Saturday, February 17, 2018

IT'S MORE THAN GUNS

      Mass shootings are absolutely mind numbing. It's just impossible to understand.

      How can some coward blow away another human being let alone 17 young people.

      The gun issue always comes to the fore after a major shooting and then quickly loses steam as a discussion  topic.

      I can't imagine the horror that went on in that school.  My heart goes out to all those who've had losses.

      However, I think there's much more that has to happen along with major gun legislation.

      There are too many major divisions in North American society. There are major religious differences that separate people and cause friction. There are many Christian denominations and some of them fight openly. They don't like each other.

     There are racial divisions. Dozens of divisions which bring about all kinds of racial prejudice. Various groups are discriminated against.

     There are major economic divisions.  These divisions are becoming wider and wider. The poor and middle class have been exploited.

     What's the matter with good old unity where we work together for the good of all?

     Frustration grows up within marginalized groups. Marginalized groups feel that they are discriminated against.

      At some time people have to mix with others and get to know them. There's too much pressure from smaller groups who want  their specific agenda pushed forward whether others want it or not.

     So there are many reasons for anger. First, I would like to see major gun legislation but after that we have to change some basic parts of society. We have to work together for some common good. There are many different ways to live together rather than fight each other. Get to know the other guys. Some of the differences would seem very small and not worthwhile thinking about.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT FINANCE

       I live in Canada and I don't have to tell you our closest neighbor is. For the most part the United states is a very good neighbor. The people are great neighbors but they don't know very much about us.. Some of the politicians and are scary and some of the government policies don't make sense to me.

     Well, where am I going with this. A few weeks ago there was a situation where some regulation  had to be passed or the American government would run out of money and the government would have to shut down. What is going on here?  Why is there such a law? Can somebody please explain how this law works.

    What happens if some government doesn't have money to spend for a long time and it's bills are not paid? How long will it be before businesses owed money by the government become bankrupt. And when you get a few bankruptcies it might snowball. So the economy of the country collapses. 

     Why am I concerned? That goes back to the closest neighbor thing in the first paragraph. We have a saying here that we are like a mouse sleeping next to an elephant. As a result of American financial turmoil we will also suffer the same fate as our economies are closely related. 

    So why is there a regulation that could cause the collapse of an economy? 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

MOM AND DAD SETTLING IN

     Mom had never been out to Dad's farm. Dad had probably given her a fairly realistic description of the house conditions. Mom had rarely traveled out of her town Portage la Prairie Manitoba. The 500 mile train trip back to the farm was a major trip. Arrangements had been made for someone to meet the train and pick them up and take them to the farm.

      Dad on his farm

    Mom arrived with a few linens like sheets, blankets, towels and tea towels. She also had a set of cutlery that may have been silver. There was an old trunk in the house and it was probably used to bring all her worldly goods to the farm.

     The house was not insulated and the wood had dried out so there was a crack or two in the walls. The house was banked up with straw to gain some warmth. There was no electricity. Light was by something called a coal oil lamp. A flame burned from a wick so there wasn't much light. They got used to working with such low light levels. There was no water! In the winter there was a large barrel beside the stove and they kept that full of snow. The snow slowly melted . When water was needed for washing you dipped out as much as you wanted. There was no washing machine. Clothes were washed by hand and hung on a clothes line outside. Now in winter the clothes froze rapidly. A few days later the clothes were brought in the house and hung on racks to complete drying.

     Later on an old hand rocked washing machine was purchased but there wasn't any room in the house for it so it was only brought in on wash days. Later Dad set up an outdoor washing machine that could only be used in the summer. This machine was powered by a primitive one cylinder engine.

     Now the town where Mom lived had some amenities. They had electricity and water. The places where she worked had some conveniences like clothes washers. 

     
      Mom's family about 1930. Mom is in the middle.

     Mom had been on farms as her grandparents farmed and she spent part of the summer with her grandparents.

     But to come out to Dad's place would have been a shock...culture shock. Dad had grown a garden the summer before and left his produce with a neighbor who kept them and so they didn't freeze . So he probably had a couple of bags of potatoes and vegetables.

    Mom did have a cousin in the district who lived about 2 Km away. There were other people in the district who she had met.

    Dad loved farm auction sales. Stuff that sold was usually old and in poor condition. That's how Dad got some farm machinery. He loved to buy "junk" boxes for 5 or 10 cents. You didn't really know what was in the box but there were usually things that could be used such as tools. Farming at that time was done by horse power so guess what? Dad got his horses on auction sales. They were usually very poor quality horses. I remember old Teddy who was a very dumb horse. 

    One time Dad bought a horse and then traded it before he went home for a very ancient Model T truck that had a cloth cab. It was the first vehicle he ever bought. The truck was used very little as they didn't have money for gas in the 30' and during the war there wasn't much gas for sale. Besides that the old truck wasn't very reliable.

    Dad also bought a cow or two on auction sales. He ended up naming the cows after the people he bought them from . There was a cow named old Oscar.

    However, they survived the winter of 1938. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

.THE AIR WAS BLUE

     Everyone knows I am the bumbling handyman. I do everything...plumbing, electricity, carpentry, mechanics and now a few computer do it your self projects.

    You know that I recently got a new computer and set it up by myself instead of paying Staples $99.00. I only had one snafu and that was easily solved. I got all the stuff off the old computer. I found all my pictures.

    Now my printer was just too old to use with windows 10. I finally bought a printer last week. I asked how difficult it would be to set up compared to the computer . They thought about the same difficulty. Okay . I'll go for it.

   Well the second thing you do is put the cartridge in. So look at the picture and  try to find a door to open. I found one thing that looked like a door. It wouldn't open very far and there was no way a cartridge would go in. I phoned the store...three times . Not much help. Pictures didn't help as they used different printer photos than mine. I tried everything. Finally, I thought about what one of the kids said that he thought the door was on the front. I ran into some tape. In stripping the tape off something moved and ah ha there was the door. So in the printer cartridge went. 

    Next hook my printer to wi fi. Well there was a handy dandy disk. The disk didn't take me very far and all it would say is that it couldn't find my machine.

   Okay phone Shaw, the Internet provider. They sent me to a Brother's support site with live chat. 

    Alright. The first guy I spend an hour with. Things went  round and round but my printer didn't get hooked to wi fi. I try another Brother's chat person. same frustrating run around and they give up on me. Third Brother's person. Round and round but it didn't end up in the place they said I should get to. So they said we'll arrange a call back.

    I got thinking that I should try the printer. I did and great balls of fire it printed. I tried my ipad and it printed from my ipad.

   Now this is when the smoke came out of my ears. I spent so much frustrating time and all the time it was done. Was I some upset. Words flew.  Not very nice ones.

   Why can't directions be made in a simple logical pattern. 

   So this project was just a little more than I bargained for. But I have a good printer!

    I'm still comin' down.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

MY PARENTS

     My parents were married in February of 1938. They were married in Grandma's house in Portage la Prairie , Manitoba. They had a best man, brides maid and preacher as well as grandma and Grandpa. What a grand wedding! They talked about it often. Mom was 24 and Dad was 26.




     Up to that point my Mom had always lived at home. As so many young women did at that time she worked as a hired girl. Most households hired a girl as there were no luxuries or  appliances. All the work was done by hand. Mom talked fondly of a family that   she worked for for many years. She corresponded with these people for years. They were excellent people to work for and they treated her like family. I think she was paid $10.00 to $15.00 per month.

     As many young men of the depression did, Dad traveled and picked up odd jobs and lived with friends. Dad was 18 when he left his family. Dad worked in a sawmill for his uncle all winter and when the job was finished and Dad wanted to move on, Uncle had no money to pay him. Uncle pointed to a pile of lumber and said that was Dad's pay. What could an 18 year old kid do with a pile of lumber that no one wanted. Dad walked away and traveled further on.

   Dad moved on to the Okanagan valley in British Columbia. He had two sisters and some cousins living in the area. Dad picked fruit, worked in the bush, worked on a dairy farm and many other odd jobs. Much of the time he was idle and lived with other young people or his sisters. It was a frustrating time for young people who were not able to make a living for themselves.

   In 1935 Dad came back to the prairies and with one of his sisters bought a small farm. The farm had a small meager house. It was about 14' by 24' . It was very poorly built so was very cold. Dad farmed and picked up the odd job. In the winter he went to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and worked for a man who put up ice to be delivered in the summer for coolers. Again the money was poor but he didn't have anything to do on his farm in the winter.

    So this is where Mom and Dad met.

    A few days after their wedding they got on the train and went out to Dad's farm. Now I can imagine my mother's feelings  as she  was leaving home for the first time and moving out to a shack far away from her parents! The shack had not been heated all winter so it must have taken some time to heat up. Fortunately, one of Dad's friends kept them until the old house was heated. They had brought their clothes and a few household items that they had been given for wedding presents or things that Mom had bought.

     So this was the start of their married life.

    Neither of them complained about the hardships of the great depression. They often talked of the fun they had on no money. Many young people at that time married later in life as they couldn't afford to live independently.

   I always admire how they managed to survive such hardships.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

THINGS IN OUR LIFE WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT

     In my last post I admitted that I had no idea that the Micro Manager had such a collection of hankies. I got some ribbing because I didn't know that the handkerchiefs were in the house. That's okay as I'm not at all materially oriented.

     However , some of the comments got me thinking about other areas of my life and what I may be missing.

     Now I was a middle school teacher for 37 years. (You haven't heard that line for a long while.) I know that there were many things that went on in the classroom that I didn't ever get to know about.

     However, I'm friends on an adult basis with many former students and sometimes we share some tremendous laughs about things that went on. There were many near misses of getting caught.

    One story I'll never forget is from Bob who I never taught. Bob was my daughter's neighbor so many times I sat out on the deck with Bob. 

    Bob was a great story teller. There was usually a lesson or moral to his story.

    One day in Middle School Bob decided he didn't want to go to school in the afternoon. He planned his afternoon off very carefully. He would go back to school after the noon lunch break. He would make sure that he was seen but would leave before attendance was taken. When the bell rang to go to home room Bob headed for the exit. To has shock and horror the principal was standing at the far end of the hallway. Just the two of them in that long hallway.

     Well Bob thought , "He's seen me so I'm caught ." Bob kept on going without a shout from the Principal. Then Bob thought, "He'll phone my Mom and when I get home for supper I'll be in trouble." So Bob took his afternoon off but with some worries. Suppertime came and his Mom said nothing.

     Well, Bob thought maybe I didn't get caught skipping class. Then Bob began to worry that when he got to school the next morning that his name would be called to go to the office. Next morning? Bob was not called to the office. Bob was beginning to think that he got a way with skipping class. 

   For some reason the Principal was in Bob's home room taking attendance. When the Principal got to Bob's name and saw an absent for the afternoon before, he asked Bob , "Where were you yesterday afternoon?"  Bob said, I blurted out, "I skipped.!" Bob said he doesn't know why he said he skipped to this day. It just came out of his mouth.

    The Principal calmly said, "Drop into my office before you go home." 

     Now Bob's buddies razzed him for admitting that he skipped when he could have got away with it.

    Bob was allowed to worry all afternoon.

    He visited the Principal after school and was given a few afternoon detentions.

    Bob was still worried about his Mom finding out. His Mom was not phoned.

    Bob likes to think about how miserable an afternoon off school could be.

    Bob joined the Air Force and was paymaster for most of the time.

Friday, February 2, 2018

FANCY HANDKERCHIEFS

       The Micro Manager is of an age when women who traveled sent little gifts to their friends. A popular gift was a fancy handkerchief! Anybody remember these?

       These handkerchiefs were of a fancy design and may have had decorative stitching in places. Many times they had the name of the place the person was visiting along with a picture in the cloth. The were sold singly or in packages of four or whatever. The handkerchiefs were folded so that the four fit in a package making four triangles. The package could also be fancy with lettering and photos or maybe a painting that had been reproduced.

      Well,   there happens to have been   50 -60 of these fancy handkerchiefs in my  house. I had no idea these things existed let alone were in my house.

     Now the Micro Manager and I have been attempting to downsize for ten or fifteen years so the handkerchiefs came on the block for disposal.

     Surprise! Surprise! These things are worth some money if you haven't wiped your nose with them.  Check out eBay. One business bought about ten of them and paid money for them. That left 40- 50 in the house. The micro Manger found out that certain groups would take the handkerchiefs and give you a charitable receipt. All you had to do was present a price that was being paid on eBay. Go to eBay and have a look and you will find many of these handkerchiefs offered for sale. They are worth more if in the original package. If the original package is in good condition...more money. If the package hasn't been opened ...more money.  As it happened the local college took the handkerchiefs for their Drama and Fine Arts program.

    Now I don't remember seeing these fancy handkerchiefs in the house. How the Micro Manager got these in the house , I'll never know.

    As of today, all the fancy handkerchiefs are gone from this house.