Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hearing God Laugh

 There's a saying: If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.

The week beginning Dec 11 had an agenda that I was apparently unaware off. My plans including hanging out with Bryan and our friends Brian and Cheryl, two curling games, the Holiday Train and perhaps some baking.

The evening of Dec 10 threw those plans right out the window with a hearty HA! At a company Christmas party bowling event - during which there was not nearly as much drinking as circumstances might indicate - I mis-stepped whilst delivering a ball, fell awkwardly and severely strained my right knee. At the time it seemed a minor incident. At around 2 am I knew I was in trouble and the next morning (the Goldsmiths will vouch for me) the left knee was approximately twice the size as the right one. Pain? Oh yeah. Nimble dexterity? Zip. Nada. Zero.

Didn't curl Tuesday night. Did on Thursday, but delivering rocks with a 'stick' (if you don't know curling, I'll forgo the explanation other than to say one doesn't knee down into the hack to throw the rock). We lost, but it wasn't all my fault!

I haven't had a serious injury like this for a long time - I'm thinking when the cow beat me up during calving season about 13 years ago. The one that first came to mind, though, was a year or so before that. 

I had been doing chores, heading back to the house from the chicken coop with a  bucket filled with eggs. It was late spring; the yard was rutted from driving the tractor through soft spring mud and not yet disced level. I mis-stepped and tried to correct the fall, and in doing so wrenched my left foot either side of the instep, then fell heavily. The bucket was tossed up as I went down, and as I lay stunned on the ground, eggs rained down all around me but none hit me. 

I knew I was in trouble, but also knew I had a few minutes to get to the house (or try to) before the pain really kicked in. Made it, grabbed the phone and called Bryan (he wasn't worried, said what could he do? and I'd be fine), hobbled to the couch and passed out.

When I regained consciousness (in the immortal words of Sgt. Renfrew, CBC fans) the left foot was quite ugly. It was a few weeks before I was walking properly, and to this day if I do a lot of walking, the foot is achy on both sides.

Wednesday we did go to Salmon Arm to watch the CP Holiday Train roll into town. Not as long a train as last year but fun nonetheless. A bit cold, and so with Bryan's arthritic back and my damaged knee, we were quite the gimpy couple heading back to the truck.

http://holidaytrain.typepad.com

Upon our arrival home that night, what did appear? No, not Santa, but there was a delivery. Socket had four brand new little puppies in the kennel with her!


She was a bit nervous about allowing us near her little treasures, but we scooped them and her out of there to quickly switch out the soiled bedding and put in clean. Three girls and one boy (Bryan's initial assessment was all girls but a few days later Becca finally was allowed to check them out more thoroughly).  They've already doubled in size but their eyes won't be open for another few days.



Saturday was Bear Day at the office. The paper has a seasonal promotional that involves people buying $300+ from participating retailers, qualifying them for one of 50 limited edition Gund bears. I don't know how many years the promo has been going on but there are diehards out there - they start lining up at the door around midnight to get Bear #1 or whatever. There is also a draw from the 50 qualifiers for $500 cash.





As the rest of the community is getting totally wound-up for the Big Day, the office is winding down, our work for the seasonal madness now mostly done. Even the Boxing Day promos are already out.

I have no baking done. I have gifts purchased, even wrapped. Cards got mailed last week - something good came out of being laid up with a bum leg! And I'm totally fine with the state of things.

Merry Christmas to everyone. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Celestial Treat and Quick Review

Good morning, good morning! 

You'd think after the rousing grand time we had last night with Brian and Cheryl that I'd be bleary-eyed and a bit crabby, but no. I managed to moderate myself very well (I think Cheryl might be hurting, though) and was up at 5:30 (did you know if you type that with the 'caps' key locked, it looks like swear words?) as usual.

The extra treat was a perfect, absolutely perfect, view of an absolutely perfect total lunar eclipse. I don't have photos because I was driving to work, watching the eclipse in my rear view mirrors for the first 30 kms; wasn't until I turned north at O'Keefe Ranch that I got a good view of the event. When I pulled up to Tim Horton's for my morning coffee (Starbucks isn't open at 6:15 - go figure) the eclipse was complete. Clear sky, still above the horizon (and above the land line which can be tricky, living in the mountains) and just so ..... well, perfect.

I have a quiet morning at the moment. Got the first section of the paper (which is actually B section, but the first to the plate room and hence to the press) to Travis by 7 am, and it will be awhile before Graeme is in to finish the sports pages. All this is leading up to the fact that I have some 'down' time to finally get some writing done!

Recap of Recent Projects:

Baby Quilt
Check.

Mom Sarah is delighted with it. Young Declan, born Oct 29, has yet to render his opinion.

Watercolour Class
Check.

Last class was Nov 22 and much as I was exhausted come Tuesday morning with the late hour of said class, I truly enjoyed it and learned so much. And I miss my classmates!


This was a still life arrangement for my watercolour classs. I was excited about capturing the oyster shell in paint but it turned out to be a real bitch-kitty. I think it will be an on-going challenge.

LSAT
Check.

Preparing for the exam took up an extraordinary amount of my life, and yet I hardly looked at books the last few days - busy with work, curling, work, laundry and work. Was at TRU bright and early, felt a little foolish sitting amongst a group of undergrads most of whom are younger than at least one if not both of my children. However, when the exam administrator stood up to get things started, we were all equals in the face of the challenge.

Four and a half hours later, I felt good. That's no guarantee that I did good but the deed was done and all I can do is wait patiently (!!!) until January when our marks are announced. And meanwhile get my admission application papers in order and pray for some benevolent funding to descend.

Curling
Big check.

We're 7-1 for the season to date, with two games this coming week (lots of double-game weeks in our schedule this year). Our volunteer icemakers are doing a fabulous job this year and playing conditions are great. We commented on Thursday night that it's so much more fun playing smart instead of playing lucky (on iffy ice, even the best player is the fool of fate).


On Deck:

The CP Christmas Train
The most beautiful train in the world will be pulling into Salmon Arm on Dec. 14 (between curling games, thank goodness!) and so we are going with bells on. Meeting PK and Gary, taking in the event that signals the beginning of the Christmas season for me.

Puppies
Maybe it's hard to tell from this photo but that is one very pregnant little Jack Russell curled up in Becca's lap.

Socket had an illicit rendezvous with a studly Maltese while up north with Bryan. Ergo, puppies are expected on or about Dec. 23. 




Hannah Banana has a new home in Vernon with a family consisting of another Jack, a large dog of undeterminate breed and two young boys who absolutely adore her and mutually wear each other out. All in all, a good move. Socket has quieted down as an Only Dog (the heavy baby belly may also be a contributing factor) and is totally into being a Good Dog. We like it.


Val's Last Book Project
Publishing partner Val delivered her last manuscript to me a few weeks ago. I'm ashamed to say it's been languishing on the back burner (so to speak - it's actually been in my face on the kitchen side counter, glaring at me every time I glance that direction) while I cleared the deck of other projects (can you spell LSAT? of course you can). I've now created a home for it on my laptop and got the layout set up. Monday I'll sort through the photos, move the text onto the layout and begin work on the design. Piece o' cake ...... stay tuned for future temper outbursts..... Seriously, I want this off for proofing before the end of the month.



Quilts and other things Fabric
Yes, Juliette, your quilt is still on the list. I also have two large quilts to finish for a co-worker, tops inherited from her grandmother (yes, tugging the heartstrings with this one). One only needs to be bound around the outside (some church ladies quilted it already); the second is a remarkably complex pattern of Texas stars and tumbling blocks. But it will have to wait until Juliette's rebuild is done.

I have a backlog of other sewing projects I've been aching to get at: a Burda dress pattern that both excites me and intimidates me all to hell. I think I may consult with a sewing diva in Vernon before getting too far into it. Also have some shirts for Bryan and a wool-&-brocade top for me in the lineup.

Christmas Baking
I'm not ready for Christmas. I'm never ready for Christmas and yet it still arrives just fine. I am booking next weekend for baking, to at least get some gift boxes done.

So now, do you forgive me for being delinquent in posting? I've been thinking of you. Really!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Lights

We're putting up the outside Christmas lights.

One of the advantages of getting older is that sometimes, just sometimes, you do get a little smarter.




Like putting up the lights when there isn't any snow on the ground yet, it's daylight and not freakin' -30C.
 
I 'rescued' a whole big banana box of old-school outdoor lights from the transfer station last year (it's not called a 'dump' anymore because one's garbage is hauled to some other place). And there was also another banana box filled with fresh new replacement bulbs.
 
Score.
 
Anyway, I had visions of summertime parties with lights strung overhead like you see in pictures of places like Italy or when you go to East Side Mario's for supper.
 


Turns out they're darned good Christmas lights, too. Once the places where the mice ate through the plastic sheathing are fixed.

They came that way. We do not have mice. We have moles destroying the northeast corner of the yard but no mice.

The lights look just like this one:




but in an assortment of colours. The violet ones are my favs.

Bryan and I strung then through the fir trees on the fire department's lot right beside ours, best viewed through the large window beside our dining table. We'll do a 'test view' tonight but have resolved that they will not be regularly lit up until December.

And now, I sit here writing while the man fixes the small LED trees we've had for years which were mauled by the at-the-time very small Jack Russell puppies. Once the repairs have been done, installation of Christmas Lights - Part 2 will commence.

Wow. This is something like when I accidently got a college term paper done way before deadline. It felt so good I wondered why I'd never done it before. Of course, I didn't let it become a habit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trying to Fit Everything In

I seem to have overbooked my off time this month. A fall watercolour class I started in September has overlapped a busy curling season that kicked off last week. A wee quilt is taking longer than it should because it keeps getting preempted by studying for an exam I'm writing in early December.

Forget housework - I'm lucky to get my laundry caught up! And thankfully my husband arrived home from the north country, down (he says) for the winter, because otherwise I don't think I'd be eating proper suppers (nor have nice lunches of leftovers).




There is just so much I want to do in my life, it sometimes just all jumbles up on top of each other. Eventually things settle out, as will happen the first week of December.

Learning to paint watercolours has been on my 'life list' for a long, long time. I have just two more classes this month and then the fall session is finished.



I'm finding it works well with other activities, in fact benefits from other activities. When I'm studying or quilting, there is a saturation point when I have to set aside pencil or needle and do something else. Painting has become that something else.




And when I've got to a point in the painting where I need to step away before I do something I'll regret, I go back to reading or quilting. That goes fine and then I find my mind wandering back to the painting, either having thought of a solution to the problem or confident that the underwash is dry enough to proceed with the next piece.

All in all, a perfect scenerio for a multi-tasker.

Curling is finally underway and we're 3-0 so far. Going to be a busy season because our small league is  short one team. Lots of weeks in our schedule when we play both Tuesday and Thursday.




Not complaining, just noting that it's a good thing I've been going to the gym in the mornings. Otherwise I'd be hurting too much to move just now!




All I have left on Declan's quilt (yes, he arrived 2 weeks ago today) are two sides of the inside border. Then a quick trip through the washing machine to remove the marking chalk and bloodstains. (I'm sorry. I tend to leave little blood spots on the back of the quilt where my guide finger is perpetually poked.)




I'll finish the quilt today, get it washed with some other compatible items, and get back to studying while they swoosh in the water.

The studying? I'm writing a university entrance exam on Dec. 3. Yes, I know, and at my age, too.

December 4 will be a quiet little meltdown day.

Maybe I'll do some painting.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Airport Role Call

As I was sitting in Tegel's departure lounge on a Monday two weeks ago, upon learning of the flight delay I began fretting about connecting flights.

I don't mind flying. If I could afford the cushy seats up front instead of the cozy conditions of economy, I'd mind it even less. 

What does cause me moments of high anxiety is making the connecting flight with a very small piece of time in which to navigate an unfamiliar airport and more than likely another security scan (I just came off a flight for which I was security scanned, traversed a sterile concourse with no contact with the real world ... am I really a security risk? I mean, other than a towering rage should I miss my next flight) when that flight is the middle in a series of connecting flights.


My heart plummets to my shoes when I enter a concourse, look at the flight board to find my next gate and read the word: GATE CLOSED.



My Sudoku puzzles weren't easing my anxiety at that moment so I started thinking about Frankfurt International and wondering if I'd have to sprint through unfamiliar territory, and it got me to thinking about other airports I've sprinted through. Although not a globe-trotter by any stretch of the imagination, I was surprised at the tally.

Calgary
Edmonton, Internation and Municipal (where the north fence running parallel to Kingsway is bent from the tails of the planes pushing against it trying to get enough runway for take-off ... or so the story goes)
Grande Prairie
Peace River
Fort St. John
Winnipeg
Toronto: pre- & post-Pearson
Montreal: pre-P.E. Trudeau
Vancouver
San Francisco - and if I never go there again it will be too soon
San Diego
Los Angeles : Terminal 2 & Tom Bradley Int'l
Houston: Geo. Bush Intercontinental, just two months after 9-11 & full of military type guys bristling with automatic weaponry, very unsettling
Chicago O'Hare - at that time the busiest airport in the world


Hawai'i
Sydney
Heathrow
Munich
                  - grouped together because although I passed through these ports not once did my feet touch the soil of those countries (or city in the case of Munich). Kind of bizarre when you think of being to a country without actually being to the country, if you know what I mean.


Palmerston North
New Plymouth
Berlin - Tegel, which will cease to exist very soon after which travel will be via Schoenefeld
Frankfurt

Glancing at today's blog roll to the right, I see the Yarn Harlot is in (or just travelled through) Chicago.

May the Force be with you.

PS My brother pointed out I missed Kelowna and Kamloops. The two closest airports and most current 'home bases.' Figures.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Holiday Recap

I'm home. It was a wonderful week in Germany with Claudia & Chris, Valentin & Leopold. It's good to be home, too, although I haven't seen much of it yet.

Arrived home 8pm Tuesday night, called Bryan to say I was back on land at home, then crawled into bed. Up at 5:30am and on the way to work by 6 to tackle the snowdrift of work at my desk.

Basically I've been at work or asleep at home for the last three days.

The Flight of Discontent notwithstanding, this is why I went and it was well worth it:


Got to see the new house, which is delightful so long as you don't mind living very close to your neighbours:


About the only photos I got of Chris were during a family soccer match in the back yard one day.


We did some of the 'tourist' things that warm the cockles of my heart. On route to the Museum of Natural History (the boys love that place, full of enormous dinosaur skeletons) Chris took a little detour to show me this interesting  spot:


This is one of the last remaining guard towers in Berlin, where the GDR soldiers kept watch over the Berlin Wall for anyone trying to cross it - in or out. It's in a tucked-away spot, not hidden but not on the beaten track most tourists would see. There are many spots like this that usually only the locals know about.

I wanted to get to an art gallery or two, but it didn't work out that way. There is a Rennaisance Masters exhibit at the Bode Museum - only to be shown in Berlin and New York. Claudi and I went down to Museum Island early in the morning - at 9am the line-up for tickets (not into the museum but just to buy the tickets to get into the museum!!!) was over 1 km long.

So while Claudi went for coffee with a girlfriend, I tackled the Berlin Cathedral.


Like so many of its sisters, the interior is almost overwhelming. The organist was working his magic on this instrument when I entered:


I'd love to get some time on the keyboard.

And the altar is stunning:


as is the sanctuary ceiling:


It takes a good two hours to tour the Dom if you're so inclined. There is a museum on the mezzanine and catacombs below (both fascinating and creepy with it's 98 coffins & sarcophagae). My goal was to climb the 270 or so steps up to the walkway. If you look at the first picture of the church (or go online) you'll see a railing just around the bottom of the copper cupola. That's the walkway.

Keeping watch over the city all around the dome are angels and cherubs with a variety of musical instruments and song sheets:


I love this juxaposition of very old and futuristic - the TV Tower in the background.

The angels and cherubs have lots of patches on them. Bomb damage from WWII. It's a miracle the church is even there. Truth be told, the ol' girl's had many face lifts over the years.


Looking over Museum Island. The Bode is the black domed roof in the middle back. The River Spree can be seen on the right - it splits and rejoins, creating the island.


Berlin - northern Germany - is flat, flat, flat all the way up to Denmark and over to the Netherlands. The view is filled with church spires and red roofs.


A taste of the steps up to the walkway, or a set of them. And these are generous in size and depth compared to some tower steps I've climbed, including the next day in Erfurt.


Yes, I have more photos but I also need to do some laundry (heck, unpack my bag!), take a walk to get re-aquainted with my garden, and just get caught up at home.


Theres's a good panoramic photo of the sanctuary and more information about the church at this site:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Cathedral

And this one for the Bode:
www.berlin.de/orte/museum/bode-museum/index.en.php

And the show I missed:
english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/news_europe/2011-08-25/renaissance-art-exhibit-kicks-off-in-berlin-germany-.html

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stuck in Frankfurt

I will not be home on Thanksgiving Day. I am still in Germany. Frankfurt to be precise.

Me and a few thousand other flyers. So much for getting home in one day.

Errrggg.

Apparently the ground crews - baggage handlers - whoever gets the planes moving through the airports have gone on strike, or are about to go on strike and are on slow-down, throughout Germany.

Whatever. Standing in line with a few hundred other tired, frustrated travelers for two hours trying to get another flight home was not my idea of a good time. The Lufthansa ladies did their very best under extremely trying circumstances and I have an early flight out tomorrow morning.

It was kind of interesting being in the midst of Italians: one from Italy, one a landed American and the third from Brazil but raised in Switzerland and traveling to a new job in Mexico. Gotta love it.

The bus from the airport to the hotel we're staying at was full of Norwegians, Canadians and the crazy Italian lady who lives in San Francisco. There's a lady from Ottawa on the other computer here in the business room writing to her family explaining what's up, on her way home from a holiday in Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and places in between.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It´s a beautiful autumn day, a perfect Thanksgiving Day. And I´m in a country that doesn´t even celebrate the occasion!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone in Canada from Germany. Tomorrow while you are enjoying turkey and pumpkin pie, I will be winging my way across the Atlantic back to BC and believe it or not, directly back to work Tuesday morning.

At least I´ll be back working with a familiar kezb0ard! Have I told zou about how frustrating it is to have a kezbboard in a different languarge# Half the kezs arenät where thez should be ... especiallz the letter Y. YYYYYYYY and the apostrophe kez #######

At least one can be consoled by the absolutely perfect chocolate and kuchen. (I think I´ve gained 20 lbs -sshhhhhh!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clippings in Envelopes

A newspaper clipping landed on my desk this morning. One of our clients annotated it with changes he wants made to it for the next issue.



I had a flashback moment. My paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother were both great ones for tucking newspaper clippings into their letters. Grandma especially would sometimes have the envelop bulging with all sorts of interesting or informative excerpts. A few were mystery clippings - not quite sure why they were there, what the intended message was.

My favorite - and I have no idea if it still lurks in my boxes of Stuff To Be Dealt With Someday - was included in a letter from her shortly after our son was born. 


 The title of the article was "Father looks for second job" and was about a young couple down in the Smoky Mountains or Appalachian country of the US, both 18 or 19 years old. She had given birth to twins, and 11 months later delivered of triplets. I found it quite amusing although I'm still not sure why she sent it. Perhaps just for the amusement. Maybe to discourage me from complaint about the soreness following a difficult delivery of my first-born. Who knows.



I sometimes get newspaper clippings from friends when I get snail mail. Not much of either lately, though, so much of my correspondence taking place on-line.


An attachment isn't quite the same.





I miss newspaper clippings stuffed into letters.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When Dairy Farmers Retire


I attended Olds College. From the first day of classes to this very moment in time, my life has been a strange mix of Mennonites and dairy farmers. An unholy mix if you consider I was raised on a cattle ranch and bore a Scottish surname. Time has blurred those battle lines!

Last weekend one of those elements came full circle when a Mennonite dairy farmer friend and former OC classmate from Chilliwack sold the last of his cows and the family pulled off a surprise retirement party.


Cultus Lake

We were, in fact, the decoys getting Allen out of the yard Sunday morning so the family and friends could do their magic getting the party tents and such set up. After a lovely breakfast at Cookies Grill, we took the looooooong way to Cultus Lake for a look-around. Truth be told, we hadn't ever been there. Barbie was driving so Allen and Bryan visited in the back of the Denali while we sauntered around the countryside.



Allen in the Captain's hat, honoree of the afternoon, with his uncle and aunt.

We arrived back at the farm before most of the guests because there just wasn't any more excuse to loiter around the valley. The band was warming up, the caterers had commandeered the kitchen and the kids were still tweaking the decorations. Still, Allen was surprised (or did a good job of appearing so).

The ultimate dairy farmer retirement cake!
 One of the highlights was the appearance of two former OC classmates - Rei and Sally. I hadn't seen them since we graduated in ... well, a few years and a grandchild or two ago.


The Three Piece Combo (name unknown- sorry!) provided a wonderful atmosphere to the afternoon gala.
Excellent spread (still in progress here) by Cookies Grill.
Note the Hawai'ian theme.
Allen's parents were there with many friends and family.
Barbie (red hair, green lei) 
Kids always add a fun element to an essentially-adult event. 
You can put the farm girl in Sunday School clothes but you can't keep her off the tractor.
.

There are no photos from that portion of the event - wine, cameraitis and brisk conversation took over.



Allen, his oldest grandson and the grandson's other grandmother.
The local vet stopped by, drawn by the sight of all the vehicles in the yard, sat down with the OC reunion contingent and we learned his sister had also been in our class! Sally and Bryan became instant best friends over a bottle of wine (not everyone there was Mennonite!) and we exchanged contact information. And if you're reading this ladies, it was a hoot and we'll keep in touch!

It was a quick trip there and back but well worth it. Well Done! Barbie, Cathy-Ann, Dan & Jennifer, Eric and Felice.

Aloha!











Saturday, September 3, 2011

Forest Fires, Bears and Biking

So, I get a phone call from my husband at 3pm or so on Thursday afternoon while I'm at work.

"I think we might get burned out."

Pardon me?

"There's smoke so thick here in town, I can't see any other houses around us. Went to go look and everything around Falkland Ranch is on fire."

Oh.


Choppers shuttling from the Salmon River to dump water on the fire.

Are you grabbing a get-away kit?

"I have the dogs. What else would I need?"

Hmm. That about sums it up. Maybe my laptop. And my passport - fire or no fire, I'm still going to visit Claudia in October!


Turns out a major windstorm blowing from the west through the valley dropped a tree on a transmission line, triggering a fire in optimum conditions: tinder and overgrown undercover, +30C temperatures for two weeks with no precip, high winds & steep terrain.

The fire west of town, around 7 pm.

The fire was immediately west of Falkland. Once the water bombers and Initial Attack crews were on the scene, the town wasn't in serious danger.


Bomber dumping fire retardant onto the fire - Daniel Hayduk photo

I used to drive wildfire fighters out to fire lines in northern Alberta. I lived in an area prone to forest fires for 25 years. We had careless neighbours who scared us with their land-clearing burning practices, and came close to disaster when a spring burn we and neighbours conducted led to a ground fire that travelled into an overgrown road allowance, burst into fire two weeks after the initial burn and moved rapidly towards our homestead.

I have never truly overcome my primordial fear of fire.


Falkland Fire Department worked on the fire -
Daniel Hayduk photo

There are still hot spots smoldering away. Crews will be there for several days yet I imagine, digging them out.


Daniel Hayduk photo


In other news:

Last weekend Bryan and I went to Nakusp to visit friend David, who was attending an event involving adventure touring motorcyclists. It turned into our own little adventure tour.

As usual, Bryan had the Girls in their kennel on the back of the Triumph (I'll have to get a photo of that some day). It was early afternoon before we left home, so around 4 pm or so when we stopped at Gold Panner Campground east of Cherryville for an iced tea.

Further on down the highway, about 15 km or so east of the Monashee summit, Bryan discovered his back tire was going flat! Something in the gravelled parking area must have punctured the tire.

It was getting late, we were a long way from anything. After a discussion, he took my bike and headed to Nakusp, intending to get help from David.

Socket, Hannah and I waited at the pull-out area alongside the highway.

It was warm but we were in the shade ... along with a healthy population of mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums. We walked, we talked, they snoozed in the kennel and I worked puzzles in the little sudoku book I take on road trips.

Twilight moved in. The cows grazing along the transmission line cutline called to their calves.

I tried to expunge the brain cootie that had been haunting me all day - Dean Martin singing "That's Amore." It was playing on the radio when I drove into work early that morning and stuck in firmly for a long visit.

I used to like watching ol' Deano on his television show but can't say I was all that happy about him settling down with his martini and cigarette in my brain. And of course the more you try to not think about something, the more you do.

And then the neighbourhood black bear made his/her presence known, crashing around in the bush down the embankment. Seeing as I was already a bit grouchy what with Dean Martin haunting me and various voracious insects eating me, this was the last straw.

I cussed out that bear. Everyone knows black bears have a low tolerance for profanity. The noise paused; I could hear ursine mental gears shifting. The noise resumed and I swore again, louder and cruder. The noise stopped. I can only assume the bear was shocked and dismayed at my behaviour, because shortly thereafter my knight in a black pick-up arrived.

It was well and truly dark when we got to the Needles ferry, past hope of a meal at the hotel when we arrived in Nakusp at 10 pm.

Bryan had acquired a room in the attic of the Leland Hotel. Now there's an experience. I'd been in rooms on every floor of that venerable old structure except the attic. Thank goodness for mornings at the gym because that third and last flight of stairs is STEEP. Still, the old hotel is 114 years old so quirks should be expected.

Breakfast with David and friends was a nice leisurely affair. Wish we could have had more time but they were off for Calgary as soon as they were satisfied we'd be OK.

Bryan found a rescue wagon through AMA and once again in just over a year, I found myself riding my motorcycle behind a minivan rescuing my husband from a road incident - different bike, different country, but still .......

We got back to the abandoned motorcycle. Bryan repaired the tire and filled it from the compressed air tank the road assistant guy brought along. He went back to Nakusp, we returned to Falkland.

You'll notice there are no photos of the Nakusp ride.

Lessons learned:

1. Always carry the tire plug kit on the bike. It doesn't do much good in the garage 200 km away.

2. Jack Russells have the potential to choke a bear, discouraging further attack, but only to be used in extreme emergency. Growling Jack Russells are less useful.

3.

Apparently there is nothing else to be learned from this experience.