Monday, July 30, 2012

JULY...SO SAD TO SEE YOU GO.

It’s odd how Time, or the passing thereof, affects people in different ways. The other day, for example, I had a brief conversation with a friend about how July is passing rather slowly this time around and then shortly afterward I encountered another acquaintance who commented how quickly the month was flying by for him. Time is definitely subjective, isn’t it?


Time is often like the weather…you know how the weather is either too hot or too cold and time is either too fast or too slow. Imagine, if you will, a timed sporting event where you are on the team that is leading by a narrow margin with minutes or even seconds left in the game and the time is going ever so slow for your team while the opposition’s team’s perception is that their time is going way too fast but it has to be going by at exactly the same pace, don’t you think? A second is a second is a second so it just comes down to your own personal point of view, I guess.

I am acutely aware of what time it is all of the time, if you know what I mean? I’m a notorious clock watcher. I pretty much always know what time it is. To me, it’s almost an affliction.

“Hey, it’s coffee time.”

“Hey, it’s lunch time.”

“Hey, it’s quittin’ time.”

“Hey, it’s “Cold beverage of your choice” time.”

See a pattern here?

My wife, on the other hand, isn’t a slave to her watch or the clock at all. Lucky girl. Time will pass as it will…la, la, la…”Oh, is it lunchtime already? How’d that happen? I guess we should get something to eat, eh?” she says.

And I’m going, “It’s lunchtime ALREADY! When’re we going to get something to eat!? It was noon seconds ago! I’ve been watching it come since breakfast!” As far as clock watching goes I wish I was more like her.

The problem with watching the clock all of the time is that you miss what’s happening right now because you always seem to be watching for what’s coming up. Does that make any sense to you at all? Unfortunately, it does to me. It’s like a long highway road trip…if you only concentrate on the destination you’re not going to enjoy the ride.

Now, back to the perception of July’s passing. To me, the 2012 edition of July has been just about right. Not too fast, not too slow, not too hot, (for some of us anyway), not too cold. We’ve had the right amount of sunshine and rain without a wicked storm or…dare I say it…tornado around here, (touch wood...knock, knock), despite all of the threats. Or that’s how it’s been for me this July and I am very sorry to see it go. Yes, July, you’ve been a very good month. Thanks.

“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.” Ada Louise Huxtable (1921-).

LOVE THE LAWN-HATE THE MOWING!

With the wet spring/early summer and some timely rains now and then it sure has made for some beautiful lawns this year hasn’t it? And with that you have to take the good with the bad, too, though. The good being the nice full lawn and the bad being that the grass needs to be cut every second day or so to keep the lawn looking nice and trim. Actually, it’s an enjoyable chore to me now compared to my adolescent days when I had so much more important stuff to take care of besides cutting the lawn for Dad.


Back in the day, my brother Gord and I shared our household’s lawn cutting chores along with doing the odd neighbors’ or family friends’ yards, too, and I hated it. The actual chore wasn’t really the problem but it sure put a crimp in the old social calendar when I had to spend an hour-and-a-half cuttin’ the damn grass.

I must have been about 10 years old when I was first assigned the lawn mowing chore and do you know how much Hide n Seek, Kick the Can, Scrub Baseball, 500, bike riding, Red Rovering, tree climbing, rock throwing…time is lost to grass cuttin’? Huh? Especially with our all-too-quick summer season. Who had time to cut the grass?

Then, as I grew into my teen years, there was a whole new set of activities that were lost to the lawn mower. Important stuff, too, like hangin’ out at the Hub Café, or playing football, baseball, golf, or swimming, or having “Dirty Hombre” fights in the mud at Lawrysyn’s dugout north of town, or showing off my “coolness” to the new girl visiting her Grandparents for the summer, which, by the way, took up an enormous amount of time because she had a hard time seeing it, and then, later on, looking for a supplier for smokes and beer, no…wait a second…come to think of it that was the other minister’s kids doin’ that, yup, that’s right, it’s wasn’t me, my brother and our friends at all…nope. So much to do…so little time.

I was about 14 years old when we moved to Kipling and a short time after we had arrived I was sent down the block to cut the grass of an older woman who was an old family friend and as I was pushing the lawn mower down the sidewalk I began to wonder a bit why one of her grandsons hadn’t been assigned this particular chore. Then I turned into her yard and saw the knee-high grass and I knew that they were smart enough to stay away from that place until someone else had done the grass cutting.

I recall that it was hotter n Hades that day, too, and I cut and raked and cut and raked and cut and raked and when I finally went to collect my payment she told me she’d drop it off to my Mom a little bit later. Okay, I figured, I had to go home and shower up anyway and then I’d run up to the Hub Café with my bounty in hand for a Coke n fries and maybe a bit of pinball, or something, and then she dropped off the payment…it was big allright…a big canister full of homemade Hungarian noodles. Oh, for joy. Wow. I was so unimpressed. Thankfully, Mom threw a couple of bucks my way and I got my treats after all but not before a few anxious moments there.

Now, today, I’d almost gladly cut someone’s grass for a noodle payment. My, how things have changed, eh? I eventually learned to appreciate the beauty of a well-kept lawn and although I try to use my gasless reel lawn mower as much as possible I still have to bring out the gas fired one to quicken the job and tempt nostalgia with a good ol’ whiff of gas fumes and fresh cut grass. Awww, the memories.





“... mow the lawn perfectly, but neglect to make the bed? It's pure, unadulterated logic.

Everyone can see the yard - nobody can see the bed. The lawn is the canvas upon

which guys judge each other. It's the great redeemer.

If we aren't great lawn men, we're nothing.”

- Kevin Kerwin, 47 Husband Mysteries Solved.





Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PUT DOWN THE CAMERA STUPID!!

Have you guys watched this!? The “Video of the Day” from July 2, 2012 titled “Mom rescues canine kid”. In the video a puppy, which appears to me to be little more than a few weeks old, is shown to jump, or fall, into a swimming pool and then the Golden Retriever mother jumps into the water and chases the pup across the pool and tries desperately and unsuccessfully to push her puppy onto the pool deck then she has the smarts to swim to the pool’s steps, climb them and then run down the deck to snatch the little one out of the water and haul it to safety. Both mother and puppy are fine, soaked, but fine. Rin Tin Tin, Lassie or the Littlest Hobo couldn’t have done it any better but my question is- Who’s runnin’ the stupid camera??!! What’re you doing? Did it ever cross your mind to, you know, like, uh…GRAB THE DROWNING PUPPY INSTEAD OF YOUR CAMERA? I hope this is a re-enactment where you trust that your dog’s going to do the same thing that she did earlier while the camera was in the cupboard or closet or whatever. Was it coincidental that someone was standing right by the pool holding a camera when the event took place? Was it all staged? Wait ‘til PETA gets a hold of this situation.


The infamous video was first posted on to You Tube back in April and has had over 2,000,000 hits since then. According to the comments below the video posting I’m not the first one to question the sanity of the camera operator and it’s just one more example of the lengths some people will go to for their 15 minutes of fame.

You know, most people just don’t know the difference between “famous” and “infamous”. Don Cherry and Shania Twain are “famous” and Karla Homolka and Robert Pickton are “infamous”. Or put into the simplest form: famous=good…infamous=bad.

Now, some people can take a video of their dog and make it famous like the guy who videos his German Sheppard and creatively dubs a voice-over to the dog’s actual mouth movements creating the hilarious “Ultimate Dog Tease” video, which was first posted in May of 2011 and it has had 111,280, 845 hits on it. That one is worth watching. There’s also a link attached to the video where you can order T-shirts and all of the profits from the shirt sales go to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals @ http://talkinganimalmerch.com). At least someone is using their video talents for good instead of evil.

Then again, so many people will do anything for money, won’t they? The ABC Television Network’s top-rated “America’s Funniest Home Videos” has been on the air for over twenty years and has inspired millions of viewers to try to come up with some unique video in an effort to win $10,000 for the weekly contests and $100,000 for the season’s best home video. To me, there are as many of the videos that are NOT funny as the ones that are funny and it also helps prove the old adage, “If common sense were so common everybody would have it.”

My hope is that the puppy video cameraman was truly trying to show his beloved dog’s intelligence and heart and would have jumped in to the pool if the little puppy had actually been in life-threatening distress. But, then again, you just never know.

“We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free.”- Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986).



Monday, July 2, 2012

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

I am writing this on the last day of June 2012, so tomorrow Canada turns 145 years old. For a person 145 years are an impossible number of years to live, as a country, 145 years put Canada just past adolescence, you know, finding ourselves, becoming established and setting ourselves up for a long and happy run.


Coincidentally I had just experienced a real strong Canadian Pride moment last week when I was travelling the grid road to work shortly before 7a.m. Early traffic gave the road-dust a mist-like quality as it drifted into the lush green crops and treed areas near the grid road. It was a surreal moment as I cruised through the picture perfect, calendar-like beauty of a Prairie morning. I have always been a real proud Canadian but it’s on occasions like that when the feeling really hits home.

To honour our nation on its birthday I have accumulated some Canadian facts for you this week. Enjoy:

• Canada became a country on July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament.

• Canada is the world's largest exporter of mustard seed — 80 per cent is grown in brilliant yellow fields in Saskatchewan.

• The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.

• Canada is the home to many other great inventions, including: basketball, the electric light bulb, the electric range, the electron microscope, standard time, the television, the telephone, and the zipper.

• Canada has made a significant contribution to rock and roll, beginning with “Sh-Boom” by the Crew-Cuts in 1954. Other famous Canadian rock-and-rollers include Paul Anka, Neil Young, the Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Steppenwolf, Avril Lavigne, Rush, Bryan Adams, and The Barenaked Ladies.

• The Moosehead Brewery in Saint John, New Brunswick, turns out 1,642 bottles of beer per minute.

• North America's earliest undisputed evidence of human activity, 20,000-year-old stone tools and animal bones have been found in caves on the Bluefish River in northern Yukon

• The Mounted Police were formed in 1873, with nine officers. In 1920, the Mounted Police merged with the Dominion Police to become the famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an organization that now has more than 28,000 members.

• Ice hockey is Canada's official national game. The modern game of ice hockey was developed in Canada, based on games that have been played since the tenth century. The rules were first published in the Montreal Gazette in 1877

• North America's lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) at Snag, Yukon Territory, on February 3, 1947. (But it was a DRY cold!!)

• More Canadians inventions: kerosene, the electronic organ, insulin, the IMAX film system and the snowmobile.

• According to various polls on the matter Canada ranks anywhere from fourth to sixth as one of the best and happiest countries on Earth to live in. But we already knew that!

“As a people, we know what we can do, we know how to do it and we just want to get on with it. How? By ensuring that Canada’s place in the world is one of influence and pride,”-Paul Martin (1938- ) The 21st Prime Minister of Canada

A GUEST SEES MORE IN AN HOUR THAN A HOST SEES IN A YEAR


Summer officially started here in Saskatchewan on Wednesday June 20th at 5:09 p.m. CST. Coincidently, that was almost the exact moment when the rains stopped around here. After a completely rain-soaked spring, Environment Canada and the good Old Farmer’s Almanac are predicting a hot and dry summer here on the Prairies. I say bring it on. And, yes, I will now do my annual rant to all of you cold-weather, heat-hating Canadians who crank on the A/C and whine and whine about the heat as soon as the thermometer hits 20 degrees Celsius, or something; c’mon now, after being house-bound by winter and rain for the past too many months can’t we enjoy a few days of good ol’ hot weather to make up for it? Hmmm? Is that too much to ask?

Many factors have come in to play, the unfavourable weather being just one of them, as to why many of the “Honey Do” items have been put off and put off and put off around the Hubbard household over an extended period of time. My back issues were certainly a factor and according to the medical profession numbness and shooting pains in the shinbone aren’t THAT worrisome and if I’m not losing control of my bowels, or anything, which must be the standard or yardstick, if you will, that they use to measure how bad things are, then, you know, suck it up Buttercup, thing’s could be so much worse…blah, blah, blah…never mind, that’s a whole other story and it’s not really where I was headed with this column. Suffice it to say things have fallen a little behind around here so Deb and I booked a couple of days off in an effort to get some things done and maybe we can stroke some of these items off of the list before it swallows up our whole summer.

You know, it’s funny how you can walk by something every day and you don’t really take notice of what you are seeing. Take our house for instance. There was a green chain-link fence bordering the front of our property with the Town of Kipling’s sidewalk and it had been there for a long, long time and its best days passed a while ago so this fence removal has been on our job list for quite some time now. It was a struggle but the fence was removed and we couldn’t believe how much it improved the look of the place and of course it left us wondering why we hadn’t done this a long time ago. Ditto the front step. You walk up the stairs everyday with your mind on a hundred other things and you look but you don’t really see. It’s amazing how much some spit, polish and a bit of elbow grease can do when you put your mind to it.

In my mind, living in a ninety-three-year-old Main Street Saskatchewan heritage property comes with some added responsibilities and obligations. Sure, you have your own personal pride in your home and you want to make it nice, but there is also the added desire to pay homage to the original home builder and the families who have made this house their home, too, and it never hurts to take a step back and look at things from someone else’s perspective to really see what your looking at.

“A guest sees more in an hour than a host sees in a year,”-Polish Proverb.