Categories
life

Our Little Boy Blue

Boo is one of the two cats Ange brought with her when we got together. It was quite some time before I learned his real name was actually Little Boy Blue. Ange explained that his name evolved over the years from Little Boy Blue into Blue and eventually stuck on Boo1. I sometimes called him Boo-bons (affectionately short for bubonic—yes, as in plague—because early on he liked to scratch me).

He came from a ditch

Ange was driving home from work and saw a cat (that wasn’t Boo) crossing the highway and run into the ditch. Something compelled her to follow it. She pulled off the highway and saw, sitting off the large concrete pad of a sign, was a little kitten with huge ears. He was looking pretty rough, so she picked him up and he bite her index finger. He bit her hard, so much so that had to shake him off her hand. When he came off he ran away and she couldn’t catch him again. The next afternoon she was again working at the same place and on the way home it was raining. She decided to go to the sign and see if the kitten was there. This time she put on some fish gloves and a little cardboard box and somehow she was able to catch him. He was probably tired and hungry. He had a big abscess on his back. She put him in the box and took him straight to the vet. The vet put a cone on him and she kept him quarantined in the bathroom of her basement suite.

Lost

Boo fit the mould when it came to the “cats have nine lives” proverb. Only a couple of months later, while he was still a little kitten and hadn’t yet been neutered, Andrea left him with roommates while she went away on a trip. Boo was supposed to stay inside but was snuck out and didn’t return. Her roommate was afraid to let her know that he had lost her kitten, so when she got back she found out the bad news. A couple of weeks later, a kind stranger called after seeing one of the posters she had hung up at a local animal shelter. The man had found Boo at the research centre outside of town climbing inside a dumpster. He picked up Boo and dropped him off at the shelter and even left money with the shelter to go with Boo. Andrea was so happy to have him back she made up a nice thank you basket and gave them a gift card for Georgia’s restaurant. She still likes to enthusiastically tell the story about how happy she was to get him back.

Over the last couple months Boo’s health began declining rapidly, and unfortunately at the beginning of the month it came time to say goodbye. We’ll miss him.


1. Relevant XKCD Words for Pets

Categories
Art life

Allan Jensen

As an art teacher myself, I often think about the art teachers I’ve had over the years so I felt great disappointment this morning when I learned that Allan Jensen, my former jr. high and high school art teacher, died this week. No further details were given.

Along with being a great art teacher, I remember him most fondly for organizing and chaperoning a school trip to Japan in 1993.

He’s the one pictured on the far right. That trip was a once in a lifetime influence on me. I will always appreciate the art lessons and the inspiration.

This has been a tough year. He’s the forth person I knew personally that has died in 2020.

Update: Here is his obituary.

Allan Jensen
1941 – 2020
It is with great sadness that we, the family, announce the passing of Allan Christian John Jensen in Medicine Hat on Saturday, December 26, 2020, at the age of 79 years. He is survived by his half sister, Evelyn Schafer as well as four nephews and their families. He was predeceased by his mother and father; two half brothers, Alvin and Gordon Pfiefer as well as his close friend and brother-in-law, Richard Schafer. Allan was born on September 18, 1941, in Drumheller, Alberta. He was the youngest of four children to Ella and Peter Jensen. Allan began his teaching career in Munson, Alberta where he was the principal. He furthered his career at Crescent Heights High School in Medicine Hat as an art teacher, where he retired. Allan loved to travel and led tours around the world. He was heavily involved in the art and cultural community in Medicine Hat which was his greatest passion. A Celebration of Allan’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Allan’s name may be made directly to the Hat Art Club, 399 College Avenue S.E., Medicine Hat, T1A 3Y6 or to the charity of one’s choice.

Categories
basketball news

Kobe Bryant – Death of a Superstar

While the full details are not yet known, ESPN appears to have an early scoop on what happened in that fatal flight.

The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant that crashed Sunday was in a climbing turn at about 2,400 feet before it turned into a dive, a source told ESPN. According to flight-tracking data, the copter was in a 4,000-feet-per-minute descent when it crashed

Categories
life

Sascha

Today Andrea and I said goodbye to our lovely dog Sascha. She hasn’t been doing well and eventually the time came that the kindest thing we could do for her was to euthanize.

Young Pup Sascha

Andrea got Sascha from a women, who got her from a family, who got her from a shelter, who got her from a family. As in, Andrea became her fifth and final family, way back in 2006.

The story goes that the woman couldn’t really keep Sascha but she didn’t want to return her to the shelter because she had already been to the shelter once and, according to the woman, if Sascha went back, there was a strong possibility she would be put down.

Sascha with Andrea

When Andrea and I started dating, she explained to me that she and Sascha went for walks in the coulee everyday. They were returning from one of those walks when I happened upon them in April of 2013. So, in a way, I have Sascha to thank for meeting Andrea.

Sascha with Andrea and me

She was so lovely. She will be missed.

Categories
Miscellaneous

Aaron Swartz is Dead

I rolled over this morning stressed out about Gabrielle and the situation as is typical these days. I pulled up Google+ on my iPhone to distract myself. I read some very sad news — Aaron Swartz had completed suicide.

I want to write about how this news has affected me. Words fail though — I’m not, after all, a master at words the way Aaron was. He inspired me. I always wished I could be him, and I always suspected that eventually our paths would cross and we would become fast friends. His death has really affected me deeply.

I am not nearly as smart or eloquent and I suppose I am glad not to have been in his situation but I will miss reading his brilliant writing.

It might seem strange to be sad about the passing of someone you’ve never met. People don’t understand why you care. The friendship was actually just an asynchronous following of his RSS feed, but his writing was one of small selection that were on my highest priority list. If he wrote something, I made a point of reading it. It’s so sad to think there won’t ever be any new posts from Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought.

Categories
history

Osama bin Laden – Dead

Here’s the full White House announcement:

Does this mean I can bring full sized shampoo on airplanes again?

Categories
life Sport

Three River Rendezvous 2010

Over the long weekend my friend Andy and I went to the Castle River Rodeo Grounds to take part in the biggest whitewater festival in Canada, the Three River Rendezvous. My decision to go wavered when I read that the weather forecast predicted cool temperatures, variable cloudiness, and sprinkled showers. Luckily we pressed on and, as it turns out, the weather wasn’t actually that bad, and for most of the time, it was actually sunny — I even got a little burned on my face.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck on Sunday night. After we had returned from our trip running the Five-Alive feature on Carbondale River a couple of times, Chuck Lee, the organiser of the event broke the news that one of the participants had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He explained that a group of kayakers were going over Lundbreck Falls and that on this particular run the boater was held under the falls for several minutes. He was revived once or twice but that’s all he let us know at the time. He emphasized again the need to always be vigilant and to remember that these kinds of things don’t just happen in other places, they can happen here too. We held a moment of silence in respect for the victim.

It was a sobering thought because I had never heard of anyone getting caught in the flow of water under the falls, and to think I, myself, have braved the 12 meter drop and walked away without so much as a scratch.

Kayaking Lundbreck Falls

Jeff Milner going over Lundbreck Falls in June 2008.

I found out later that night who was involved in the accident. I had hoped that it would be someone that I didn’t know but that’s not how it turned out. His name is Jaron and I had bumped into him just the morning before at the put-in for the Upper Castle run. I have paddled with him and his twin brother Dave a couple of times over the last two years.

I looked up some old paddling footage and found some with him in it:

Kayaking The Castle River May Long Weekend

He’s the one in the yellow and orange boat, yellow jacket, and blue helmet. His twin brother is also in the video.

I didn’t know him that well, but it was obvious that he had a passion for kayaking. Both he and Dave are the kind of enthusiastic friendly people that you want to spend a sunny day with floating down the river and enjoying nature. I remember talking to Dave for a long time about his decision to become a teacher and although I have many other influences for my decision to go back to school, it was that conversation that tipped me over the edge.

Kayaking isn’t always considered an extreme sport where you expect to hear about someone dying but every year there are a few news stories where someone drowns in a river. Almost always they are inexperienced or not wearing PFDs, or there is alcohol involved somehow so Jaron’s death comes as a great shock to the paddling community.

Categories
family life

My Uncle Judd

Judd

Yesterday my uncle Judd passed away. He was 90 years old.

Almost every year, for as long as I can remember, our family gets together on the first of July to watch the Canada Day parade. Afterward, it was our tradition to enjoy a delicious potluck meal at my aunt Lois’ and uncle Judd’s place.

Despite Judd getting on in years, he kept his wits about him right to the end, and I always enjoyed chatting with him. He will be missed by many.

Categories
Sport

Kayaker Drowned

It’s been a dangerous summer for boaters in Alberta. There have been 6 drownings in the last six weeks, and one that hits somewhat close to home. Linda Englehart, a Calgary kayaker who paddled Southern Alberta rivers and with the ORCKA club died Monday following a mishap on the Kicking Horse on Saturday.

I have never paddled with Linda, but she did communicate with the ORCKA club on their website and had planned at one point to join us on the trip we took down Box Canyon last month.

More details about the tragic loss from the ORCKA website.

Categories
family life

Death in the Family

I’ve been spending some time with my family in Medicine Hat over the last week. While I was here, we received some very bad news. A cousin of mine, Michael Scoville, passed away last Friday at the age of 26 years old.

Of all my cousin’s, I hung out with Mike more than any other. We lived in the same city for most of our lives and were pretty much the same age. We never went to the same school at the same time for very long but I was always amazed at how many people knew Mike all over the city.

Growing up we had our share of fighting between us but within the last ten years, or so, we made up and I enjoyed running into him at his parents house on the many occasions when they would invite us all over for dinner. It’s sad that he’s gone.