Yesterday being a bright sunny day, we decided to go for a drive after church. We headed south, picked up a sandwich in Flesherton for lunch and drove to the causeway over Lake Eugenia. It provided a good spot to see if there were any interesting birds.
Monday, November 30, 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Yesterday was a library visit, and Mrs. F.G. dropped me off and later picked me up. She had suggested that I go there once a week over the winter, just to get out of the house, and I'm happy to oblige! I'm very happy to have another thing to look forward to. The library building is as nice as it was last week, although they're still finishing things in some corners inside.
I spent my time well, first exploring my favourite authors of mysteries to get familiar with where those books are. There are about a dozen authors I read regularly, but for a few of them I've bought recent books during the wait for the new library to open. Now I can explore those books at my own pace.
Then I spent some time in the small Canadian history section, and found a good book on the history of indigenous peoples in Canada which I thought I'd like to read. Finally I headed for the reading room and looked through a couple of magazines, just relaxing.
I had bought Michael J. Fox's new book, No Time Like the Future, an Optimist Confronts Mortality and read it quite quickly. Since it was brand new, I donated it to the library. I did enjoy reading it and they appreciated the donation.
After that I went back to the Canadian history section and took that book on indigenous peoples over to one of the reading spaces and sat and read the first few pages. It's well done. I think I'll treat it like a reference book and try to read a little every time I'm in there. There's something nice about just sitting and reading while you're actually in a library.
I've been thinking I need some mental challenges over the winter, so I've been reading a bit online about indigenous peoples and about early Canadian explorers. I've also been watching a video series by Samuel Jackson entitled Enslaved. That's been very interesting too. So you may find some future far-too-intellectual blog posts on these topics.
Of course, having taught university I am used to spending time in libraries, some of them pretty big ones. My Ph.D. research on 19th century southwestern Ontario involved spending hours in the Ontario Archives in Toronto, reading old newspapers on microfilm. I have no desire to read anything on microfilm every again! But I did develop a deep interest in Canadian history.
So I have a new destination here in town, and it's one I can usefully visit throughout the winter months. Three cheers!
Thursday, November 26, 2020
A Pileated Woodpecker
Yesterday I was sitting quietly at the table when a large Pileated Woodpecker landed on a tree in the yard. This was one of those 4 second bird visits when you hardly have time to grab your phone, let alone move to a better view. And I only had my iphone with me. And my view was through the screen door. So. sorry for the low quality picture, but this was memorable, so at least this proves that it happened!
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
The Continuing Caregiver Struggle
Currently we face a continuing very serious home care and elder care staffing shortage here in Ontario. More than 2200 long term care residents have died during the pandemic, and that accounts for 66% of all Covid-19 deaths in the province, a horrible disaster for Ontario elders. In Canada it's over 80%, the highest reported in the world! Much of this can be put down to staffing problems, as well as outdated facilities that crowd residents sometimes four to a room.
The same staffing shortage is making home care programs steadily worse. Patients on waiting lists can't get home care at all, and other patients sometimes get told no-one is available, leaving them sitting up in a wheelchair all night! Home care is by FAR cheaper than sending people to long term care, but it still operates as a second class service.
Twice during the past week we have been left without help. In our case my wife can get me out of or into bed, but certainly not easily. Paralyzed and needing a mechanical lift to shift me in or out of bed, I'm not easy to deal with! Today, because of the schedule, I wasn't out to breakfast until 10.30! But many elders receiving home care live alone, so without help they are stuck, many of them also not able to use the bathroom.
If you trace this back, of course it goes back to government cuts and low wages. It's hard to see a way out of this except with greater public investment. I'm afraid that you easily feel you worked hard for 30 or 40 years, and then if you get ill and need assistance, you're just dumped on the rubbish pile.
I should be clear that the people who actually provide the home care (and I'm sure it's the same in long term care) are uniformly wonderful people who do their job well. These PSWs (Personal Support Workers) are dedicated and committed. But I sometimes fear that the managers above them are hired for their ability to talk a corporate line - and at the moment that line is always the staff shortage that prevents them giving the care they'd like to.
If you visit the website of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), the top headline you'll see is "Fire the Minister!", complete with a petition to fire the Minister of Long Term Care here in Ontario. Sign the petition and maybe we'll send a sharper message to the politicians!
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
It's not surprising that at this stage in November we're getting a light snowfall. What's surprising is the forecast, for 10°C on Thursday! Meanwhile today was a physio day and I expect to be a little sore tomorrow after a whole group of new exercises.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
The New Library is Open!
Meaford's new library finally opened yesterday after an extra 3 week delay! I was down there shortly after lunch, and it was a wonderful building. Much of the focus has been on creating an entirely accessible library, and it was. This is going to be a common destination downtown for me.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Yesterday after physio we picked up sandwiches at Tim's and drove down to the bay to have lunch. It was a dull grey day, but the first icicles that we've seen this season had formed on the trees, after the cold night and some wave action splashing up on the trees. There will likely be much more over the winter.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Enjoying the Patio
Just a week ago we were outside sitting in the sun and enjoying the patio during our days of balmy November weather. It was actually warm! But a week has passed and it seems a whole season has turned now! A glazing of that white stuff fell last night.
Monday, November 16, 2020
Another Harbour Ride
In between my other rides during those beautiful days last week I got down to the harbour two more times. On both days the clouds were striking, but otherwise the shore was very familiar. And our new library which was supposed to open Nov. 2nd so it could become another downtown destination, , STILL isn't open!
Saturday, November 14, 2020
The Beaver Pond
It was five years ago today that we stopped by a beaver pond on our way driving south. And we saw the beaver! We`ve never otherwise had this close a view. So I`m taking you back for a look.My eagle-eyed navigator spotted movement on the far side of the pond, so we drove around and this is what we saw. That ripple at the bottom of the screen is a beaver working underwater where they have dammed a culvert to create the pond.
It was dusk and getting dark rapidly, so the lighting was terrible, and these pictures came out very dark. I had to edit them to make them lighter to see anything. But you can actually see the beaver's tail, so it's not a muskrat!
One of them kept swimming in a circle out in the pond and then back closer to us. They never stopped moving in the time we were there. Sad to say the beaver were trapped out after that and the pond drained. We have never again seen as much water here, let alone active beaver.