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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To My Dear Wife!

When I got married to you on May 30 1987 we were still so young. Young enough to not think about growing old. 20 years ahead?  No, that was way too much time to get worried about.
But today it’s been MORE than 20 years. Soon, we have been married 28 years!
Birthdays have come and gone. And today, you are turning 60. I know that you almost had a crisis when you turned 40.  But there was no crisis and there is none today either.

I love you more than ever Bea and we have been going through soooo much. We have lived different places, had a change-over of jobs and you have been there with me all the time. I am feeling blessed that you, Bea, have been my partner through it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEA!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A New Follower Got Me Thinking Back In Time

When looking at my blog this morning I saw that a new follower had registered. He’s No.136 in the row and I know him from way back when I was very young (well, he was young too) and had just started out working as a stage technician at a Norwegian Theatre. Svenn was an actor then and the first role I saw him in was as one of the 7 dwarfs in “Snow-White”. (Svenn is far from being a dwarf) As far as I remember the accompanying music was the one of the Walt Disney Production. The Norwegian text is still ringing in my ears:  “Heihå, heihå nå synger vi og gå…” 

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It’s a long time ago – 38 years! I am right under the arrow with Svenn left of me in the picture.

It was a lot of fun, especially as I had to learn Norwegian in one hell of a hurry. Took me all of 6 weeks until I got the hang of it.

Svenn is now the head of the National Theatre on Greenland. So in a way we have become neighbours as Greenland is not that far away from the East Coast of Canada.

Back in those days, life was a lot different from what it is today. There was no internet, no little cell phones. I do remember that the theatre bought a portable phone in 1978/79. It weighed about 15 pounds and was a huge thing. It marked the beginning of a technology revolution in communications we haven’t even seen the end of to this day.  Back in those days I didn’t even have a TV. Strangely, I wasn’t unhappy.
Today, I tend to be desperate if I have no internet connection for a single day. What if I miss something? It’s definitely become a major part in most people’s lives.
And it is modern communications and the internet which lets us re-connect with friends.

Welcome as a follower, Svenn!

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

No Guns, No Police Violence–It’s The Swedish Way

It is no secret that European police utilizes different tactics than their North American colleagues. A recent incident on a New York City subway has brought this to the attention of Americans.

Read on:

Four Scandinavian police officers breaking up a fight on the subway has New Yorkers wondering if they should import new fuzz from Europe.

Swedish cops break up Subway brawl and show up the NYPD

Swedish cops break up Subway brawl and show up the NYPD

Markus Åsberg, Erik Naslund, Samuel Kvarzell and Eric Jansberger were on their first day of a holiday in New York when they responded to a call for police help on the subway.

“We thought maybe someone needed help,” 25-year-old Samuel told the New York Post.

Are you injured?, a Swedish officer asks the victim.

Are you injured?, a Swedish officer asks the victim.

A video of the incident shows the four men calmly but decisively restraining a man after breaking up the fight. 

The alleged assailant screams: “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” At which point the Swedish cops advise him to calm down, give him a reassuring pat on the back, and ask if he’s injured.

It's all in stark contrast to the many videos of police brutality we've seen emerging form the U.S. over the past few months.  But back home in Sweden, their heroics have not been hailed with the same fervour.

Samuel’s boss refused to take calls from the New York Post, but a police officer explained to them: “In Sweden, if you see something bad, you just do something to help . . . It’s ordinary, what they did.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Moved!

After an incredible busy day we are finally again settled in our trailer. Compared to the place of where we have lived over the past 3 1/2 months, the “Highlands” atop of the North Saskatchewan River Valley, this is a rather simple, non-inspiring place of residence. But it will be for a short 5 weeks time only. Come June we will turn eastward once again to do a 5000km migration towards the Atlantic Ocean. Hopefully, with the weaker Canadian Dollar we will see more American Visitors coming across the border to experience Campobello Island.
The next 2 days will be significantly colder than what we have seen over the last week, but the next heat wave is already underway for the coming
week.

Molly was showing quite a bit of bewilderment after moving back into the trailer. Every time I returned back to the trailer with an new armful of stuff from the van, she was right behind the door, clearly wondering whether I was about to leave her behind. However, after a couple of hours, as we all had settled down, she has accepted the new surroundings.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HELP!!!! I Got Stuck On My RV-Roof

We had another very warm day but this time with high winds blowing out of the south-east.
After some brief shopping I went out to our trailer to get the fridge started. The plan was to have it cold and ready for our moving tomorrow. Also I wanted to connect the solar panel to my batteries. For that I had taken a ladder along to get on the roof.
As soon as I entered the roof and connected the power cable I heard a big bang. Turning around I saw my ladder on the ground – flat on the ground that is. A storm cast had blown it over.
I looked around – but there was nobody to help me getting the ladder back up.

Several times I considered to jump, but it seemed too dangerous. So then I pulled out my phone and called the site owner who was somewhere else on the large property. But he was busy with a customer and it took about 15 minutes until someone else popped up.

Sitting on that roof was a bit hilarious for me.
Had enough opportunity to contemplate things. The wind was indeed so strong that the entire area looked more like a dust storm around Yuma,AZ. It was pretty bad.

With the fridge running on propane I left for home.
Tomorrow we will leave this great place where we have been very comfortable most of this winter.

A Record High And 3 Unusual RVs

22.7 C  (almost 73F) was yesterday’s high in Edmonton. It felt downright great to be on a ride into our north country. The Lesser Slave Lake was almost free of ice. Around here the trees are already showing green buds and within the next few days green leaves will signal SPRING IS HERE.

When it comes to RVs it is amazing how inventive some people can be. From a small VW-Transporter to the more sedate and stationary “Mini House” there are a lot of different individual solutions.
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And here is another one very inventive Magic RV:

In Mere Seconds, This Truck Can Transform Into Something Mind-Blowing


Or what about this cute home, made of an old school bus?
01-school-bus-house02-school-bus-house                                       A wooden bumper…..
03-school-bus-house04-school-bus-house05-school-bus-house06-school-bus-house08-school-bus-house09-school-bus-house10-school-bus-house                                  Who wouldn’t want to slumber here
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  Wood stove heating       Rear tail lights and a license plate are still there….

Saturday, April 18, 2015

RV Conversion?

I have come into the habit of looking up Bus advertisements on Ebay. Not that I seriously consider to buy a bus, but it just interests me to know what used buses are going for these days.
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So here I came across a real rarity: A DODGE Bus from 1933. It sits in Charleston,VA and is waiting for a buyer to rescue it from a destiny on the wrecking yard. The accompanying story says that it has been rescued once before  - out of a place in the woods. It was in use for the Blue and Grey Bus line which at some point was bought up by Greyhound. So there is history to this bus.
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What it is gonna end up at…nobody knows. Fully restored and equipped with more modern engine and comfort it could be used by a museum or historic site. Think about it…! It sure would be an attraction in itself.
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Or some crazy nut comes along and converts the 22-footer into an RV. Maybe puts some solar panels on the roof?  Would be a nice vehicle to put into “The Slabs” at Niland, CA.
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I love those ideas….. as long as I don’t have to finance it.
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Who stole the steering wheel?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Musical Excursion

This headline might already have led you to believe that this posting would be about me writing about some fancy musical experience. Well, that is not gonna happen.

It’s just that I was assigned a bus trip to the City of Edmonton driving a youth orchestra to a major music competition. Over the 3 days of being the driver of this bunch of talented young folks I have been directed to drive to various city locations, bus loaded to the brim with music instruments and their personal baggage. We even had a 2. bus with grade 10 students as well.
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With the evening arrangements both evenings in the city ended close to midnight. First night I was able to spend at home, but Bea was not thrilled picking me up at the hotel at a late hour, so the last night I stayed at the hotel. Since this hotel doesn’t provide any form for breakfast, Bea came over at 7am and got me home where she had everything ready. I even got to walk with Molly.
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Yesterday evening was spent in the city centre where all the glitzy high rises are. The Alberta symphonic orchestra gave a concert for all contestants. There were at least 20 buses from British Columbia in the west to Manitoba in the east, and all surrounding streets were lined with our coaches. A couple of Manitoba drivers came on my bus and we exchanged wild road-side stories for more than an hour to make time pass. Bus drivers are sure of the most sociable kind of humans I have ever met.
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Weather in Alberta has been outstanding. Mornings are still chilly, but day highs are in the mid-teens C (sixties F) With only one more week as house sitters, Bea has started to assemble our belongings and started cleaning the place. Life will change again after April 24.

Thanks for following along.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ice Drift

Just yesterday the North Saskatchewan River was flowing free of ice,  even though a few chunks were still hanging onto the banks. Summer seemed right around the corner. When walking down to the river this afternoon the picture had changed in the most dramatic way. Not that the river had frozen again, but a massive amount of loose drifting ice were filling the river from one side to the other.
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The rather cold north-western wind made us reconsider yesterday’s assumption of any imminent summer weather.
20150412_123540This ice had broken loose along the upper part of the river where it comes out of the Rocky Mountains.
Sometimes the sun was out and as long as we were in protection from the strong cold wind it wasn‘t too bad.

Farther down the river path we met another dog owner lady who we had already talked to a couple of days earlier.
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Molly and friends

20150412_123650She had two rescue dogs, real sweet comrades, and they were greeting Molly like an old friend, before they started a wild chase-around with each other. No, Molly is too old for wild games, so she stayed around us, and when yet another couple dog owners came along we were pretty much surrounded by dogs of all colours, shapes and sizes. Everybody seemed to have great fun and there was no growling or any sign of aggressive behaviour.

While the dogs were playing all around we had the most pleasant conversation with this lady. It just shows that our dogs are the most perfect makers of social contact. If this nice lady hadn’t had her dogs along we most likely wouldn’t ever have made contact.

Just too bad that we have less than 2 weeks left in this house.

Have a great week and thanks for coming along.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It was Warm Enough To Bring Out The First Mosquito

Today we got the full effect of a full-blown summer day as the temperature reached 18.4C (65F) which made a single mosquito attack me.

I have been puttering around outside with modifying the mounting of our solar panel. While we used to have it set up on a roof rack for the van, I now plan to mount it on the roof of our trailer. It was very delightful to work outside with shirtsleeves rolled up.
We ran some errands in the afternoon and stopped by a Home Depot. That place was packed with shoppers purchasing garden remedies.
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Molly is doing fine after yesterday’s incident and I have been thinking a lot about how she might have perceived the approaching coyote as a regular dog.
When Molly was very young she was rather skeptical to other dogs. Later she ignored them mostly, but lately she has developed a friendly  cautious-curious meeting attitude to other dogs. That means she is friendly as long as the other dog is as well. So her meeting with the coyote must have been rather on friendly terms until the coyote attacked. That’s when she screamed for help.

I have been off work since before Easter. It’s the result of cut-backs in the oil industry. They just stopped carting people around for meetings and viewings. But from Monday I will again be busy for the entire week, driving various private groups around the province.
My company has also shown interest in arranging long-range trips to the southwestern U.S. and even eastern Canada. I am very excited about this as I love long range bus trips and even get to be involved with working out itineraries.

Thanks again for dropping by!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Molly Was Attacked By A Coyote!

Initially I was ready to tell you about our first spring flower popping up, but I had to take the morning walk with Molly. Since the weather is beautiful I decided extending the walk over the Golf Course, which is still closed for players after the winter.
Dogs are allowed off-leash and we are usually walking there quite often.
So with Molly off-leash she was lagging about 150ft behind, when I suddenly heard her scream.
Turning around I saw a big coyote right beside her. Now it was my turn to scream. I screamed “MOLLY come back”, which scared the Coyote to start running. AND MOLLY GAVE CHASE!!!! I screamed again and finally got her to stop following the coyote. When she came back I gave her a bear hug touching her right front leg. That’s when she gave another scream. The coyote had tried to bite her in the leg, but there was no blood. Molly was OK. Looking up I saw the coyote still lingering 300ft away. I waved my arms like crazy screaming at him. He retracted into the bushes, but re-appeared again after I turned my back to him, starting to walk Molly, now on the leash, he came after us. This coyote wasn’t easy to intimidate.

Finally, I picked up some pace putting a bigger distance between us. being about 6-700ft. away I turned around. The coyote was still sitting in the open looking at our direction.

Molly was now walking right beside my feet.

Of course, I didn’t have my phone with me, so I couldn’t get a picture of the beast, and quite frankly, my thoughts were not at taking any pictures at the moment.

There are an estimated more than 400 wild roaming coyotes living around Edmonton, and especially along the river valley.  Coyote attacks have happened before to both dogs and humans. Some times they appear in groups of 5-7 animals. And that’s when it gets really dangerous.

Coming home I was totally out of breath and had to tell Bea about our encounter.
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Molly is now sleeping off the excitement. I don’t think she would know the difference between a coyote and just another dog. For me it was a scary experience.

Oh… and here is our first spring flower:
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Monday, April 6, 2015

An Easter Egg In Alberta

About an hour by car east of Edmonton, not far from the Trans Canada Highway, lies the city of Vegreville.
DSC_0006       Trans Canada Highway 16
It could be just an average city on the prairie, if it hadn’t been for the Ukrainian PYSANKA (Easter Egg). Even after 40 years of its existence it still attracts visitors to stop by for taking pictures.
We, of course, have been visiting the egg a couple of times earlier, though the last time was about 10 years ago.
But what better reason would there be to take another trip to the PYSANKA on Easter Sunday?
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Even though the temperature barely reached over 0C (32F), we took the 1hr. ride east of Edmonton.
With the snow gone, the prairie looked brown and forlorn, the small farms hadn’t yet generated any form of activity. Everything seemed still to be in the aftershock of winter.
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Just on the eastern outskirts of Vegreville is the ELKS Park, adorned with the gleaming Ukrainian Pysanka, the Easter Egg. It was erected to commemorate and honour the Ukrainian culture and was officially opened at the centennial of the existence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1975.
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The considerable task of engineering was mastered by Professor Resch, a computer scientist of the University of Utah. The Pysanka is really an immense jigsaw puzzle containing 524 star patterns, 2,208 equilateral triangles, 3,512 visible facets, 6,978 nuts and bolts, and 177 internal struts.
The egg weighs in at a total of 5000 pounds with the metal skin itself being 2000 pounds heavy.

In 1978 the memorial even received a royal visit of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Pysanka in Vegreville is a world-renown tourist attraction.
The surrounding park offers a few benches which, in warmer weather, would be tempting to sit down taking in the scenery with the calm fish pond.
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However, as it was rather cold we did not go for any extended stay on the bench.
Under our previous visit 10 years ago they had a wooden alligator drifting around in the pond, which always sparked discussions around the authenticity of the creature.

Vegreville is presenting itself as the typical western town with a certain amount of growth (due to oil industry) and a historic town core with Main Street being the only area worth a visit.
Especially remarkable are three wall murals depicting the town.
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Thanks for stopping by!