I am not concerned about the wet, more concerned about the trees.”

Dog Creek is an old military airbase with the airstrips in a triangular formation.  From what I have read it was used as a RCAF supplementary aerodrome along with other airstrips to allow planes during WW11 to fly a route to Alaska.

It is now out of commission, was purchased by Circle “S” cattle Company in 1962 and on the chart is  X’d out.  From the air you can clearly see the remnants of the triangle and what looks like large patches of possible concrete.  Mostly grass and gravel looking.  We were to discover that it was much more and much less than what we expected.  In the words of my former partner “what could possibly go wrong”!

We were flying a Cessna Cardinal 177RG ( retractable gear).  The landing seemed to go well enough but within minutes of landing I heard the words – “we are sinking”.  The left main wheel was half way down into soft wet earth and when we attempted to move forward the nose gear sank as well.  With the plane in full throttle the wheels did not move, not even an inch.  How bad could it really be or get?

The previous day we had been at the Nanaimo Flying Club sitting with a few other pilots when the conversation turned to the exploits of another pilot talking about his many flights into the Dog Creek airstrip.  He talked of the surrounding land, the quiet, how he went there every summer;  you could taste the freedom.  I knew as the talk went on we would be flying there, to an airstrip that was not maintained with no one around. Did I voice these concerns? No.

We set off the next day. Plane was packed with the BMX bikes, some bottled water, granola bars, peanuts, the ordinary snacks for a short day’s flight plus all the other items normally in the plane; tools, oil etc. and left over camping items from a previous cross country trip.  Fortunately I took the VHF aviation portable radio, had just purchased it and actually almost did not bring it along.

It was a good flight on a clear October day up over the Rockies to an area known as the Cariboo region.  Once clear of the mountains the area opened up into a vast expanse of valleys and flat lands.  It reminded me of Dinosaur Park in Alberta – carved out valleys and flat topped land. Stunning.

The airstrip was situated on what could be described as a plateau, with the main runway ending at the edge of the plateau.  We circled around and around. I had the feeling that he almost did not want to land.  For the most part I have trusted his judgement.

I saw a ranch in the distance, a deep valley off the end of the main runway, bits of old runway here and there and wet patches everywhere. We could see where the threshold was, pieces of planking marked the spot just as the pilot at the flying club said it would be.  Then we landed. By this time it was 2:00 pm, we would be losing light by five in the evening.

He tried and tried to get that plane to move, it would not budge, not even an inch. We were situated on land that had nothing on it except grass and scrubby pine trees off to each side.  I said let’s cut some of those branches and put them under the wheels, yes he said “I was thinking that too”.  That did not work, we could not get the boughs under the wheels far enough.

He took a plank that was being used to mark the threshold and placed it under the left strut, attempting to raise the wheel then I jammed the other plank under as best as possible. That did not work.

Next he had me straddle the tail section, actually lay down over it to lower and keep weight on the tail, hoping this would lift the wheel out.  I am not sure if many people understand what this means.  The back wash or air from the plane was unbelievable! I had quite a time holding on but we had to do something.  This worked!  The left wheel released, he moved forward, and then the right wheel sank!

By this time we had spent at least an hour working to release the wheels.  During this time he determined that if the plane were able to gain some momentum he might be able to turn the plane to the right in order to get to higher and drier ground.  Not a lot higher but it had a  grade to it and was packed ground.  Over and over he tried getting the plane to move.  Nothing.

He finally got out and said “I don’t know what to do”.  My frustration and anger surfaced.  “WE MUST TRENCH OUT THESE WHEELS!  LIKE THIS!”  At which point I grabbed a piece of plank and began to dig a trench in front of the right wheel.  And that is what we did.  Plane moved slightly.

 He then knew what to do – trench out the right and left, then place a plank under the right one (sunk) and left wheel.  The left wheel was no longer stuck but the hope was the wheel would grab onto the plank and give the needed traction.  Success!  Plane was in full power as he moved forward and swung it hard to the right and rolled to dry ground.

It is now about 3:30 pm. Sky is clear, no wind.

He looked up the runway and decided that he should be able to get the plane back to the threshold, possibly further and then be able to get enough speed up for lift.  First we had to take everything that would decrease weight out of the plane as the fear was the plane would sink again.  Also we had to scour the entire field going back to towards the threshold to look for holes, stumps, anything that we could possibly run into.  I found a large open drain with steel sides and not visible.  Marked it with a piece of wood and found a red ribbon in the plane to tie to it.

Next, I stood at the threshold and he at the plane and motioned to me which way to place myself as a marker for him to aim for as he taxied towards me.  He moved forward with the plane as slowly and as quickly as possible; I know both of us feared the wheels would sink again.  Success!

Now we had to go back to where the plane had been and bring back everything we had taken out and put it back in the plane.  We had our bikes but it was still a very difficult task as the runway was really not a runway. Completely covered in what can only be described as large grass covered ant hills, everywhere.  Not a smooth ride on bike or plane.  He did most of the hard work.  We packed the plane and ourselves.

It is now approximately 4:30 pm.

The realization of our situation became more apparent with the daylight fading and do we have enough fuel.  He started to figure a route to Chilliwack if we needed to refuel.  That made no sense to me and I said we should go straight back the way we came.  I do believe he was thinking of the mountains yet to climb over but did agree we would fly the same route back.

I never once thought we would not be able to taxi and obtain lift for takeoff.

He did.

He began to prepare me for crash on takeoff. Unlock your door, push your seat back as far as it will go, remove your glasses, remove the IPad from the yoke, take the rolled up sleeping bag and place it in front of you.

It was then I realized what that meant – we would keep going off the runway, not gain lift and crash into the valley below.  How do you describe the absolute dread, fear, panic and sorrow that came over me in those minutes as we rolled down the runway?  What do you think in that instant when you say to yourself – this is the place where I am going to die.  I know what I thought.

What was he feeling?  The tension was so obvious and the knowledge of all that could or would possibly happen was there on his face.  He had no protection.  I knew not to speak, not to cry. He had to be in control of himself, the plane and the situation and not contend with any other problems.  I do believe he was no less afraid. 

Does time slow down?  Yes, it did seem to take a long time to roll those wheels, cross over the many grassy bumps, say to yourself – please don’t sink, please don’t sink, say to yourself – fly the plane, fly the plane, say to yourself – watch the horizon, watch the horizon, feel as the plane gained speed and lift, feel the ground give way and keep gaining altitude.

We did it!

He did it.

We made incredible speed and time heading back to the north shore of Vancouver. We had a tail wind and we sailed along over those mountains with fuel to spare.  Happy we were; another adventure, another story to tell.  What else could possibly go wrong?

A week previous to this flight while on another flight, the transmit button on the yoke came apart, basically in two.  He was able to put the two pieces back together and left it.

By the time we were getting close to the west coast we were also at an altitude that meant there would have to be communication between us and Vancouver tower.  He pressed the transmit button and it disintegrated in his hand and what was left hung there like a pogo stick  bouncing up and down. The second incident. OMG!

He does an immediate shift in altitude and within minutes we are below 4000 feet, out of the communication zone for Vancouver but still must be able to communicate with Vancouver Harbour radio.

VHF portable radio!  He is now able to communicate, I dial into the necessary frequency and he then uses the old style microphone in the plane to speak.  This is the second incident to happen with this flight.  Did I mention that it was the 13th? All is going along fairly smoothly, plenty of fuel, he is able to communicate with Nanaimo radio that we are on our way in.  We receive clearance.

As we approach our home airport, he engages wheels down.  The wheels down alarm sounds and it is loud! This indicates that the main wheels or the nose wheel or all of them have not locked into place.  We determine from what we can see that the main wheels look down and locked, we cannot see the nose wheel.  He transmits a call to Nanaimo stating the concern and requesting a fly-by of the tower; would they take a look to see if all wheels are down and do they look locked.  They report all wheels look as though they are down but the alarm continues.  We prepare for wheels up landing.  The airport also prepares, all flights are held from landing and the fire truck is dispatched. The alarm continues.  We both hope it is a glitch.  It was not. The third incident.

It was an absolutely perfect nose wheel up landing and only because of his expertise as a pilot and doing what he always states must be done no matter what – “fly the plane” did it all go so smoothly. 

For me personally the lessons learned:

  • Always and I mean always carry a portable VHF radio
  • Your plane is your survival “fly the plane”
  • Survival kit – food, water, flare, matches, shovel, medical kit, rope, wire, clothing etc.
  • Let someone else know where you are going even if you do not file a flight plan
  • If something breaks – fix it before your next flight
  • You must have the right plane for the location you are flying into
  • Is this the right time of year for that fly in location?
  • Your best chance of survival is with an experienced pilot
  • Your very best chance of survival – speak up if it does not feel right!

Happily ever after – well ……… not so much.

October 13, 2018

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Batter Up!

Some weeks ago, I decided to go back on to Match.com and see who to start a conversation with.  I have to say some of those profile pictures are pretty scary looking.  I am not sure what it is like from the male perspective but my guess is they are seeing scary pictures also.

I have been conversing with Bill.  He lives on the west coast, has travelled, is an experienced sailor, owns his own 41-foot steel boat, has sailed the British Columbia coast for decades and from what I have found out he and his family sailed to Florida some 25 years ago.

He writes quite long emails.  Talks of blue water sailing to the Galapagos, French Polynesian Islands.  I told him I had planned and researched that route a couple of years ago and then I went on to explain the many restrictions and procedures that would have to be done.  His response was, no big deal, just arrive there anyway, hmmmm.  That was far too glib for my liking.  He also spoke about traveling the canals in England, exciting! and a number of other adventures.  He sounded capable and confident, which I am quite sure he believes and he might be.

The boxes are being checked off.  It would seem that this might be a fairly good match except when I caught Lie #1, then I began to dig deeper into who this person is and would this really be a good fit.

Bill had provided me with the boat name, Scorpius.

All I had to do was google the boat name.  I love Google.

This landed me on the Cruisers Forum which I have been on before seeking information.  I found a posting by Bill back in January stating he was 72 years old (not 67 as he stated on Match, Lie #1), and through conversation discovered his birthday is in November which will now make him 73 years old!

He wrote a post wanting to get back to blue water cruising.  He was looking for a couple to crew with him for the next five years and in exchange at the end of the five years would give the boat to the couple – free.  He readily admitted that this was a very unique offering but his desire was to get back to ocean sailing.  My feeling now is that Bill is getting a wee bit past his prime and he knows it.  Tic Toc.

I read all of the responses, most wished him good luck with that, some of course (and me) thought five years was way too long to expect strangers to jump on board and live happily ever after.  Others thought sailing for a short period of time locally would be the sensible and most prudent thing to do.  I also saw several couples respond that they were interested.  After reading all of this I did tell him in an email that I read his posting.  I am quite sure that took him aback but he said he was actually glad that I saw it.  To his credit he stated he had two couples that he took out for two weeks at a time this past summer.  The first couple pretty much ran as fast as they could once back to shore, he blamed the wife.  The second couple were experienced sailors from Ontario but did tell him they preferred to be on their own and felt his age was not a good fit.  What isn’t sitting right?

Well after numerous long emails from Bill this is what does not sit right.  No matter what topic I wrote about his response was very long winded, all knowing and is going to teach me because I cannot possibly know as much as him or have eyeballs in my head to read the news or have access to the internet!  There is no denying he is knowledgeable BUT that does not make him all knowing or to assume the person he is communicating with has no knowledge at all.  There is a way to convey information and then there is Bill. 

As an example, I spoke about recent events with the space program and received a very long email about the history of space flight.  Geesh!  Interestingly when I have pointed out that certain information is not correct or that I already know about this or that, his emails became a lot shorter and I am now down to one-line responses. 

I believe Bill to be well meaning but very accustom to being the speaker and all knowing in a relationship, possibly a generational thing, although I am classified as being in the same generation but at the very end of the boomers. Thank goodness for that!

I am thinking that the two pairs of couples had enough after two weeks of his long-winded talks.

Lie #2, his profile picture is now obviously ten years younger as compared to his true age. His age does not faze me in the least but it is the purposeful avoidance of stating the true facts that I cannot tolerate.

In conclusion:  here are some DON’T’S for you men when posting your profile on a dating site if you are serious about meeting someone.

  • Do not post your profile picture from ten years ago, it will bite you in the ass.
  • If your age is 71 or 75 say so, do not say you are 64 or 65.  Watch it ladies it happens a lot.
  • Keep your write up to a few paragraphs, do not write it like a romance book.  Am I being too cynical?  If it all sounds or reads too good to be true then we know it isn’t.
  • I do not want to see you hugging your dog, looks like it would come first.
  • Do not show pictures of you holding your new born grandchildren, I want nothing to do with taking on the grandparent roll (unless it is my grandchild) or conversations that constantly revolve around children or for that matter your dog, cat or bird!
  • Do not have a mustache that hangs below your chin! Unless of course it is in support of Movember
  • Don’t talk to me as though it is 1950. I have a brain; believe I am well read and informed.  I know how to use a wrench.
  • Don’t say you are well travelled and use cruise ships in the same sentence
  • Don’t state you like to hold hands, walk on the beach, sit by the fire, blah, blah, blah
  • If you state that you are athletic and toned you had better have pictures to back that up!  I can see you sucking in that gut while posing with a bicycle.
  • And for God’s sake do not post a profile picture of you in a HOSPITAL BED!

Onward

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Construction Ahead!

Construction sign

As of June 2019, I made the decision to move to northern Alberta and closer to family. There was very little to hold me any longer in Victoria or the Island.  It was time for a fresh beginning although it would be taking me away from a province I do love and away from the ocean.  Bitter sweet.

The past few months have been busy with never being at a loss for something to do and I needed that.  Purchased a very nice three-bedroom home with an unfinished lower level – perfect.  I was able to obtain the original proposed house plans from the city and began to connect with contractors.

This city although being five hundred miles north of Edmonton is no different than Victoria in pricing for trades.  My word for it – insane!  Victoria may have the well-off people from the mainland with money to spend but Grande Prairie has the oil and the money that goes with it. Well not so much for the average person.

After obtaining quotes that ranged from $30,000 to $50,000, I decided to be my own contractor.  It is certainly a learning process and one that I relish.  It is not rocket science; it is a step by step process with the most important key being good trades people.  Eventually I was able to connect with one good trade which on recommendation led me to the next and then the next.  Step by step.

Prior to deciding to renovate I had been busy with outside sprucing up.

First project was to work on the back-flower garden which was unbelievably horrid!  Two owners ago had two large dogs that I can only guess used the flower bed for their business.  The next owner kept putting bark mulch on it and my guess is to decrease the smell.  What I ended up with was about three feet of smelly bark mulch.  Bagged it all up and off to the dump.

Next – the entire yard is enclosed by a six-foot fence that had the lower fence boards completely set into the ground which ultimately means those boards will rot.  It took me a while but I dug a trench and exposed the lower boards, what a job and hard work but it is now done and there are boards that do need replacing.   After that sanded and painted as those dogs had chewed and clawed the fence, terrible mess.

Trees were next and with the amazing help of my friend we planted three trees to increase privacy, fingers crossed that they make it through the winter.

The upper and lower decks were next. They were bare wood.  Scrubbed them with a special solution to remove the built up grim over the years then applied two coats of paint, looks great.

To add additional privacy due to a neighbour that lives behind me, I installed privacy paneling around the lower deck, it also looks great.

Installed a pull screen door for the back door, painted the garage door with my friend helping me, painted the inside of the garage and the front entrance and garage doors. Replaced the bottom rubber on the garage door and gaskets between the panels of the door – again with the help of my friend.

Planted flowers and scrubs; replaced outside lights with LED ones.

Whew!

So that is it for outside work this year.  It is now October with much colder weather soon to be here.  Brrrr…………not sure how I will fare as I had lived in Victoria for 23 years and quite use to cold rain for what we call the winter months and then flowers coming up by the middle of February.  Still need to get that snow shovel.

As my wonderful mother use to say:  you are not sugar or salt, you will not melt. 😊

When You Are Sixty-Three

216.jpgPaul McCartney wrote the lyrics for “When I’m 64” when he was 16 years old.  From what I have read it was based on his father turning 64.  He said he wrote the song in fun.

Well I cannot imagine him writing the song in any other fashion but for fun!  Who at sixteen years of age, twenty-six, thirty-six or even forty-six has any concept of what that age means?

When I was fifty-six, I did think about how I was getting closer to my sixties, but it was still a LONG WAY OFF!

Right?

Not.

At the age of sixty, I realized that this decade would have to be the one of real change.  If I were to enter the decade of my seventies (which is a LONG WAY OFF!) I would have to be in better shape physically.

So, the change did begin at age sixty.  I was thirty pounds overweight, my balance certainly seemed to be lacking and I was stuck, not satisfied with where I was and who I was.  I took the plunge and went on a dating site (a reputable one, which does mean throw caution to the wind).

I met a man that was extraordinarily different in every way imaginable to me who brought incredible vitality and excitement into my life, a person who mentored and taught me all things that I had only read about and dreamed of doing.

For years I would say to myself “in my next life I will do this or go there”, meaning I would be with a partner who enjoyed the outdoors, enjoyed camping (in a tent), liked travelling and at the drop of a hat would be willing to go just about anywhere.

My next life did come true and for the next three plus years my life changed dramatically.

Who would guess, that I would:

  • travel by motorcycle to Mexico/southern and coastal USA
  • become a certified open water scuba diver and dry suit diver
  • learn to ride a motorcycle (did not really enjoy this)
  • sky dived in tandem
  • learn to kayak (absolutely love)
  • learn about sailing and sail around Vancouver Island, southern Alaska, Queen Charlotte Islands, west coast of USA and down to Mexico
  • learn about navigation, weather and flying in a small plane (not as the pilot) and fly to for the June solstice at Tuktoyaktuk and then across Canada to southern Ontario, camp in a tent under the wing (bucket list is to fly to and be in Oshkosh, guess that will wait for the next life)
  • learn to really ride a bicycle, regain my balance and ride an average of 20 to 30 km in a day
  • swim in the ocean with Whale Sharks (they are vegetarian!)
  • swim with dolphin’s
  • learn to ski properly and be able to ski the blue runs
  • ride the rugged logging roads on Vancouver Island
  • learn to hike or rather bushwhack up hills and small mountains
  • learn how to forage for berries, learn about animal tracks, marine life

Yes, it has been quite the adventure where I was pushed and challenged many times to an extreme but to be honest, I wanted to be out of the “normal” and “comfortable” zone.  It is exactly what I wanted, needed and still desire.

So, I bow to my former partner who was an exacting teacher, but a great mentor and I thank him for bringing me into my sixties.

We were like fire together, most times a warm glow but then we would become a firestorm.

This time the firestorm was all consuming.