Friday 31 July 2020

Book Review: Iceapelago

This was an interesting premise. I won't regurgitate the plot myself, the publicists do that job well (see below). I was sent this book for review, all the way from Ireland!

I learned a lot from the book, and recalled things I have forgotten, such as icebergs calving, for example. I can tell the author, Dr. Peter Brennan, knows his topic intimately. He has written several non-fiction books from his perspective in Ireland about climate change.

This book wove a lot of information into the plot.
He has a wide range of characters, and he uses the learned to educate the few, including the reader. Sometimes, if an author is try to teach us something through the medium of a novel, I feel they are lecturing. This wasn't the case.

There was lots of riveting action, although most of it did not end well. A conflagration of Climate Change: ice melting, earthquakes, and the like, led to a deep, dark novel.

The beauty of reading a novel is creating the imagery in your mind. This author was very descriptive, and he knows his stuff. I could picture the glaciers, icebergs, and the volcanoes, as well as the human structures he describes, i.e., the Summit Station (see below). I think it might make a great movie, as well!

The action takes place in three disparate locations: atop the Greenland Ice Sheet, on the volcanic island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, and on the seabed off the Irish Continental Shelf. I would have loved a map. I truly have not heard about La Palma, for example. I finished the book on the back deck, with my brand new, non-cataract eyes. It was delightful to be able to read comfortably again. I read several chapters on the back deck to get to the end.

La Palma, in the Canary Islands

Brennan's descriptions were lavish. The author has visited all these places. His website has a gallery, which was really helpful. 
Summit Station:
The scientists discuss their options atop the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Ililussat: The graveyard of icebergs.

Tasiliilaq; The Sama leaves Tasiilaq

Dr. Brennan is writing a sequel, Aftermathwhich I will look forward to, as this book was gripping. I hope he includes a map. A list of acronyms would be helpful, as well, although he makes a point of writing them out in most instances. 

There were a few errors, which are disconcerting to a reader. I read that the pilot cut of his engines, rather than off.  Also, there was a missing word. One paragraph began: leant sideways to kiss his wife

There is a tendency to use gender exclusive language, which, in 2020, isn't acceptable to this feminist, i.e., 'mankind,' rather humankind or humans.

One of the characters makes a joke using the word 'Eskimo,' which isn't used anymore in Canada. Instead, they are Inuit. He does include strong female scientists, which was comforting to read. We've worked for years to encourage women in STEM. My daughter has her M.Sc., and there are many STEM women about.

Iceapelago: Epic “Climate Change Thriller” Plunges Ireland into Arctic Tundra. It’s Fiction, For Now…

Dr. Peter Brennan’s ‘Iceapelago’ is the product of a lifetime’s interest in climate change, and research trips to La Palma and Greenland, as the author embroils readers in three interconnected storylines, each a stark and bold warning. Tsunamis and the collapse of the Gulfstream have transformed Ireland into a flooded, ice-cold, and barren landscape; perfect for the arctic foxes that now call it home. A story that fuses humanity, the sciences, the environment and wildlife; ‘Iceapelago’ truly becomes a new word for what may become a new world…

Iceapelago is available now. For more information, visit the website.

Thursday 30 July 2020

Monarch, hawk, goldfinch, fawns

I've been preoccupied, and haven't followed my monarchs as I have in the past. I've two that I have noticed. This is the second one. 

Cinnamon went walkies with me.

He was impressed with the bear poop! He waltzed on by and then came back for a sniff!


I was quite excited, the batteries were down to 25% power in the trailcam. The memory card said it was full. I trotted up to the house. I thought it was another bear-messed-with-the-trailcam video! Turns out I hadn't secured it properly. I had 68 images of the trees waving in the wind high above! 

I was bird watching from the deck. Lots of goldfinches. 


 Then, I heard the hawk! The goldfinches cleared off.


Twin fawns – they are adorable!

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Another trip to the city: cataracts VI

Blogging has been interesting, post-surgery, which was last Friday, July 24. I have three sets of drops to take 2 - 4 times a day. The prednisone, especially, makes things somewhat blurry, temporarily. I couldn't read my chart the first day. 

The trick I learned is to cross off the small circles BEFORE putting in the drops! 

The 2nd day, post-surgery, it was clearer. Hooray for the laptop, as I can enlarge print.  

Hooray for JB, as well. He's been amazing. He did my laundry Tuesday.

BTW I certainly had a drug to relax me, Jean! I was pretty stressed. It is the weirdest surgery, as you are awake, sort of not believing your eyes. I kept trying not to think about it. The staff were very kind. I wanted both done at the same time, as my corrective lenses would be weird, and I don't think I could face another surgery. Also, all my surgeon's surgical dates were cancelled for August. (I don't know why.) He fit me in.

I'm still getting headaches from grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw. A stress habit I must break!

Monday, July 27th

It was  a follow up visit to my eye surgeon. I have another in two weeks. Then in six weeks, I must visit my local optometrist to check that all is still well.

I grabbed a shot of our 'lawn', as we left the house. The flowering weeds are doing well, despite the heat. It was 33 C. all day. We've Queen Anne's Lace, the clover has pretty much died. The daisies, as well.

The wetland is happy with our recent rains.

Town was busier than it has been.

We listened to the news and weather. Ottawa had a storm warning. It looked dark.

There was the only a bit of rain, along Perth Rd.

OK, funny seeing a giant blow-up pool toy! Jurassic Park, or something.

I've always liked this bear. I hadn't noticed the fine job they did on the cedar!

Of course, construction.

I love the clouds, you can see where it was raining, near Twin Elm.

We took a different route. New buildings! (New to us!) I think they are snazzy. Barrhaven is really booming.

Arrived at 2:50 p.m.

We made it to iCare, up above Shoppers. We'd given it 90 minutes to travel, which was good. 

OK, funny scenes while we sat in the waiting room. The poor staff are running around, finding chairs 6' apart. They are letting spouses in, now. There were a couple of older, frail seniors, and people gave up seats for them. JB gave up his chair for someone else, too. Staff ran around wiping down the arms of the chair after each person got up.

There was one couple... despite all the signage, "Please do not use your cell phones!" she was on her phone listening to YouTube videos. The man had his face mask UNDER his nose. Then, despite all these protocols, his mask slipped and wasn't covering his face and mouth at all. We were far enough away, though. 
The dude in the office looked like this.
This guy was on the news in Barcelona.

I had a great check up. My vision is officially 20/20 in 2020! We were so grateful that the doctor fit us in for surgery. After two weeks I'll be able to lift again. In the meantime, JB is doing what he can.

Homeward Bound 4 p.m.

We began talking about what we had to do about the house. I have laundry that needs doing. In 'normal' times, I do my own, JB does his own. He said he could manage mine, with some direction.
Next, we have some frozen dinners in the freezer. I can cook, too, he said, just as a truck with "Friendly Fires🔥" whizzed by. I snorted. He likes his meat well done!

The skies were lovely. It poured rain just before we made it to Ottawa. There were more clouds on the way. When I arrived home, I checked the radar. The clouds were going northeast.
They are lovely to watch.

The river is low this year. 

This is rain falling. The roads were soaked. At home, nothing!

The joke is Canada has bugs, snow and construction. We are in construction season. We pulled around the curve and saw a long line-up.

I glanced out the back, rear window, and saw a rainbow! JB lowered the window for me, and grabbed proof.

Have you been tested yet? The US is still restrictive in who can get a test, unless you have money, you are a politician, or are on a sports team. Our clinics are doing pretty well with testing. It is so important.

We turned left, to go south on Drummond, and there was a problem. You can see the guy's back on the left. He'd lost some pieces of wood off of his truck.  That's Schedule 43, insecure load, with a fine of $130. 

I've always liked this swing, under the arbour, and they've put up a sign.

The flowers are blooming nicely in Perth.

Happily home 5:15

I washed my new reading glasses. We'd popped into Shoppers Drug Store before leaving the mall. The sign asked us not to handle the reading glasses unless necessary. I had to! Trying the 1.75, I tried the 1.5, and found no difference. I took the 1.5. They work well. It's been a journey!


It's been a journey...

Cataract surgery: non-progress report from July 2019 to February, 2020. COVID–19 shut it all down.
Cataracts II – July 7, 2020 a referral.
Cataracts III – July 17, 2020 a consult with a private clinic.
Cataracts PART IV – Pre-op visit July 20
Cataracts PART V – Post-op visit

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Back yard tails

Photography has been hit or miss! Here are some of both. When I use the videocamera, the viewfinder is blurry with my new eyes. The video camera doesn't allow you to adjust the focus. It automatically focuses on the background. My regular camera is set to autofocus. 

I have two lilies blooming. There are 9 - 11 frogs in the goldfish pond.

My dead catalpa tree isn't totally dead. Durn near, mind you! 

In the forest, I forget what this is. It is ubiquitous.

My aspen grove is growing nicely.

The fritillary are hopping about. 

Later in the afternoon... backyard tails. This was just after Booboo bear passed this way [Backyard critters: bears]. It's a high traffic zone! 

I kept pointing and shooting and hoping for the best! This didn't go well... but I didn't know until I processed it. Ah, it's funny. I'm going to have to figure out how to do this. I've new dime store reading glasses as of Monday. It's an 'old dog, new tricks!


 The doe, feeding on the hill, was a hoot. All I could see was a wagging tail.

Monday 27 July 2020

Backyard critters: bears

I keep track of bear sightings here: 🐻BEAR WATCH. With my eye surgery, I can see!

JB and I were on the back deck. He was reading his Kindle, I was listening to Uncover, a podcast.  (I still cannot read.) It's a lovely view from up there. It's a modest bungalow, but we enjoy it so much.

First Nutmeg came up on the deck, fairly normal, as she tends to nibble-on-her-kibble all day, in and out. Then, Cinnamon roared up onto the deck. They had a play fight. It is unusual for the two of them the be there at the same time.

I was gazing out the back, with my new distance vision, and from out the 'back 40' came Booboo Bear. Don't look for him in the photo. You'll have to imagine.

I whispered to JB look at the bear. I ushered the cats into the house. I dashed back outside with the marine horn, and videocam. I just wanted an image, and then I'd scare him off. We have to teach him that humans are dangerous.

JB said that Booboo lay down in the shade, just behind the flag pole. Booboo didn't see us, but he heard me. The minute I began videotaping, he was gone. At that point, I sounded the marine horn a couple of times, just to let him know we were serious. He has a healthy fear of people, so I think he'll be a good bear.

He's not very big yet, but he has managed so far. We will cross our fingers for him.  He's gotta be a spring cub, he's so wee. They are born in the winter.

Since my surgery, Friday, I've laid low. Sunday, I went down to the trailcams. Nothing on cam #2.
However, as I approached camera #1, there was evidence!

I did not collect camera footage Friday, or Saturday. I left it until my eyes were feeling better.
This is Booboo, but 40 seconds into this video from Thursday night (23rd), I think the older bear appears, and squats.

 This was Saturday. This is an older bear.

Booboo's only predators might be older male bears and coyotes, as well as humans.  The coyotes are pretty smart, though. They would know to steer clear of bears.

If he is a she, she'll have an easier time. The older males kick the younger ones out of their territory. We have a healthy bear population in the area. If you recall, one of our mommas had triplets last year. This was a fall photo on the trailcam. Momma and year-old triplets.

It was all very exciting.
In the meantime, we've had more rain, which is wonderful. Drought is bad for bears, as they mostly eat berries. Our wild raspberries are out now. They also have been eating the services berries, as evidenced by the poopy photo!

We've another heat wave (30+ C.) and poor JB has been watering plants for me. I'm not supposed to lift.
Thank you, all, for your kind wishes. I am so relieved. Reading is tedious, but I shall get to your blogs shortly!