Thursday, December 29, 2016


     I've taken a longer time between posts than I usually do. There are probably some who will say ,"I never missed you!". I won't give them such a chance. I had topics to post on. I had lots of time. 

    But one excuse laid me low and I haven't suffered such and excuse for 20 or more years. I picked up a miserable head cold. Ordinarily I don't get head colds and ordinarily I don't pick up bugs that are circulating. So I can describe  all the miserableness of a head cold. I had no energy. I stayed in bed most of the day and went to bed before 8 PM. I had aches and pains in every part of my body. Nothing tasted any good. I didn't have an appetite. This is a time when there's lots of good Christmas food around. I didn't have my afternoon coffee for 5 days. Coffee didn't appeal to me. Now I could go into the finer details of certain undesirable secretions but you don't need those details.

    Now I've been retired for 19 years and have not had a head cold like this one. I've had colds but I was able to carry on.

    So I was not able to force myself to write a post. It's probably just as well as I'm sure it would have been a pathetic post.

    So even if I feel miserable now, I know I'm very fortunate not to suffer head colds or any other issues that causes one to feel miserable. My thoughts are with those who have issues that attack and challenge them on a daily basis. 

    So here's to a wonderful 2017.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


    A  while ago I told you that I was doing a 4 hour shift selling books and other things for the Nature Center bookstore in one of the larger malls. I like this shift and look forward to it every year.  I like watching people. I have a front row seat as people go back and forth in the mall. Then lots of people stop to browse and see if there's anything that would be  good gift. Some people just stop to visit. Many of them have something to ask about the natural world. Others have something they want to tell you.

    Now I like kids...little kids. Usually little kids go by my stall and don't even notice it. The other day I noticed the odd little kid gave  me a wave and smile.  I wondered about this. Then a mother was talking to me and the toddler was in the shopping cart. This little kid was really giving me the big smile. Then I heard her say "nanta". Oops ! I got it.

    These poor little kids were going by me and thinking that I was Santa Claus! Wow! I didn't think I looked that old!

     I guess the white beard did it for these little guys. I wonder what they would have done if I had my red fleece on?

    So this is my Christmas Eve story.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


    One of our major garden centers has a many ice carvings for the Christmas Season. this year's theme was star Wars! Not very Christmasy,  but they didn't ask me for any advice. Businesses Put up ice sculptures to go along with the theme.

     Now we went to the Mormon church display of 300 creches. These creches come from members of the church. My camera batteries went dead after 2 photos so I was very popular. I did manage one photo with the micro Manager looking at some interesting displays

      Now for the Star Wars stuff. Most sculptures have the name of the character.

You can tell which is my favorite. I can tell that I should have taken photos showing more detail. I'll know better next time.

Monday, December 19, 2016


    I participated in our Christmas bird count on Sun. Dec. 18. I have participated in the bird count for close to 50 years. I've written about the Christmas bird count most years.

   I promised somebody that I would report the species I found. So I found blue jay, magpie, black capped chickadee, bohemian waxwing, raven, crow  house finch.  The crow was a first for me in a winter bird count. I was also expecting to see red breasted nuthatches, boreal chickadees, downy woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, house sparrows. However in one day you can't run into everybody.

Image may contain: tree, bird, sky, outdoor and nature

    So to top the day off we got together for a potluck supper.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


     I have listed some of my Christmas activities. I lead a bird watching group each Saturday. I planned a wind up Cake and coffee session. 

     I had to get permission to use the Red Deer River Naturalist's office for this event. So went I went down to set things up I was completely surprised to find that the tables had clothes and there were decorations. Our treasurer who uses the room most had set it up for me without telling me.

    So you an tell we had a good time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


    I keep a list taped to the desk of possible topics for blog posts. I found that if I didn't write them down I would forget all my great ideas.

    Well, my list doesn't have any topics on it at this time. I've been too busy lately to think of things and write them down. I have a series of posts I will do after Christmas. 

    Christmas is a busy time and activities crowd out times to contemplate blog posts. So in the next few days: Friday I volunteer from 1 -5 looking after the Nature center book store stall in the mall. It's fun to meet people and sell a few books. People like to drop by and talk about things they see outdoors. 

    Saturday I have a coffee and cake do with the birders I lead every Saturday afternoon. We enjoy our Saturday outings and everybody looks forward to sitting down and remembering the fun we had. Saturday evening I see a performance of the Christmas Carol put on by one of the local high schools.

    Sunday is the Christmas bird count. I'm out from 9:30 to 11:30 and then come home for lunch. In the afternoon I'm out from 1:30 -3:30 . I have two areas that I cover and have covered the same areas for about 40 years. 

    Sunday evening we have a potluck supper with all the bird counters. It's a fun time to share bird count activities.

    We've also had a lot of running around to do at this busy time. One example is that the sieve the Micro manager uses in baking came apart so since there was still more baking to do we had to find a sieve. So you know that finding a sieve with the micro manager will be a marathon. She wanted a sieve like the old one. Well boo hoo! They don't  make them like that anymore.

    Today we did find a sieve so there will be more baking.

    So being busy is part of the season and makes for an enjoyable time. But I will enjoy peace and quiet once Dec.  25 arrives. 

    Christmas bird count territory.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


      On Black Friday, the micro manager decided she wanted to go to the nearby mall and have lunch in the food court. I don't like eating in food courts so I made my own lunch at home.

      The Micro manager had a few things she wanted to look for. One was to settle the underwear purchase I wrote about a few posts ago. She will then walk around checking out stores and looking for things we may need later. Now why any sane person would like to putz around the mall on Black Friday is beyond me. Now I rarely go to the mall except to drop off or pick up the Micromanager. I buy gas but after that I don't buy anything. I must repeat, I don't like malls.

     The idea of Buy Nothing Friday appeals to me. It's easy for me to buy nothing on Buy Nothing Friday because I don't buy anything.

     Now about 4:00PM I got a phone call from the micro manager asking me to come to the mall to look at some shoes I(she)had been looking for. What I should say is that she was looking for some shoes for me. Well, she phoned and asked me to come out right a way to try on the shoes she found. There was only one pair and they were holding them for her.

     Out I go and the parking space was far away from the mall. I find the store and the Micro manager. I try on the shoes. They fit and were what I had been looking for. After being quizzed for ten minutes to be sure that the shoes fit we decided to buy them. Was  I sure the shoes were long enough? Did my toes hit the end of the shoe? Were the shoes wide enough? Would I put both shoes on.Would I walk in them to see how they felt? I'm sure there were more questions from the Micromanager.The shoes were half price! What a deal!

     By this time the Micro manager was ready to go home.

     Now I'm ashamed to admit it but by accident I bought something on Black Friday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


      As a long ago retired teacher, I have had time to contemplate a few things about education. I won't say I have answers but I think these suggestions would help teachers in their practice. 

    Now starting with a title like this people may get ideas that would go on forever. If I gave this to a grade eight class ...well, all hell would break loose! It would be fun though.

    However, for today I will ignore other suggestions and present my own.

    I think every teacher should have to take and teach some art, drama, music, shop, home ec., special ed and phys. ed. Now there would be challenges but I'm not looking for expertise in these fields. Teachers would not be assigned these classes permanently but given enough time to learn something. Teachers would need some special training in the areas and would team teach with someone who has majored in the field. I want teachers to see the special skills used in these areas and to put them in their own teaching strategies. My music ability is completely lacking but I do remember taking music in teachers' college and teaching music in my first year. It was ugly but I did it. 

    I have taught with and observed teachers in all these  areas. I saw things these teachers had that would benefit every teacher.

    Teachers in these areas have to be master planners and organizers. They think in a different way because kids are working individually or in groups. Those kids have to be on task. Routines have to be set up so that everybody knows where to go and what their responsibility is. In shop the kids have to know safety and rotate from one area to another so that at the end of the term they have completed all units. 

    Art, drama and music call for some creativity. All teachers need creativity to motivate kids. Coaching calls for strategy and planning where each player should be and what their responsibility is. The whole team works as a unit. I love watching coaches. They have a system. Every teacher should have a system.

   Special ed was part of my department. I went to learning disability workshops. I was amazed at the strategies those teachers used. I certainly thought about how some kids could benefit from special ed. strategies.

    My all time favorite was to go to professional development for primary teachers. I did have some gr. ones in my first year teaching. I loved teaching the little guys. That's where you get down to the nitty gritty of teaching. Many strategies have to be used.

    So if I had it to do all over again I would try to gain more strategies from these teaching areas.

    Now what do you think all teachers should...?

Sunday, December 4, 2016


    The Micromanager needed some more underwear so went shopping at her favorite place. She found what she wanted and guess what. They were on sale! Bonus!

    But she had to buy and extra large to fit her! Now the Micromanager at her tallest would be 5' 1 1/2". All of her adult life she  weighed  constant 105 pounds. Now she's a hefty 115. Extra large underwear? Most of her clothes are in petite sizes. Well if the shoe (underwear) fits wear it.

    Now she came home with her new purchase and when she opened the packages one pair was 2" longer than the other pair. That would never do. On closer inspection one pair was made in China and the other pair made in Haiti. They were exactly the same brand with same numbers and in the same packages. 

    The next thing inspection revealed is that both pair were falling apart. The elastic was leaving the fabric. 

    Now this is a situation that really gets the Micro manager in motion. She took them back to her favorite store. They looked at all the packages on the shelf. She saw to it that the buyers knew of the problems with the underwear and that they should check the quality of things before they buy them.

    She took about half a day on this project.

    Now after all that, I don't know if she got any new underwear or not. 
    It's really hard to buy good underwear these days. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016


    What a super bunch of questions! I enjoyed writing these posts. Your questions make me think of many more details.

    Here goes!

What did you teach? How long did you stay? Why did you leave and where did you go then?
    Linda, I taught 7 th and 8th grades. I also had a 2nd grade phys.ed class one year. I spent 5ive years altogether. I wanted a transfer to another place and I didn't get it so I came "out " for a year and was going to apply again. I never applied again. I got a position in Red deer and planned to stay one year. Here I am 49 years later.

Did you ever spoke or met some of your pupils you had teached, when they were grown up? And how did they remember those schooldays?  I never met any of these students again. Some of them became prominent leaders and I read about them in the news. some I heard about from my friends.

Was this where you met your wonderful micromanager? Was she teaching there too? I'm sorry if you already answered this. My brain is so foggy.
   I did meet the Micro manager in Inuvik. She came in as a nurse. The guys always knew when girls wer coming in and scouted them out as they came in the airport!!!
  Yorkshire PuddingThursday, December 01, 2016
Following your last post, I asked about the term "eskimo" but you ignored my question. I guess that makes you a typical teacher - blethering on like an ocean liner ploughing through the waves. 
   The term eskimo actually comes from the Cree as that's what they called the people to the north. So since explorers met the Cree first, the explorers called them eskimo. Eskimos call themselves Innuit the people. One is an Innuk. Now I like the simile you have for teacher. It fits me just fine as I do get off the topic easily.
I also wanted to ask about insects up in that region in the summertime. Are there many and do they interfere with normal life?
Insects were a nasty problem. Mosquitoes were unbelievable. Most of the time we were well covered with clothing with the exception of hands and face. The mosqitoes certainly interfere with normal life but we just had to get on with things. One time while boating, I had planned to camp overnight at a certain spot. As I approached the bank a bazillion mosquitoes met me. I backed the boat up  and continued my trip for the rest of the night. Out in the middle of the river and in a moving boat we were free of mosquitoes. It was light all night so keep on going.
Did you ever spoke or met some of your pupils you had teached, when they were grown up? And how did they remember those schooldays?
I did not meet any former students. I did hear about them as some took important leadership positions and they were in the news. I did hear about some when I met friends and they would tell me about some. I taught the Dad of the  Koe curling team from Canada
I wondered about the foods you ate.I recently watched a show about a group on Barrow island. the culture had a draw for the kids who left and tried college, missing the family life they had and returned.
I ate regular food from my ration. Yes when kids went back home some would not eat country food. It caused all kinds of challenges for the people. Country food(meat and fish) was nutritious and good but the kids didn't like it anymore. I hope this answers your question.
How did you change after your northern experiences?
I learned about racism and how terrible it was. I had to look at things from a different point of view. I remember well the first time I was in a minority situation. I knocked on the priest's door and I heard the kids tell the Father ,"It's a white man." It cut through me like a knife. Their belief in spirits as real got me thinking about my own faith and how shallow it was.
How did you cope with the long hours of darkness during the winter?
    I loved the darkness and the light.I made sure I got out in the winter. I visited somebody every evening. The 24 hour daylight was energizing. I didn't sleep much. Some people could not cope with these conditions at all.
Were any of your students forcibly removed from their homes back then? I have read about it but didn't know if was widespread. Thanks for asking. :-
Some of them were forcibly removed. Parents would go out on the trapline so their kids wouldn't be found. Sooner or later the kids were picked up. Some kids were staying in the settlement with grandparents. When the parents came back they were angry and confused as to why their children had disappeared. Sometimes missionaries were involved in sending kids away. Some parents wanted their children to get an education. Usually those kids did fairly well with the support of parents. And then some children were apprehended and put in foster care.
What was it like getting used to dramatically less- and more- daylight
Changes in daylight happened slowly so it was easy to get used to. I liked the dark and light periods. I kept busy during the dark and spent time outside. There was twilight from 11:00 AM to 2 PM so we had awesome skies for part of the day. When it was cloudy it was very dark. I found the 24 hour daylight to be very energizing. I often went without sleeping. Some people could not cope with these situations at all.
What did you teach and to what age students? What was the worst time for you...and what was the best? Did you go back home during the time you were up there, what did you do in the time you were not teaching? I believe you said ten months out of the year...was that for the teacher too? What kind of celebrations> How was Christmas? Oh see I was the wrong person to answer your question:)
I taught 7th and 8th grades. I taught all their subjects. The worst? I didn't realize. I did not understand that these kids came from another world..culture. The best is the opposite of the worst. I did learn from the kids if I listened to them.I did go out every summer. Some of the time was spent at home. Weekends in the north? We partied! We also had lots to do. The gym was used every day. I went boating every weekend and snowshoed in the winter. I also did some hunting and lots of fishing. I  don't remember Christmas celebrations. The single people did get together and make a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. I had an Inuit lady make me a proper parka. It was long with three layers, duffle and lining. There was fur around the hood sleeves and hem. I wore shoes with overshoes. I did wear mukluks about half the time and they were awesome to wear...very comfortable.
I'm not sure if you covered this earlier in your blog, but I'll ask now while I have the chance! How long did you teach up north, and why did you decide to leave?
 I lived a total of 5 years in the north. I left by accident. I applied for a transfer and didn't get it. I planned to stay in the south for a year and apply again. I never applied again. I still live in the same city I planned to stay in for only one year.
Here's a question: I've been told that "Eskimo" is a derogatory word for Canada's indigenous peoples. Is this true, and is that a word that should be avoided? What would be a more proper term?
Eskimo is a Cree term that means raw meat eaters. At one time it was derogatory but since the term isn't used much any more it;'s not really and issue. The proper term is Inuit which means the people. Inuit is commonly used now.
What were your students like? How were they treated? What did you like best about your job? What did you like least?
The students were like any other students. Kids are kids. We made a mistake and treated them like kids in the south...white kids. They ignored our ignorance. At the time we thought we were cutting edge and doing a great thing for the aboriginal people. Of course, I liked that but it turned out to be wrong. Sometimes there were behaviour problems that I didn't understand. I wasn't able to deal with the situation in a positive way. I was frustrated by the misunderstanding on my part.
This is a variation on how you coped with the long winter. I'd like to know how you coped with the long summer. Was it difficult to sleep when it is light out for half the night?
I loved the long summer days and sometimes skipped a night's sleep. Many times we catnapped and didn't even try to have a night's sleep.  Some people could not cope with either the light or the dark. It seemed to me that the 24 hour daylight was energizing. 
    I enjoyed answering these questions. It made me think of other things. Now if I didn't answer what you wanted , seconds are allowed. If you thought of something else ask it.