A time to live, a time to die

My eldest, 1-of-4 Canadian daughters (she’s 32 and has a 5-year-old son) was honest with me and said I shouldn’t travel to Ontario, even if there’s people I want to see (yes that’s her in this 1988 pic I took for my science column; I even remember developing film in the darkroom, and had sex there too along with the electron microcopy room.)

I have brain problems and cannot travel by myself.

My wife, who has power of attorney over my finances and death, says I can’t travel alone.

Yeah, looks like I’m fading fast

My best friend from high school has pancreatic cancer, so our friends are waging who will go first.

My brain hurts because I fall a lot, and Amy is going to break up with me.

But my life has been full of wonder, and I will keep being curious and keep writing.

It’s the best medicine.

Dreams are weird, so is the brain

I had this dream, where I was coaching on the ice in Brisbane for a few hours, helping do evaluations of kids – male and female – and running them through drills.

As the kids got changed and the girls were mixed in with the boys, I explained we had enough girls in Guelph that they had their own league, and as a coach, I wouldn’t go into the dressing room until they were all dressed, and after the game would debrief for a couple of minutes, and then say good bye outside.

After 3 hours of on-ice training I said I’m going home for an hour and would be back.

I started to put on my street clothes, realized it was dark outside, looked at my iPhone and saw it was 2 a.m.

I miss coaching, but my brain is doing too many weird things.

And in real-life I fall a lot.

I’d post this to my other blog, dougsdeadflowers.com, since it has nothing to do with food safety, but still having technical difficulties. Chapman has not figured out how to put a link on barfblog.com, and what’s left of my identity that I can remember is barfblog.

My brain hurts

I had to stop hockey because I started falling over in my skates after 50 years.

I had to stop cycling because I started falling off my bike.

Now I fall when I’m walking.

Another day, another 12 super-sized stitches at the top of my skull, another night in emergency, another ambulance ride that I have no memory of.

But when I awoke, Amy was there.

dougsdeadflowers.com: Roses by your grave

I’m an ideas guy, not a details guy, but Amy sorted it out and things are now at dougsdeadflowers.com.

I started this post two days ago and forgot what I was writing about.

Brain.

When I was a kid, our family would drive every other weekend two hours north to Cookstown, Ontario (that’s in Canada).

I usually barfed and still do today.

I have lots of memories of me and gramps driving from Cookstown to Toronto to get parts for his Massey-Ferguson dealership, but I can feel those memories fading away, every time I have to pause and rethink what I was writing.

Not dead yet: Future of barfblog.com

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

That famous quote, often wrongly ascribed to Albert Einstein, is believed to have originated with Narcotics Anonymous in 1981 (the same year I began university).

In addition to helping raise five daughters, providing endless relationship entertainment to the folks I played pick-up hockey with back in Guelph (that’s pre-Amy, who is playing pick-up as I write this), helping teach lots of kids how to skate, influencing lotsa students (good and bad, not much in-between), pissing off lotsa bureaucrats and industry types, publishing lots of peer-reviewed stuff that still gets cited daily and almost 15,000 barfblog.com posts, I did news.

Food Safety Network news, long before wannabes.

For 26 years I’ve done news.

And always referenced the evidence, or lack thereof.

Until others do the same, they’re just plagiarists.

I combined my background in molecular biology with some journalism experience, and I carved out a path in food safety.

The vision I always had for food safety information, all those years ago, was what I heard about daily – and often directly: How the hell was I supposed to know?

We mined the world (I used Compuserve to get access to the AP wires and others back in the days before Google, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s MMWR would take six months to arrive by mail, when those who needed to know should have had the information as soon as possible).

I am intensely loyal to the kids, er, students, that flourished and maybe we’ll write a book; or maybe not.

I did my best, even when my best wasn’t good enough.

I still love it – I haven’t been paid in over two years — but someone else should be in charge.

I have early-onset dementia, I have other health issues, so rather than submit any more family members to, I’ve got to do news, I am going to step away while I can.

Of the 15,287 barfblog.com posts, I authored (or cut and paste) 13,070 since 2005. That’s 86 per cent, or an ice hockey goalie save percentage of .8549, which isn’t great (should be over .91) but doesn’t exactly suck, because this isn’t hockey.

It’s something different.

And time for me to do something different.

I may still write, maybe about food safety, maybe about other things, maybe about the probability of monkeys flying out of my butt.

But for now, I’ve got other priorities.

Ben can figure out what to do and what he wants to do.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to share your computer screens, maybe even your brain space, and improve food safety, one tip-sensitive digital thermometer, one less serving of raw sprouts, and one calling out of bullshit advice, at a time.

Peace and love.

dp

Food Safety Fairytales: We’re putting the band back together but we’re not on a mission from God

I finally spoke to Blaine.

I can now go ahead with the book.

Katija always was the reasonable one, kept me and Chapman on track, especially during our 6 a.m. golf rounds, and was always there to make up for our silliness.

I implored her to do a PhD, but she resisted, and was comfortable with what she did.

Over the past 10 years, when I needed help to get a paper out the door, I would turn to Katija.

She’s seen life’s ups and downs, but has come out confident and better than ever.

Katija and Chapman have been with me for almost 20 years, each. Carol, who worked with me for a bit is also on for editing.

The book I’ve been working on has a tentative title of Food Safety Fairytales.

I was gonna write the whole thing myself, but then I realized my brain and body weren’t up to it, so I called in favors from my friends – sorta like The Band in the Last Waltz (not bad for a couple of Brantford-area boys).

And rather than keep it to ourselves, which is not my style, it will be public all the way (also a good way to hold certain people accountable, including myself).

The titles are all fairytales and will be destroyed by evidence.

But unlike what I told students, 60% content, 40% style, I want this to be 60% style 40 % content; I want it to be a best seller in airports.

Because every time I’m on a plane and someone asks what do I do, and I say food safety, they say, there was this one time, I barfed, and it was horrible. That led to barfblog.com in 2005, now it’s time to do something else.

Chapters, in no particular order:

Food safety is simple                                               Powell

Just cook it                                                                 Powell

BSE                                                                             Bert

Cyclospora                                                                Ron

Food safety programs ensure food safety                        Chapman

Training ensures safe food                                     Mancini

Five-second rule                                                       Schaffner

Sprouts are a health food                                       Powell

Cold-cuts should be served in aged care             Powell

Cantaloupe is a health food                                   Powell/Chapman

Labels are a meaningful way of communicating             Celia/Powell

Pasteurized products are safe                                Powell

I have a lot more, but would rather get one out and then think about the next one

Thank, you, Katija. On we go.

Grandson #3; proud grandpa

As my brain fades away, I really just want to walk on the beach with my kids, grandkids, and little dog.

Canadian daughter 2-of-four has delivered grandson number 3.

I can only throw off girls, and the girls can only throw off boys.

Jasper is big and smiley for a 4-week-old, but even though he came in at 9.5 pounds, I remind mother Jaucelynn she was a 10-pounder.

And slept all night.

It’s a wonderful thing to see kids and students develop.

And Jauce is a writer, like her dad, so that’s sorta cool.