Tuesday 31 May 2011

Motorcycling around the province

Greg Friese, US-based EMS trainer, geek deluxe, mentioned a bike ride he took.

Greg Friese,
Elearning designer, writer, podcaster, blogger, presenter and paramedic.
Podcast: Interview with Living and Dying with Dignity author Jennifer Jilks

This prompted a photopost of motorcycles. I have several photos in my collection. I like my drive-by shootings!
Most drive better than those in cars, who figure that driving rules are suspended in cottage country!

We get a lot of people riding bikes, more women than I noticed.

There is freedom in the ride.
Camaraderie, too.

I love how they line them all up! LCBO, Bala

This is the road where 3 drove drunk, into the water to their deaths.

All seasons!

 When we took a trip north to Lake Superior Park I noticed a lot of happy people tripping.
Note her licence plate! 'Delish'
The sheer distances mean bicycling is out of the question!

SE Ontario

Gravenhurst OPP

Bala trippers

Monday 30 May 2011

Pond and meadow

 Yesterday I sat on the lawn tractor for a couple of hours, merrily cutting the grass.
An hour before this, I was clearing some brush off of the upper lawn, when I spotted a wee brown bunny hunkering down. I picked up Thumper and JB gave me the camera.
Photo is below! I warned Thumper that Oliver is a wicked boy and ate a rabbit last fall.
Putting it down in the forest, where I saw momma lope off, I hoped the lesson was heard.
Indeed it was. I drove the tractor down to the lower meadow (Lot #2!) and as I headed to the far end, Thumper went running, hell bent for election into the forest. You can see my figure eights as I returned back to this end of the meadow, another bunny was leaping for glory in the tall grasses.

bog buffer zone
The forest canopy is beautiful All winter the forest has been bright with sunlight shining and reflecting off of the snow. Now the rich emerald greens of the fern smile towards the sun, while the crunchy dead leaves absorb any light that passes through.

Fungus and moss grow on dead elm stumps (Dutch Elm Disease), punctuating the forest floor, adding a spot of colour and fuzzy texture.

Then there is the frog pond.
Tall grasses that took root and live on the dead leaves ,which floated to the bottom in fall. Underneath this muck is a lovely layer of clay on top of the limestone. It is shallow soil in Lanark. With ponds everywhere. My pond empties into the wetland bog, a provincially protected place, surrounded by a buffer zone that is similarly protected.

There is lots of frog and bug action. But my favourite plant is this floating lily pad. Eventually, it covers the entire surface of the pond. From the satellite images it simply looks like land.

We have green frogs and bullfrogs, tons of tadpoles and frog's eggs abound. The sound of the tree frogs dominate right now. A regular cacophony in the evening. I've been trying to photograph the action on the top of the pond, but have failed so far, as you can see!
Lots of action - tadpoles, bugs

Sunday 29 May 2011

Yoga in prisons -Hudak puts his foot in it

Tim Hudak, leader of the provincial opposition party, Conservative, 'get tough on crime', headline grabber. Crime is down. Inmate violence and issue in prisons are up, so says someone I know who has been there, with anger, violence a result of crowded conditions.
Many, many people volunteer with those incarcerated. They ensure that they safely attend church, participate in AA meetings, learn life skills, learn who to read and write.

Volunteer reception: Community Home Support

In fact, cooking classes, and creative writing classes are offered by volunteers hoping to change a life, and save others. I taught creative writing to minimum security inmates, a great way to improve writing skills for men who may not have had a great foundation in education. It is no cake walk.

We know the benefits of yoga. Those who VOLUNTEER to deliver these services are pretty upset. Fearmongering in the name of gaining voters is appalling. 

For more info see:

CTV news clip - Tim Hudak's comments in parliament April 13
The Toronto Star - Other prison perks in Ontario : Yoga, cooking classes
CBC News (from The Canadian Press) - Premium TV in prisons decried by Ont. Tories

A correction in response to Tim Hudak’s comments in Parliament on April 13th 
From Freeing the Human Spirit
April 15, 2011, Toronto :

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Freeing the Human Spirit (FTHS), the many volunteer instructors who deliver our programs, and our generous donors who support our work, we would like to clarify that FTHS is a voluntary program delivered in 23 Canadian correctional institutions at no cost to the federal or provincial governments. In addition, FTHS receives no funding nor is it granted any financial support from any level of government. Our yoga and meditation instruction to inmates is made possible entirely by the contributions of individual donors and private foundations and by the dedicated effort of more than 100 volunteers who teach over 600 classes each year.

Like scared rabbits
Freeing the Human Spirit is a not-for-profit Canadian registered charity. Our founder is Sister Elaine MacInnes, an 87 year old Catholic nun and Zen Roshi who has devoted much of her life to helping the incarcerated. Sister Elaine initiated the Canadian prison program in 2004, modelling it after The Prison Phoenix Trust in England where she served as Executive Director. She was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her work.

Sister Elaine MacInnes, Founder and Board President
Lynda Myler, Board Chair

Cheryl Vanderburg, Program Coordinator


Saturday 28 May 2011

Another death in Afghanistan

Bombardier Karl Manning became the 156th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan and the second to be killed in 2011.

He died in a non-combat incident. 
I hope the military will be forthcoming for the family. Cover-ups help no one. While 'blame' solves nothing, this type of thing must be learned from to prevent or help others.

This case (Grieving mother -  below) is as tragic. We know so much more about PTSD, having learned it during Vietnam, and understanding that it applies to many in many situations: rape, accidents, incidents, emotional trauma may last a long time. 

 mother's public pleas over death of soldier son win ...

29 Oct 2010 ... Langridge, 28, served in Afghanistan and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. ... And she outlined a string of mistakes that added to the family's ... stinging of all, withholding his suicide note for 14 months.

My aunt and father

WW II soldiers - from my late mother's album
PTSD and Older Veterans | Psych Central

12 Dec 2006 ... PTSD and Older Veterans. By National Center for PTSD ... the impact of war trauma for veterans of the Vietnam war and the Persian Gulf war, ... For most World War II veterans, those memories still can be upsetting.

Evolution of Shell Shock to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What was so unusual was the large numbers of veterans being affected after Vietnam. The pattern of neuropsychiatric disorder for combatants of World War II.

Critical Incident Stress Intervention[PDF](Toronto Police)

The critical incident: concepts and interventions comprises a range of crisis intervention services that usually include pre-crisis training, individual crisis counseling, group debriefing, and postincident referral for primary and secondary victims. CISM is utilized to address the aftermath of violent acts, and has evolved from earlier crisis intervention and group psychological debriefing procedures. These approaches have been used throughout the world, and CISM is emerging as a standard of care.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Services - Employee ...

31 Aug 2007 ... Description of the services offered by the Employee Assistance Services (Health Canada) through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Thursday 26 May 2011

Tornadoes- what do we know?

skywatchSkywatch Friday
Yes, we watch the skies.

I know that while we've had recent hurricane-like weather in Ontario, it is bad in the mid-US.

Five F5s (the worst) a year in Tornado Alley is normal, with 1300 tornados a year being average.

They only kept stats since 1925, when there were 800 dead.

The truth is: hot wet, cold dry, systems meet and cause these storms. They are predictable, May/June, for example, but unpredictable when they will touch down.
Aug. 2009

Those who watch them- do not see trends.
Dec., 2008
I'm glad to be living away from such, although we've had enough winds to keep us on our toes.

I've been in Muskoka hurricanes, and they aren't any fun. This devastation makes me grateful to live in North America, with infrastructure, EMS crews, Hydro teams who work hard after storms.
The storm chasers are scary, as they seek to film the tornadoes. They are, apparently, eminently successful!

On May 24, 2011 a violent tornado struck the community of Newcastle, OK. ... A number of motorists made the choice to shelter from the tornado beneath the H.E. Bailey Turnpike Spur overpass on State HWY 76 overpass. The results of this action are revealed in graphic detail on this video. IT IS A MYTH that highway overpasses provide any sort of shelter from tornadic winds! On May 3, 1999 during what is regarded as the preeminent tornado outbreak in Oklahoma history, people were killed and/or suffered horrific injuries after doing the same... TVN's own Reed Timmer, then a naive freshman meteorology student, narrowly avoided being engulfed by the Bridge Creek F-5 by doing the same thing, and has publicly spoken against this practice ever since. DO NOT USE OVERPASSES AS TORNADO SHELTERS!!!!!
For more information on this subject, please visit this link.

Part-time mayor = full-time issues

Where is the mayor?
There are reports in the news that she is hard to reach. Well, no wonder! She is a summer resident, with a home in Toronto. How can a mayor not live in her constituency? This is just plain wrong. Perhaps, only perhaps, councillors could be tourists, and summer residents need representation at Council, but truly a mayor cannot understand living year-round in a place.

The hush of November, the lack of traffic, no line-ups, the peace and calm that descend upon a place usually overrun by tourists who may not appreciate the place.

The December, 2009 storm was amazing. The power of little snowflakes that just kept on coming.
I sent out a tweet or Facebook post (can't remember!) about road closures, which prevented one Muskoka blogger friend, Ed Boutilier, from visiting and turning back, but in an emergency, crews need to be informed and the powers-that-be need to be local.

Then there was the August, 2006 hurricane, December, 2008 power outage, August, 2009 hurricane in Gravenhurst.

Dec 29, 2008
Fortunately, we had invested in a generator, after the 2006 hurricane winds, and kept warm and dry, and with a few outlets could make coffee and toast.

Sep 14, 2010
Or during the Gravenhurst hurricane? The District is responsible for local work such as signage, water and sewer, garbage collection, local planning, economic development, community service, lake and forest health, through local by-laws ...


Louis Tam | May 25

MUSKOKA LAKES — Although the mayor of Muskoka Lakes has embraced new communications technologies, some members of the Muskoka Ratepayers Association (MRA) are hoping she won’t forget about more traditional ways of chatting with her constituents.

Dec 11, 2009
Both Bracebridge and Huntsville have declared snow emergencies. Their coverage has been terrific. I have been pleased with their information page, especially in the light of this emergency. Hubby figures we can call in the troops anytime ...
Dec 12, 2009
We were happy to see our snowplow contractor this morning. He lives in MacTier, with waist-deep snow, which is much more snow that we had! For all of my Muskoka Snow Emergency photos click on the Picasa album badge below. ...
Dec 11, 2009
A snow emergency has been declared in Huntsville and Mayor Claude Doughty is telling residents of Huntsville to completely stay off the roads." Much has been cancelled. Which is the only smart thing to do! I venture out to clear the ...

Wednesday 25 May 2011

The irony of spring

I brushed Oliver this morning. As always, I threw the fur outdoors. I figured someone could use it.

Sure enough. This wee one has been around for days, nest-building, for sure.

My turn! My turn!

Danger lurks beneath!
Can you spot him?
Such a delight, not that I'm wearing blinders when it comes to the world around us: volcanos, tornadoes, floods and fires.

People dying in terribly tragic circumstances, losing their homes, family members, their livelihood; it is terribly tragic.

These are the pictures I took yesterday, hampered as I am with tendonitis in my foot. It is trivial, when I compare the tornado videos. They say 10 years until recovery.

The drama of our bird feeder; the irony of Oliver's fur being used for nest-building by the very critters he hunts.

It's a dog eat dog world out there. Or a cat eat bird world.
The dragonflies are just eating madly. Bless their little souls.

Blue jay frowns at Ollie.
Bees delight in blooms

So pretty, as new needles grow!

The beauty of living beside a wetland is amazing.

The lilacs are very happy, too.

The previous owners have chosen plants and trees natural to the area: lilacs, honeysuckle.

Lots of evergreens transplanted from the forest.

The moisture of our bog, as well as the chemistry of the area, leads to fungus.

I love it!

If you haven't watched a tornado chaser video... make mosquitoes look rather unimportant.
And then there are these!