Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Last (Not Final) Resting Place

A proper garden should have a place or two where one can sit and contemplate both the beauty of the garden, and life. Life, after all, did begin in a garden. The last few posts were photos of various places in the Regier's garden were one can do just that. This is the last one in this 'chair' series, maybe not the best photo, but a representation of what is perhaps the best opportunity for contemplation in a peaceful garden. It is the best because it provides opportunity to rest and reflect with a friend.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Here we have yet another opportunity for a restful moment in the Regier Garden. Whereas the first chair was for a well deserved rest at the end of a long work day, and the second bench was designed for a pick-me-up, I think this lounging chair is designed for sitting and observing. The view through the split rail fence is of a marshy area that is home to large frogs, some waterfowl, and many song birds, not to mention a huge variety of plant growth and magnificent stately trees. The bright splash of red leads the eye to the bridge which invites the curious.
We often rest our weary bodies and minds out of need, but how often do we sit and observe. If we find ourselves in a beautiful setting such as this, the contemplation of God's creation is a given, but when we have only our thought to occupy us, do we shut them out with music, TV, or a newspaper? It is good to sit and observe our own thoughts and assess them as we would a garden. We will discover beauty, but also weeds that need pulling.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Different Kind of Rest

The chair in the previous post was built for a long rest at the end of a hard day, a cool drink, or a cup of coffee in hand as the light fades to dusk. This bench, on the other hand, is placed in the working part of the garden and is built for a different kind of rest. No reclining relaxation here, but just a quick sit-me-down to rest the weary legs and back from hoeing, weeding and planting.
That is the way my work felt today. It was a brief respite from what I usually do and in that regard was enjoyable, but still tiring. I was offered coffee and while savouring the mellow brew, I heard some interesting stories about gambling. The wealthy widow who was employing me for the day was the biggest winner the Northwest Casino in Wa. state ever had. Talk about the rich getting richer, here was a case in point. I had to really hustle the last few hours because she was off to a party put on by the casino for VIP guests, by invitation only. It seems they want their money back and she may gamble some of it away tonight. Don't feel sorry for her though, her uncle just won five million in the 649 Lotto!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Peace of Mind

The elements of this photo exude peace. The just mowed meadow, the shade on a warm summer evening, a restful chair, and the up-side-down wash basin all hint at work completed and time for a well deserved rest. Yes, the work demands will start afresh in the morning, but that is also part of peace, knowing we have a purpose, important things to do, and again, rest at the end of another day. Some might call it stress, this constant beckoning of the urgent, and yet it is what gives us purpose and without purpose, there is no peace. I have to learn to re-name my stress and today is the perfect time to start.

* This is one of many beautiful components in Walter and Elizabeth Regier's garden. They will be on the Garden tour in June and we had a chance to meet the Regiers and preview their beautiful property last night. They were generous in letting me photograph to my heart's content last night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Four Ghosts

The phone rings and a sweet voice tells me I did some work for her a few years ago and would I be interested in painting her bedroom. I ask again for her name, stalling for time, because I have no idea who I am talking to. There is something familiar in the voice but I cannot register a name or a location or the work to which she is referring. I give myself away when I finally admit that I just can’t remember, and at that point I ask for more clues. Eventually the light goes on and everything comes back. It is embarrassing, because for the customer it was an important occasion to hire a painter to do her home makeover.

I have come to understand why I remember some people so well and others not at all. Either I made a very good connection on a social level, there was something very unusual about the person, or something happened on the job to make it out of the ordinary. I have several day planner books full of customers names and addresses from many years back and as I page through them, looking at the entries, I find that there are some that absolutely stand out and others give no clue as to what I did there or who they were. I deal with approximately 120 customers in any given year, and end up working for at least 100 of them. Out of those there are at least half that are new people I have never met before, who got my name from a regular client, or from one of the paint stores in town who graciously passed my name on as a recommended painter. So I should be forgiven for forgetting a few of them.
Some of them, in fact, many of them are unforgettable.

I first heard of these ladies referred to as the ‘four ghosts’. It was at a family event at my Uncle Henry’s house where someone inquired about his neighbours across the street. The house was attractive, the garden and lawns tidy and lush, and it seems that on occasion, there was a glimpse of the residents, but only for brief periods of time. All he knew was that they were four sisters and they came and went mysteriously like ghosts. It seems no neighbour had actually talked to them and so they were a mystery to all.

Not long after, I got a call from a Mrs. Quiring, asking if I could come to her home to give her an estimate for painting and papering their house. Her address was Princess Street, but much to my amazement, as I drove down the street looking at house numbers, I came to a stop across the road from my Uncle Henry’s house. I had a little thrill as I knew that this would be interesting and if I got the job or not, I would be the centre of attention at the next family gathering as I told everything I knew about the ‘four ghosts’.

A nervous, but pleasant lady greeted me at the door and bid me enter, as she stared intently at my feet. I had come to learn over the years that this was the signal to remove the shoes. Often I am loathe to do so when I see the kids and pets and various degrees of filth in the home, but here, I knew my socks would not become soiled. After cursory introductions, I learned her name was Helen, and she proceeded to show me around.

The house was elegant in an understated fashion and the furnishings and art work were classy and tasteful. The home looked well organized and very well taken care of. After complimenting her on her lovely home, she agreed with me and made it clear that it did not really need paint, but her and her sisters wanted a change. A ‘pick-me-up’, she said.

Sisters? I could hear or see no one but Helen. Were they at the library, out shopping, or locked in the dungeon in the basement? The house did have an air of mystery to it. I thought I had heard scurrying in the kitchen, or was it a back bedroom? I was quite curious, but there would be no satisfaction that evening. I took specifications, measurements and detailed information about the level of quality that was desired, and soon was out the door, on my way home to work out the price.

“Interesting,” I thought, but nothing really to tell Uncle Henry except for the description of the house and a bit about Helen. She did have one eye that seemed to look to the left, or was it the right. But that might have been the good eye. I did not want to stare so I really did not even know anything about her eye. It just didn't seem right.

I had gained her trust, and that is often all it took with older people. She said I was hired and I could start any time. When all the wallpaper had arrived, I presented myself at her door one day, and began to do the work. I remember the first day clearly as the house was steamy and moist with the heavy smell of cooking. It was Borscht! As I learned later, there was laundry day, cooking day, cleaning day, gardening day and shopping/ post office day. Sunday was church and visiting, but I never did find out what Saturday was until a while later. I was setting up my tools to begin preparation and it was inevitable that I would sooner or later have to meet the other ghosts. And I did. Well, sort of. Helen pointed out a figure stooped over the stove and say, “That’s Katherine. Agnes is in the back bedroom not feeling well today, and the other one is Susie.”

It took the full four weeks that I was there before one of them would even acknowledge me or look at me. They had an uncanny knack of doing their work while at the same time avoiding me or even being near me. Only German was spoken so I assumed that I would not be able to carry on a conversation with any one of them anyway. They were always in a flap about something and there was a sense of urgency to every move. They were hard workers and it seems that work was all they knew. I tried several times to ask some personal questions of Helen, but she would brush me off and besides, she was the foreman and was too busy giving orders to take any time to speak with me. I was never offered coffee nor was I ever asked a question that did not relate directly to the work I was doing.

And so it surprised me one day when Helen called the sisters together and they stood as a group and watched and marvelled at the most exciting aspect of the new decorating job. It was way out on a limb for these ladies, but they had thought about this long and hard and now that it was actually happening, they were giddy with excitement. There was a closet door in a small foyer between the kitchen and dining room, a broom closet with a flat swing door, something they had never liked, did not understand why it had to be there, and how they could make it interesting. They got the idea from a wallpaper mural book, and now I was hanging a door mural on the door, making it look like a half stable door with a horse hanging his head over the
door as if waiting for a carrot. It was striking, but a little quirky for the setting and the house. I found out much later why they went that route.

I did discover that Helen was the youngest and took it upon herself to be the caregiver, according to her understanding of things. They were all well past retirement age, but seemed very close in age. The three eldest were slim and wiry, while Helen was short and plump. Perhaps, had Helen worked as hard as she made the others do, she too would have been slim. Helen was the only one who drove, so I supposed it gave her an extra element of control and it certainly did make the older sisters dependent on her.

We parted on very good terms, and though I learned very little about them, I had grown to like them. I did not expect to ever see them again. But I was mistaken.
It was eight years later that Helen called and this one I remembered. They had decided to sell their house and had moved into a condominium. Would I be interested in doing some painting and wallpapering? I always give priority to old customers so I accepted and this time Helen did not even ask for a price. She simply asked me to do the work and give her the bill.

There were no dark recesses of a house to hide in this time, so I finally got to meet the sisters, officially. And this time I learned enough to give me understanding. I could not help but notice a very large jigsaw puzzle half constructed on the dining room table. They all worked on it, but in turns. This used to be a Saturday activity, but now that there was no garden, there were two days a week dedicated to jigsaws. Helen was the most heavily addicted. She could not seem to tear herself away from the table and shouted out the duty roster to her sisters from her perch under the bright chandelier where she had gathered all the edge pieces and was making great progress. She complained mildly about how difficult it was getting to see the pieces in the evening and night light and she had to get as many pieces in the daylight as possible. Her eye had been injured as a child and was increasingly bothersome. Susie was diagnosed with cancer and was mostly confined to her room, but when she came out, looked fine to me.

It was during this time, over an offered cup of coffee, that I heard some of their story.
They had grown up in Russia during the Russian Revolution and were very young girls at the time. Their dad and brothers had horses and the girls had taken a great interest in them. It had been a happy and prosperous time until the troubles came. The rumours had spread like wildfire and soon they found out for themselves that it was more than rumours. The soldiers had come to their village and the whole family went to hide in the barn. They were found and all made to line up outside, standing against the barn. As these young girls watched in absolute horror, their parents and brothers were shot and killed. I could only assume what had happened to them next because she paused for a time in the story and then found an important task to distract herself.

I thought that this explained why they were reclusive, had never married and were very slow to warm up to a stranger, a man, in their home. They had been scarred for life. Two of them had been able to work at careers when they came to Canada, but the other two had to be cared for by their sisters.

I no longer looked at them as oddities, but my heart was broken at the thought of what their whole lives had been, playing out the scenes of their childhood time after time, and somehow coping, well into their 80’s. After Helen had opened up to me, there was a difference in her demeanour and it rubbed off on her sisters a little too. Two of them actually exchanged a few words with me.

Shortly after, I heard from another customer in the same building, that Helen had been diagnosed with cancer, in her eye, and the doctor’s had to remove it. It was not long after that, she died, followed by two of her sisters.

Several years later, my sister, who was the director of nursing at an old folk’s home, told me that the last sister had passed away. The caregivers had found $35,000.00 in her purse. I do not know what happened to their bank accounts, their assets, or their earthly possessions. They had no one. I always had hoped that their church had somehow taken care of these things for them.

It was a lesson for me. I admired them, in retrospect, for the way they stuck together. Perhaps they had made a pact when they survived their ordeal. But they had to put up with the whispers behind their backs, the sideways glances and the knowledge that they were different. They probably spent a great deal of time, each in their own way, wondering what might have been.
I ceased to judge people hastily after I met the Quiring sisters.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mini Purple Pansies

I met someone today who was given three months to live as a result of her third bout with cancer. She told me of her faith journey, her failed marriage and her trip last month on a Hawaii cruise celebrating her 20th anniversary with her second husband who cares for her and loves her. She has a pleasant and relaxed demeanor, almost as if nothing could bother her. She enjoys life because that death sentence was given to her eight years ago. We are all living on 'bonus' time. We just don't acknowledge it like she had to.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Forget Me Not

How can I forget them. They are everywhere. This is a very tight shot of a very tiny flower. I did not realise how intricate they were until I photographed them and saw them on my computer monitor. There are over 50 varieties of Forget Me Nots in various colours. They like them so much in Alaska that they named them the State Flower. I am thinking that someone who wants to be unforgettable would send out bouquets of these. But then again, the recipients would have to know the name of the flower in order to catch the significance. Maybe they do this a lot in Alaska.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trauma on a Sunny Day

I was relaxing on the cool green grass when....
I began to wonder why the lawn mower was getting larger, and larger, and
And then it hit me!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Strawberry Blossoms

Finding these in our little garden is hopeful. Everything is late this year so I cannot with assurance say that these pretty blossoms will indeed be strawberries by the end of June. But no matter because they are always worth the wait. On the other hand, William Wordsworth Longfellow quite wisely said that if you want to know what a strawberry tastes like, ask a bird or a young child. We have some of those around here so I may have to go to Safeway to get my fresh red field ripened strawberries. Oh well, it is still nice to look at these blossoms and long for a good outcome.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Princess Paulonia

The Princess Paulonia trees are now in full bloom. One does not see too many of them but I know where several are residing, and they are rather remarkable. This one is at the front of our property. There is not a leaf in sight, only velvety brown casings and millions of mauve blossoms. The tree is ungainly with long and straggly limbs which will be all but hidden from view later in summer when the extremely large leaves, up to two feet across, take over. These trees grow very fast, perhaps six to eight feet per year. This tree is native to China (it seems everything is from China these days) and came to North America in an interesting way. The tree produces an abundance of seeds in soft Styrofoam like pods. These seed pods were used as protective packing materials in crates of goods shipped across the ocean from China, and later along the railways of America. Occasionally, a crate would break open and spill the seeds onto the railroad bed and adjoining ditches and soon the Paulonia trees were everywhere. They can even survive wildfires as the roots are able to regenerate the tree after the fire. Not everything from China is made with cheap labour.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The cool refreshing misty rain on the plants is symbolic of how I feel after the heat and hard work of the weekend gives way to a day of relaxation and doing a lot of nothing. That was Monday. How things change. My partner in crime came down with a serious strep throat today and had to have medical attention. Needless to say, he is out of commission for a few days and the old guy will now have to do the work of two men. Thirteen hours today and who knows what the rest of the week will hold. How do I have time and energy for a blog entry? I guess I needed at least one good thing to happen today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Mennoville Trail

There exists, on our stretch of the lake, a neighbourhood of Mennos. They all know each other well and get along famously, helping each other with various tasks, watching each other's properties in times of absence, and generally enjoying an abundance of good old fashioned socializing. There has even been the occasional occurrence of inter-marrying over the years. Among these people of common ancestry and faith, live a great American couple, the Godwins. For the Mennos to traverse the distance from one end of Mennoville via the beach or the main highway, is a long and arduous trek, not unlike the journey through the Red Gate of WW 2, out of the Soviet Union into freedom on the other side of the border. The issue of a short cut came up and the Godwins were magnanimous in their offer to allow a beaten path to be formed across their property. Here you see the north and south gate of the trail as it crosses the American's soil from the Dyck and Thiessen homesteads to the Loewen Estate. Good fences may make good neighbours, but good shortcuts make even better neighbours.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Final Thought

Here is Will, with the patience of Job, and you will know what I mean if you have tried to paint something like this without a sprayer. Will brought his newly acquired extended van loaded with ladders. He and Margarete were real troopers when they took on this task, among others.
Showered and cleaned up, relaxing before a delicious dinner. I am sorry I do not have enough pictures to include everyone who pitched in to make the weekend a success. Pete, Helga, Will, Margarete, Reiner, Joel, Connor, (Wendy in spirit) Ken, Herta, and Lis, you all worked so hard and efficiently, each contributing in your own way, all the pieces coming together to make it happen in a productive, yet fun way. And the Nephews and Nieces, Daryl, Theresa, Kyle, Lynnette and Andrew .... you did not have to come, but in all truth, we could not have done it without you. George and Laura, we missed you but understand your obligation that kept you home. Maybe next time.

Pete: Went up early to power wash the house and then painted full time the next day and a half.
Helga: Organized and prepared the most awesome meals for all of us, all at the Loewen Estate next door where we could get away from the job site to focus on having fun and fellowship and food without the paint pails beckoning us. AND, you were painting too!
Will: The van, the ladders, the sun screens and lots of 'cutting in'. What a worker! Thanks is not enough.
Margarete: How do you do it. Tedious rails, and finishing off the sun screens with a sponge brush. Amazing stick toitiveness. You and Will were a real inspiration.
Reiner: Spending your long weekend with us, painting posts and rails and doors, just awesome. We really do not see enough of you.
Joel and Connor: Maybe you little guys will get a paint brush next time, but thanks for sharing your cookies with us. You were a pleasure to have around. Bring you mom next time.
Ken: Who would have gone up on those hot gables if you were not willing? Thanks isn't enough. And thanks for rounding up all the paint and cleaning brushes that were abandoned by the tired and hungry crew. Nice to have someone who knows what they are doing.
Herta: Rails and more rails. I know you would prefer painting your canvases with water colours. Thanks for 'saving my life' a few times with your timely cappuccinos. Awesome!
Lis: I can't believe you painted all that wrought iron railing. Living with me has prepared you for just that kind of thing. For sure! I doubt anyone else would have volunteered for that the way you did, with nary a complaint.
Darryl: What a life saver you were. The big question of the project was the gutters on the lakeside of the house. You did all of them! Wow! You really and truly deserved that afternoon nap.
Theresa: You are a natural painter. You endured painting lattice, the ultimate test, and you didn't get a drop on you! Thanks too for all the help with food preparation. I like the way you have fit into our family.
Kyle: Lots of brush work and patience and doing what had to be done. Thanks so much for coming and helping and especially for being my taxi to Penticton and the great talk we had on the way.
Lynnette: There were no exceptions, everyone took charge of a brush and did some painting, including you. As a food provider, you get my very biggest thanks. It was so great having you there and just for the record, my 'ribs' were hot.
Andrew: Steady and dependable as ever, and with the accuracy and expertise of a true professional. Cutting in those soffits twice was no easy feat. The finishing touches that you did made the job truly beautiful. You didn't have to come, but boy, am I ever glad you did!
Thank you all!!!

No Gain Without Pain

There were 14 adults, each and everyone participating. Even the food and liquid refreshment providers had a paint brush in hand at one time or another. It was an amazing co-operative endeavour and we completed the job in 1.5 days with 17 gallons of paint. But somebody is going to have to clean up that mess!
Ten ladders, five paint trays, with rollers of varying sizes, and 16 paint brushes that all needed cleaning at the end of the day made it challenging.
Here is the 'old guy' who was up at 5am to beat the heat, painting all the soffits before the rest of the crew shows up. After working until almost 9pm that night, he was so exhausted he could not get to sleep and went back at it the next day with only 3 hours of sleep. Let's not even talk about the shoulder and neck problems that were greatly aggravated. Complain, complain, complain. Nobody is listening so shut up.
Here is the youngest brother doing some 'grunt work' which he claims he is not used to. Looks to me like he knows from grunt work. Just next time, get a 'man's roller'. Get this. He came all the way from Calgary just to paint the double shop door! Talk about a family supporter. Thanks again, Reiner.
We, OK, I was really hoping and praying that the weather forecast for Sunday was accurate. What a bunch of speakers of untruth! It was supposed to be 22C. With the added humidity it actually felt hotter than the 34C of the day before. We have spent many May long weekends there in the past and NEVER have we had this kind of beach weather. Of course, when we go here to work, this is what we get. I blame Al Gore.

Working Holiday

My 15 year old 'paint wagon' purred like a kitten for the 700 km. trip and proved once again her reliability. Here we have some of the newly painted sun protection for the very hot side of the house.
Andrew got to spend a bit of time off the ladder when he did one of the final little projects, the fake wishing well disguising the irrigation control centre.
Caught taking a little nap during the hottest part of the day. It got to 34C with a very hot breeze. The paint dried before we could apply it so we ended up just nailing it to the wall. :-)
Lis's one and only sister, (not counting her 8 sisters in law) Herta, climbing the ladder of success, or was she testing the theory about how many brunettes it takes to change a light bulb.
Ken likes the jobs where he can sit and work at the same time. I am relieved he did that task as it was VERY hot up there.


I know you have all missed me terribly as I was gone from Blogland for two whole days, but, I will have you know I spent my long weekend doing something entirely different. (That is what you call an 'inside joke'.) The above photo was taken a few years ago, but our vacation property on Osoyoos Lake has been this colour from day one, shortly after the Magna Carta was signed. It is called 'Cedar' with 'Manor Brown' trim. Not to upset the apple cart (note the reference to Okanagan fruit) too badly we changed the colour scheme, but not dramatically. We are a conservative bunch, you know. It is now 'New Stone' with 'Onyx' trim and a few 'Ultra White' accents. The lower picture has work evidence such as pressure washer and ladders to prove we actually did it and it did not simply fade in the intense summer heat. If you expand the picture and look in the lower left corner, you will catch a glimpse of the cabana in the original colour. It too will change, perhaps a Spring '09 project. More posts on this later. I am still in recovery mode.

Lending a Hand

As some of you may know, I was very conflicted this long weekend. Last year at this time, we hosted a successful garage sale whose purpose was to raise funds for an orphanage in Tanzania, Africa. I so looked forward to repeating that rewarding experience this spring, but last October our extended family planned a big work weekend for our lake property in the Okanagan. I was put in charge of that project and when it was determined that the best weekend for the garage sale was the same date as the 'work bee', I had no choice but to meet the family obligation and leave the garage sale in the capable hands of others. Good thing I did. They did so much better without me! The Mwanza Orphanage has grown from 10 to 50 boys, just this year, who have been rescued form abuse and oppressive poverty. Thanks to all who participated in both big and small ways. May God bless you all.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Taking Leave

My dear blog readers. The next few days are going to be like a frying pan here, but we are going to a place which is more like the fire under the frying pan. No, not there, silly. I want to let you know that I appreciate each and every one of you for looking at my pictures and reading my mostly goofy lines. I am taking leave for a few days, not of my senses, but of Blogland. So when you log on to 'terryography' and are greatly relieved that there are no new posts to waste your precious time, do not be too heartened, I will return. My supply of inane and meaningless chatter is far from exhausted.

Today's Surprise

As I was crunching on my Mini Wheats this morning, I was reading about the surprises that Life throws our way. We do not ask for them, they just come. Moments later, a phone call revealed a bad surprise and my day got off to a really bad start. Fortunately, mistakes in my line of work can always be rectified, but usually at my expense. With a reluctant smile on my face, I dropped the priority tasks of the day and went and did damage repair. Not only did I get an extra pleasant response for my promptness, but I made, quite by accident, two new contacts for some very lucrative contracts, right there while I was 'working for nothing'. The good surprise far outweighed the bad surprise. I would like to think that it was because of the lesson I had just learned while eating my breakfast, and it wasn't from the back of the cereal box.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moving on From Tulips

When I was in the first grade, the very first craft I ever did was with lollipops, crepe paper, and wire. The green paper was wound around the lollipop stick, and the red crepe paper was cut into ovals and wrapped around the base of the candy. When the red paper was cupped and stretched a little, darned if that little creation didn't look just exactly like a Tulip! It was the first flower I knew the name of, even though I had never seen one, and there was a reward after taking it home to show my mother, who by the way, was very proud of me. I got to eat it. No wonder it became my favourite flower. As you can see in the above photo, there are not really little candies at the convergence of the petals, but I still think of those lollipops every time I see a Tulip. Now, I promise, this is the last Tulip picture for a while, a long while. As you can see, they are all dead now and rotting petals are not photogenic.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not Again?

You must be getting very tired of these tiresome photos of Tulips. You would think that is all I ever photograph. Well, I am not tired of them yet and as along as I see Tulips standing erect in the flower beds in my little town, I figure they are due the respect I am giving them. Did I mention they were my favourite flower? Did I mention why they are my favourite flower? Oh, I thought I did. The next time I post a Tulip photo, I will tell why my love of Tulips goes way back to my boyhood. With the heat wave coming, that may be next spring.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Plethora of Potted Pansies

As you have already guessed, we have very many potted pansies in our garden this year. They are happy and cheerful living in community. They are such a lowly flower, hugging the soil even at full height, that it is good to have them off the ground, a bit closer to eye level, so we can admire their intense beauty. Not to mention I do not have to get my knees muddy taking their photograph. Not to mention that if the view from the window is not perfect, we simply go outside and move the pot.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Tub Of Pansies

In the cool shady back corner of the garden, where the sun will soon no longer be able to penetrate the heavy cover of Maple leaves, sits a tub of pansies, content with the coolness, but basking in a rare shaft of warming sunlight. Their friendly faces lift to the light, bringing out the saturated yellows and blues of their delicate petals. I have often felt that way when somebody brought a ray of hope and friendliness to my dark and gloomy day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Death of Two Lips

The lifespan of the human is thought to be determined by environment and genetics, but actually God's grace and his determination trump both of those indicators. In other words, we do not know how long we will live. I witnessed a 100 year old woman last night, singing, eating, and visiting in a social setting, like she would go on forever.

It seems that a tulip's life is pretty much determined by environment. They have had a very long and beautiful life this year due to the very cool weather, but even they must eventually 'fall apart'. We all have only so much time and must make life beautiful where we are planted before we too, start dropping our petals.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fill 'er Up

Is it my imagination, or is there just a wee bit less traffic on the road these days. The nature of my business does not give me much leeway for conserving gas, but I do plan my trips more carefully now. Our evening out tonight was walking distance, so we did. Next weekend there is a necessary trip to the interior but otherwise, we will be lying a bit lower than usual this summer. The price of gas will get a lot higher. I read a report that many Americans are selling their 'stuff' so they can afford to drive. The world is changing and we had better get used to it. Actually, I am longing for the day when the Arab sheiks who drive diamond studded Mercedes revert back to travelling on a flea bitten camel.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Let The Good Times Flow

We were asked to do a wall graphic today, and the company we were contracted to wanted a few photos of the finished product. I don't normally go to a liquor store to take pictures, but then I don't normally go to work in a liquor store either. It was interesting spending almost 5 hours there. The store is a 'signature' location so the lighting is ambient, the music is mellow, the staff are all very friendly and welcoming and the multitude of pretty bottles on the shelf are just crying out to be bought. One cannot help but wonder about all the people lined up early in the morning to purchase multiple bottles of hard liquor, by far the drink of choice this morning. It was quite common to see folks walking out with hundreds of dollars worth of amber fluid. I am not talking about gasoline either. I do not object to responsible drinking, but it is interesting that our government makes it so easy and attractive for everybody, the responsible and the irresponsible to indulge in the most dangerous to society of all drugs. The cigarette packages , by law, have graphic portrayals of cancer and black lungs, to discourage smokers from using them, legal as they are. I did not see any graphic portrayals of maimed and bleeding bodies at an accident scene resulting from drunk driving.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Do

Putting on a new spring outfit is something that nature does very well. And with a bit of photoshop fun, the ornamental cherry trees can also put on a new hairdo!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


It was confirmed tonight that our new lead pastor is Jeff Bucknam. After a two year search, the leader of the flock was found right in the stable among the rest of the sheep. But he is not an ordinary sheep. His gifts have been apparent to us all for quite some time now and by an overwhelming majority, he was affirmed as our new leader. It is a lesson of life that we often do not have to go far afield to find a treasure.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm Seeing Red

Have you ever had to have a plumber come to your home to do a repair? Replace a toilet? Maybe you did it yourself. In any event, you would know approximately how much you would have to shell out to have something like that done. A lot. It seems that all plumbing bills in the future will seem minuscule compared to what the top tax collector in our fair country had to pay for his toilet to be replaced in his office. Please don't spill your hot chocolate onto your keyboard when you see this. It is nice to know that the taxes we pay on our hard earned money go to such good causes. Oh, the bill? Only $45,000.00! No wonder I am seeing red.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Back to Nature

Those two little rants in a row were enough for a while. Back to nature for now.

The Salmonberry blossoms are out in force, trying to attract what few bees there are flying about, braving the cool spring winds. These delicate pink petals have only one purpose, or do they? The bees are not the only creatures that are attracted to bright colours and fruity fragrances. These delicate flowers remind me of my years in Ocean Falls where the mountainsides were blanketed in Salmonberries. We certainly ate our fill, but one of the most amazing sights I ever saw was a swarm of migratory Hummingbirds descending on the bushes on their journey northward. The blossoms must contain sweet nectar and lots of it. The air was thick with hummingbirds swooping from one bush to another, completely unconcerned about us humans gawking at them from an arm's distance. Perhaps they were just famished after a long flight, their tanks empty and lots of free fuel before them.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Only in Canada

Please! Tell me I am not the only one. Can this be for real? This is a sampling of our new Canadian Olympic uniforms for the up-coming games in China. Pyjamas? A pizza accident? And to add insult to injury, they are being made 80% in ...... you guessed it, China! What a blown opportunity to showcase Canadian textiles and fabrics on the world stage. This is a joke in my opinion. And if this isn't bad enough, I heard just this morning that the Canadian Olympic Committee awarded a contract to the USA for a specialised assignment. You would think that Canada would have snow experts, but some guys from Nevada are being hired to study and optimize snow conditions at Whistler for the 2010 games. Have we become so multi-culturalized that we cannot boost our own country anymore?

Friday, May 2, 2008

In The Pink

A poll came out yesterday, in response to the report that wages are going down in Canada. Fully 68% of respondents said they were very concerned that this would adversely effect them and their families. I think they are missing something. Wages do not go down. The average wage can fluctuate. It is the average wage that went down, simply an indication that there are very many entry level positions being created and filled in Canada, a sign, actually, of a very healthy economy. So don't worry, be happy Canadians. We are 'in the pink'. At least until we have to fill our tank.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Connection

My post on April 24th titled 'All Aboard' stated that two interesting things happened to me while working there. It was while working at this house that I experienced the internal blood letting, (previous post) and because the house was under construction, and the driveway was muddy and un-gravelled, I got my little truck supremely stuck. It sank up to the axles and I had to get it towed out. I had parked on a fairly solid footing in the morning, but after a day of down pouring rain, the lane became a bog of quicksand like consistency. I had a difficult time just getting to it. I think it inspired Lionel Ritchie to write "Stuck On You", or was it inspiration to B.J. Thomas who sang "Stuck on a Feeling'? As for me, I am just stuck on what to write next.