Migration Report, Canada Goose Great Lakes Chapter 4456321a, Nov. 2016


Sarnia Empty: Congratulations, Everyone!

Dear Fellow Geese,

HONK!

HONK! HONK HONK HONK HONK!

HONK. HonkHonkHonk, HONK, Honk. 

Except Bob.

Enjoy the trip. See you next year!

Thor. His Day. Musing on eternal beauty.

Saw a few crows having discussions with a big red tailed hawk about what might have been disagreements about advantageous positions in a particularly large bare tree on the edge of the Blackwell Pond up by the leash-free dog field today. The tallest one, almost smack dab in the middle of this photograph. 

The winds were coming in from the south in a strong, almost unfriendly breeze, punctuated by punchy gusts that were throwing surprised geese into ungainly manoeuvres as they tried to swerve and swirl in for pond-top landings.

Two tiny, flitting birds of a sort I do not know gave up heading across the dog field, and stuck with the trees at the pond edge. I hope they’re headed south and get there soon. They were so tiny and so beautiful: soft brown-gray and gray-yellow is all I could see, and all I could think of is “Some people look for alien life, but who knows all of what is here?!” They twitted and chirped to each other. They stuck together. They were in it for the long haul.

No people but me. No other dogs. Sky, pond, geese, for the most part. Wind pushing me up against the fence, elbows on the top wire. Listening to the world spin, spin.
Hours later, in the early supper time dark, here I am: dog fed, cat nestled against me, twinkling lights along both sides of the river, mild air.
I’ve got the Roku player, so Netflix and YouTube. I’ve got my free from the mail room community papers, and all the ads. For intelligence and infiltration, so to speak, and wrapping coffee grounds all week. 
I’ve got that sky, and that air, and that pond scene, and am amazed and overjoyed that all those years of working and the fortunate circumstances that overtook me brought me here, and now.
Think about those little birds. Wish them home, sweet, home.

BUNNY RABBITS!!!! (Maintaining mental acuity in retirement.)


Six-oh-four a.m. is a little early for most, and late for some, but it is the time I rolled out of bed this morning to a tail-wagging, front-leg-hopping, let’s-go-walking dog.

He’s happier every day about our new accommodations, and I am proud of him for making the effort to cope.

The elevator was all ours. Joy all around.

The eastern sky, dark, showed a blanket of cloud disappearing southward, and feathery wisps high in the southwest revealed the bright, waning, “supermoon”. It’s always a little damp around here, but it was the start of a promisingly pleasant day.

Down to the river walk we went. Me, trying to keep Espresso walking fast enough that I could say I’d exercised, and he, trying to sniff out the notes and scents of previous perambulators, the better to construct the complex totality of all the life and activity in this small patch of our teeming earth.

Too early today for geese, terns, gulls of any kind. Just grumpy ducks, unhappy to have to swim away from the path wall, in case of jumping, fowl-retrieving, water dog. Which Espresso is definitely not.

And then, after we crossed the railway tracks to come home, just past an art installation I call “Tetanus and her little sister, Lockjaw,” A BUNNY RABBIT! I stage-whispered it aloud, “Bunny rabbit!” as if Espresso was mentally dim, or hadn’t smelled it or seen it perhaps five minutes previously.

Please understand that Espresso has never, prior to seeing a rabbit in the same spot two weeks ago, evinced any interest whatsoever in chasing anything. But he wants to chase this little rabbit. Very, very much. He’s also good enough to sit and watch a small rabbit watching us. For a while. With just a quiver now and then, in anticipation of a run that never happens. Until a second set of ears pops up, giving the word, I guess, and suddenly two cotton-ball bottoms bounce and ping off into the shrubbery, whereupon Espresso forgets the leash for a second and gets himself yanked slightly.

Life is full of small disappointments. But then we get home and have breakfast!

The Eastern Cottontail rabbit is pictured here, thanks to Google Images. It really has a cotton-ball-like tail, and in the dark, the tail is a funny thing to watch, hopping away. A hopping beacon, in fact, for eyes attached to carnivorous teeth desiring meat. An odd evolutionary adornment, but not as disastrous as one might think. Because there they were.

Think about this: bunny rabbits. The two words sit together, comically I think, for an adult utterance. I worry that this sounds too close to “yummy,” a word used incessantly by some of my former workmates and beginner-level adult English language learners. A word I detested and continue to detest beyond any kind of rational explanation, and for which I find more accurate and precise synonyms: tasty, flavourful, sweet, spicy, hot, aromatic, tangy, cool, refreshing, gloriously delicious.

Which I hope those two Eastern Cottontails will never be. Long may they live and prosper. Ditto luscious and evocative synonyms. For the interior eye, and the well-oiled, happy humming of the active, engaged, intelligent, aging brain.

Pickup Trucks: a Guide to Small Town Vehicles (especially for Jennifer)


I’ve been away from Toronto for two months now, and would like to finish a report on vehicular transport that I began for my friends when I arrived in my new home.

Pickup trucks: they’re everywhere. When I walk Espresso in the morning, before the 7:00 a.m. shift for a lot of people, there can be nine trucks at a single stoplight, and maybe three SUVs, one Jeep, and two cars. The most popular models have crew cabs, which makes almost all of them a four-door truck. The deluxe models, I guess, are the extended crew cabs, where all four doors are big, for ease of entry into the back seat. Some extended cabs have narrower passenger doors, and I suspect these are for kids rather than crew. Some trucks have only two doors, so the kids in the back seats are small, or only theoretical. There are “regular” two-door pickup trucks to be seen on occasion, but not as many as you’d think.

Around here, the extended crew cab pickup is the equivalent of a city minivan, perhaps.

The piece de resistance in a pickup seems to be the oversized tire, double back wheel, diesel extended cab with extra long cargo bed. The one I saw this morning had sci-fi piping around and over the cab. VROOMBLE ROOMBLE. Yes. We can hear you. Accelerate wildly out of the 7-11 and wake everybody up!


Obviously, from the advertised price, these monsters are attractive options in a place where the snow closes Highway 402 regularly.

What I don’t understand, even in a petroleum processing town, is the propensity to idle these vehicles. To leave them running. To leave the keys in them and leave them running. Outside the Christina Coffee and More. Outside Walmart. I’ve seen this four times. It’s unbelievable! Do the drivers not pay for gasoline? Is it sloshed on them or doled out in barrels when they leave work at one of the refineries? Doesn’t anybody steal trucks around here? What about the goddamned environment?!? I’m breathing this air!

This morning, the Toronto Star supplied me with two appropriate photographs, and they got me thinking: polar bears should steal idling pickup trucks from small town parking lots! They could ransom them for World Wildlife Fund donations. It’d be a win-win situation.

If you think this is an impossible publicity opportunity, you have missed an entire U.S. election. 

End of report.

Next time from smaller town Ontario: Incredible invention now in every car and truck signals your intention to turn! AND IT’S FREE!

17 Things About the Tr*mp Presidency, on November 9, 2016

1. I’m Canadian. It was eggs or oatmeal for breakfast this morning, and I chose eggs. Celebratory scrambled eggs. Calm joy surrounds me this morning, simply because I am not an American.

2. There ain’t no end to stupid. Wait and see.

3. Empires fall. Sometimes they fall because a stupid, nasty clown isn’t stopped in time. Clowns draw more clowns to them. Sadly, some clowns are marauding Orcs. Sometimes even Orc-infested empires rebound and get back to business and shake off the interruption. Sometimes.

4. Russia (Vladimir Putin) is happy, because Donald Tr*mp is such a bumptious unsophisticate.

5. China is happier. They, apparently, hold Donald’s loans. No telling what he’ll do for them now.

6. “No new taxes. Read my lips.” You reap what you sow. Hey, Congress. You reap. Reap, reap.

7. This is what happens when you deregulate banking. This is what happens when you let bankers bet on bets and compete to bet on those bets, and don’t jail anybody for the thefts and resulting economic crashes.

7a. Money, celebrity, celebrity, money. Fluff. What IS the cost of a pound of butter?

8. My antidepressant medications, in combination, are marvellous. I’m taking Citalopram and a generic Wellbutrin (bupropion?) in combination, and for the first time in my life, I feel like myself, unshadowed. Since January! I checked the American election results when I woke up at 6:15 this morning, and said, “Huh.” If you are carrying anxiety and/or depression, don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up – it could take YEARS AND YEARS – until you can acknowledge Donald Tr*mp actually has a job now, and that job is to replace Barack Obama, and you don’t throw up.

9. Some Americans have a nasty, nasty side. The entire world has known this forever. Now we see the blatant hate of a lot of ordinary, small people, and for absolutely no reason except fear of the unknown, and fear of loss of privilege many of them have never really had. If you’re African-American, Latino or Latina, Asian, not “Christian”, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ, First Nations, environmentalist, educated, liberal, erudite, travelled, working for the common good, or – oh, ho! – an injured war vet, elderly, ill, or THE WORST THING EVER, a “less than 10” woman, you’ve got your job cut out for you for at least four years. Amazingly, the suffering Tr*mp supporters have inflicted on themselves may be a good thing in the long run.

10. All that money Americans didn’t spend on education will be spent settling lawsuits later.

11. Many so-called “banana republics” have many lovely, hard-working, kind, middle-class people who are educated and dedicated to “lifting everyone’s boat”. Those of you who hoped Hillary Clinton would be your President are now those people. The world knows you’re there. Fix this mess.

12. All hail, the Free Press! Journalists, your prospects have changed. The opportunities that have arisen overnight could revolutionize news. Do your jobs. Report, illustrate, show, draw, satirize, accuse, prove, and prosecute. Leave no stone unturned. Light! Information! Awareness! Work! Change for good! Otherwise: Turkey. (There are great journalists in Turkey. Many of them are in horrible jails. Ditto, Iran. Don’t get me going, the geography is unending. In Russia, they’re dead.)(Don’t mention China. They’re holding Donald’s loans.) Journalists! We expect investigative reports indicting these recently elected liars and criminals IMMEDIATELY. 

12a.I confess to knowing nothing about Keith OLBERMANN prior to his GQ “The Closer” broadcasts, which I have watched with awe and admiration over the last two months on YouTube. I want to see a lot more of that, from a lot more news sources. Unabashed, logical, heartfelt truths. Spoken out loud, accusatorily, in expectation of an intelligent (however unlikely) response. There must be backlash against people who wear “Killary” tee shirts, and are happy a grotesque pussy-grabber is entrusted with the highest political office in your land. 

13. A Toronto Star reporter, Danial Dale, recently numerated most of Tr*mp’s “mistruths”. That word makes me sad.

14. I used to live in Toronto. Rob Ford is dead now, and his Mayorlty long gone. Toronto survived. 

15. Germany survived. Maybe America needs to be that embarrassed, but why endure the costs?

16. Jesus, the mythological, weeps. Maybe. The American Tr*mp Jesus is in a solid gold bed with a pile of coke and a couple of underage wh-

Wait a minute!

Jesus, the real guy, whatever his real name was, never voted, and he’s dead so we can’t ask him what he thinks, BUT he was a Jew and he didn’t like the rich much. Hmmmn.

17. This OxyContin/fentanyl thing may just sort itself out whe Tr*mp voters find out their lives and their economic prospects just got worse.

Of course that is heartless. Did anyone ever say the orange sociopath was kind?

17a. Bourgeois Americans, or any Americans with stuff that can be stolen by drug addicts, ought to be afraid. Health care, such as it is, is probably going to be dismantled for the underclasses.

18. I am a kind of alien. I’m not an imposter, like Tr*mp, because I’ve earned my social, educational and economic status, such as it is. But I originate, in part, from people very similar to Tr*mp supporters, and I can tell you now, you middle-class Americans, you are probably in for a load of shock after shock after shock. You thought “pussy” was vulgar? You’ve just turned the kitchen light on four kinds of cockroaches, flea-laden mice and cupboards full of plague-carrying rats. And the smell?!? The garbage? The shit? This man, this person who will sit in the White House, his supporters have WON. These are the kinds of folks who are going to beat you with that information.

19. Four years only, please. The whole world, and many of your fellow Americans, hope four years is enough.

20. Jesse Jackson wasn’t the man. Barack Obama was the man. Hillary Clinton wasn’t the woman. Someone will be the woman. Yes, she will.

21. I lied. What are you going to do about it?

The Semi-Retired Person’s Guide to Patience In or Near Monster Machines!!!!!

Just desserts

The plan is this: quick walk around the block between 4 and 5 p.m., then supper for both of us.

Here’s how it went:

1. Nice walk to the elevator. Pressed button. Dog sat beautifully. Door opened.

2. HUGE MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR MONSTER SCOOTER THINGY WITH A BIG OLD GUY IN IT GOT OUT!!  

3. Dog* peed extensively, while trembling visibly, on cold, tiled floor.

(*names have been altered or changed to protect the innocent victims of MONSTER WHEELCHAIR SCOOTER THINGYS!)

4. Walk back to apartment with dog. Collect first available towel and spray bottle of ReSolve.

5. Walk back to elevator with dog. Ask dog to sit nicely. Spray floor. Wipe up spray and pee with fine towel, using right foot for most of the operation.

6. Walk back to apartment. Ask dog to sit nicely. Dump stinky towel and spray bottle in bathroom sink. Leave apartment.

7. Nice walk to the elevator. Press buttton. Utter every prayer an atheist can think of. Enter elevator with dog, even though THERE IS A MAN IN IT.

8. Skitter out of the elevator, through the lobby, out the door, and 

9. JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH! A MEDIUM MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR MONSTER SCOOTER THINGY WITH A BIG OLD GUY IN IT IS COMING OUR WAY!!!

10. Veer.

11. Dog pees. (Nice to know he tried to hold it upstairs.)

12. Pleasant walk around block. Return to outside the front door where the man that was in the elevator is talking to THE FELLOW IN THE MEDIUM MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR MONSTER SCOOTER THINGY.

13. Veer.

14. Wait for elevator, ‘way back away from the doors. Get home after letting the two guys go up without us.

Total time: 37 minutes.

Supper: I haven’t eaten yet. I have to concentrate on being calm, and patient.

I have to be happy he doesn’t have accidents everywhere, every day.

I don’t know what he sees. If it were a 100-kilo spider on wheels, I’d pee, too.

We live in a large building, with many seniors, many of whom have canes, walkers, and MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR MONSTER SCOOTER THINGYS. They’re really nice people.

What’s your dog mortally afraid of?