Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Lazy Day

I only call it a lazy day because I did not do any physical work. When having my vehicle serviced, I can count on killing at least a half day, so I just took the whole day off. I met some folks I have seen many times in church and visited with them for an hour over a cup of Tim Horton's and also got to meet some of their friends, including a woman who was having her 100th birthday today. Then it was off to do odds and ends that can never get done during the work day. I bought printer cartridges for my new printer for the first time and nearly fell over from the shock of paying $73.00 for one black and one colour cartridge! I then purchased a part so I could repair our stove. Yesterday my 3rd CPP cheque was deposited into my account and today it is all gone plus the tip I was so pleased to get yesterday. At this point the thought of retiring is a joke. Why am I not laughing. If one day off work is so expensive, how will I ever handle 7?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Three In One

Since going digital with my photography, and being able to manipulate the final product, my experience has been that it is rare when a photograph cannot be enhanced with cropping. The top photo was taken in the garden a few days ago and when I looked at it just now, I decided that there were three images I wanted to keep, the original and two cropped. Other than that, I did nothing to them.
A snapshot of my work today revealed two different pictures. My first impression was one of misgiving as I was asked for ID, for the first time ever, when I arrived at a job. It was a one day effort for two elderly widows living in a mobile home. I was viewed with suspicion and mistrust and felt uncomfortable. As the day progressed, I slowly won them over through friendly conversation and concern for one of them when she fell and hurt herself. By the end of the day they were overjoyed with the final result and when I handed them the invoice, they were shocked that it did not cost more. After a half-hearted attempt at turning it down, I walked out with a cheque and a $50.00 tip! We are now buddies and feeling very good about each other. I was not always able to accomplish this sort of outcome, but experience and a developing genuine interest in people has enable me to make the best of almost any situation. I am not boasting for I believe it is God working in my life that has given me much more patience than I had as a young man. Again, two different pictures, one then and one now, but the same original. You might say that I have been cropped.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Why am I tested so? After the Tums took the pain away last night, I vowed I would not repeat such activity again. It would have been of great benefit to be in the wilderness somewhere, with only roots and berries to dine on for lunch. But, no, I happened to work for some very kind and generous folks today. Around 10 am the lady of the house slipped out the front door and returned shortly with a box laden with goodies from the gourmet bakeshop down the street. The wonderful coffee would have been plenty but the big cardboard box contained much more than liquid refreshment. There were two very large sticky buns with white cream cheese frosting, two rather enormous Danish with healthy dollops of tangy lemon in the centre, and two huge cinnamon, brown sugar, and apple Danish that were dripping with liquid brown goodness. As I poured the 18% cream into my coffee, I asked if one of those treats was for me. It was not as forward as it sounds because I thought I had heard her say, when she came in the door, that she brought me a little something. Anyway, her reply was that it was ALL for me! I almost broke into tears, first of gratitude, and then of remorse. I have a fatal weakness for pastries of any kind and now I was being given carte blanche on a whole box of ecstasy. But what saved my bacon was the fact that I had confessed to gross sins last night on my post, and I simply could not repeat those actions. Out of a feeling of obligation (that is a lie) I graciously accepted a Lemon Danish, thinking that although it would still be delicious, it would probably contain the least calories of the three choices. As I continued working after the coffee break, I was being continually tempted as the box was within sight and reach the whole time. After all was said and done, I am very pleased to announce that I restrained myself, but with hugely mixed emotions. What the pretty Poppy has to do with anything is beyond me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Challenge

I was challenged tonight and I must admit that I rose (rose .... get it.... a reference to the picture) to the challenge and came out on top, at least for now. I am not usually one to admit my shortcomings and I take pride in being a disciplined person, but tonight is confession time. The sweetness of my life and one of the better cooks I have been married to, made an amazing pie for dessert tonight and I relished every morsel of the good sized piece she allowed me to have. And then came the challenge. She stepped out for the evening and left me alone with 'the pie'. With little remorse or regret, even now, (ask me at midnight when the heartburn starts) I dove into the pie. As her digestive system does not take kindly to pie, she did not have a piece so there was only one piece missing, the one I had eaten only minutes earlier. I am proud (or ashamed) to admit that there is now only 1/2 a pie left. Before you cast stones, let me tell you what kind of pie it was. Butterscotch cream on a home made shell with whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted almonds and shaved chocolate. I would be posting a picture of it but I am afraid that if I take it out of the fridge one more time, there may be another challenge and there will only be crumbs to photograph. You would much rather see a photo of a rose, wouldn't you?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

House Boat

I considered the pros and cons of living in a houseboat. Or is it on a house boat?
Pros: You could pack up and leave when the neighbourhood turned bad.
You would not have to mow or water your lawn.
You would have no need for a swimming pool in your back yard.
No worries of dry air in the house.
No settling or cracking of your foundation.
No ant problems.
You could fish for your supper while you were heating up your frying pan.

Cons: Possible 24/7 sea sickness in bad weather.
No more packing the groceries from the garage to the kitchen.
No backyard BBQ's.
No veggie garden.
Dampness ..... everywhere, all the time.
Like sleeping on a water bed even on your Sealy Posturepedic.
No place to put your ladder if you have to get on your roof.

There is a charm and a romantic appeal about living on/in one of these beauties but they remind me of mobile homes that have an aura of impermanence about them. Although built for limited mobility, they generally are not moved much, if ever. I think I prefer a solid footing and foundation to my home. But I must make friends with someone who owns one of these so I can come visit and then make a final decision.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ice-cream Trucks

My ears have just been assaulted by the daily ice-cream truck that prowls the neighbourhood, rain or shine. The young lad across the street bought a treat a few weeks back and now our street has been deemed a gold mine in the mind of the ice-cream truck drivers. I have learned to hate "Music Box Dancer" and "Pop Goes the Weasel" almost as much Disneyland's "It's a Small World"! I have to take great care to disassociate those tunes from ice-cream lest I puke every time I see the cold creamy treat. I heard recently that in Britain, or maybe only parts of Britain, these annoying ice-cream trucks have been banned, or at least the music they play has been. I do not see how they could stay in business if they cannot advertise their whereabouts, but I am in favour of the banning in principle. Funny how the children salivate when they hear the sound and the adults just hang onto their money a little tighter, and plug their ears. Let me know if you disagree and if it is just the old codger in me rearing its ugly head, looking for cheap ice-cream and quiet place to eat it.

More Chemainus Murals

Looking at these photos, it is hard to believe that they are all outside walls of buildings. Note the cleverly disguised air vent in the wall just above the driver's head. I should have put a real person in the photo to show perspective. They were much larger than life size.
This may be a representation of the natives of Vancouver Island seeing the tall sailing ships for the first time. There was a Tall Ships Festival in the area this week.

Just up the road from Chemainus is the town of Duncan whose many charms include the world's largest hockey stick, a leftover from Expo '86. Perhaps this mural is a tribute to that landmark.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chemainus Murals

I know I have built the suspense way beyond what it is worth, but here they finally are, the Chemainus Murals, or at least, some of them.

I was impressed to see how well maintained they were. They are detailed even up close and it amazes me how the artist can maintain perspective on such a large scale while working within an arm's length of his 'canvas'. More to come.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fantasy Sailing

I had this rather dull photo of a sailboat that I did not know what to do with when I got a little creative last night and this is the result. Today, after reading a report on the AGORA Financial Symposium being held in Vancouver, I had an idea to link the picture to what is going on in North America these days. Consumerism has finally eaten the heart out of the economy in the U.S. and soon to follow in Canada. When did we as a society decide we could spend our way to wealth and security. Bigger houses, bigger vehicles, more debt, and more spending has not only put people in debt but also the nation. The USA is on the verge of bankruptcy. If you don't understand how this can work, watch the papers or wait for the movie coming out in August called I.O.U.S.A. It is predicted that soon we will all be poorer but wiser and then we get a second chance to get it right, that is to live within our means and actually spend less than we earn. It works for individuals and it works for nations. Meanwhile, we are still on a fantasy cruise on a boat we don't own.
And the pictures of those murals are still coming.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chemainus Tour

Chemainus is well known for its murals and for its live theatre. Above is the beautiful structure which hosts the Theatre Festival and includes a gift shop and restaurant as well as the intimate setting for its live performances. We took in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'South Pacific', an evening of song, dance, and drama. A stroll around town reveals many interesting sites and buildings, such as this old church, St Michael's and All Angels. The photos of some of the town's famous murals are still coming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flowers Outside and Inside

I look forward to my 2o minutes every night when I find a picture to post and rummage around in my brain for a few words to accompany it. Tonight the 'picture loader' was having problems and I had little panic attack. This was a clue to me that maybe blogging is becoming too important. But, I tend to ignore clues and wait for more concrete evidence before charting a new course on something.
By now you have realised that I really get off on photographing flowers. A photo without colour is dull and boring, or can be. The window box above was fastened to a drab beige house so I doctored it a bit.
Below, I was chilling out in my sister's living room admiring her Gladiolas so I grabbed my camera and by snapping a shot, was able to keep them from ever getting wilted and brown. The late afternoon sun gave too much contrast but unlike the weather, we mere mortals cannot control the sun. (Our Premier, Gordon, believes we can change the weather and it will only cost us 2.7 cents per litre of gasoline. It must be magic because it ain't logic.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Genoa Bay

I have no idea who these people are, but I am envious of them. Not because of the fact that they have a dog, or a dinghy. Not because they are going to the harbour side restaurant for a Sunday morning brunch. I am envious of them because of an assumption I made. Who would come off the water in a dinghy to go out for brunch on a beautiful clear and sunny day but someone who has been travelling the waters in one of those big fancy boats in the background of the photo? I am not even envious about the boat. I am envious of the freedom these people have to do something so absolutely wonderful on a day made in Heaven while us landlubbers can only stand on the dock taking pictures of them. Come to think of it, I could be doing that too. All that is required is for me to sell my home and live forever on a boat. It would have to be a rather large boat because I would want my family and all my dear friends to live on there with me. After a few weeks of that I would once again want my freedom back and would become a landlubber again. Ah yes. The human condition .... always yearning for something we do not have and all because that something never satisfies the true longing of the soul.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yellow Can Mean Different Things

The previous post was a tranquil garden surrounded by yellow, this post is adrenalin and excitement surrounded by yellow. The Bugatti Motor Company of France has been known over the years for both style and speed. The second from top picture of a modern day Varyon shows how a vehicle can evolve from the 1926 version in yellow. These are rare cars and whether old or new, hold great appeal for the enthusiast. Crofton Bay is a rather unlikely place to find a rare car such as this, but, there it was.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tranquil Garden

What a delight to stumble upon this peaceful garden in the heart of Chemainus. It was a warm, sunny day and the freshly watered grass, together with the shade from the towering trees made this an idyllic spot. I was mistaken when I thought that all Chemainus had to offer was wall murals. There were plenty of those and I will post a sampling of photos soon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

'57 Chevy and Other Delights

A step back in time to the thirties.

Suicide doors and their shiny handles from the car below.

When I first saw these old cars in the setting of old Crofton, it felt like stepping back in time and I could imagine these cars in the original dull factory colours. The black and white background conjours up the nostalgia that is lost with the shiny new burgundy gloss paint job.

A sunny weekend on the Island is perfect for taking in the local markets. We stopped in Crofton on Saturday morning and besides the local market in the park, there was a bit of a car rally on the sleepy streets beside the bay. The '57 Chevy is probably the most recognisable and popular of all the classic cars of the 50's to 70's era. I never owned one but several of my friends did. It is a good thing that so many have been lovingly restored and preserved because they are true classics.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sail Away

We visited many marinas on the weekend and each time I must say that I felt the 'tug of the sea'. I have rarely been on a small boat, but there is something very appealing about sailing. It could be the freedom it represents, not being bound by highways and stoplights, but still being able to get to beautiful locations. I have a very healthy respect for the water and you would probably recognise me as the one with the life jacket on. The downside of boat ownership is, of course, the constant maintenance and upkeep. Finding accessible and affordable moorage is also a challenge, so I would just a soon befriend a generous sailor and mooch my way on board. A wise man once said that the second happiest day of his life was when he bought his sailboat. The happiest day was when he sold it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Local Motive

There was a local market in Duncan, on Saturday morning, that we took in, before the crowds came. Visitors to the park are greeted by this old steam train that was hauling logs in the forests of Vancouver Island many years ago. The market was interesting because there was nothing there being displayed or sold that was not locally grown or produced. Art, produce, jewellery, soap, soup mix, and baking were all products of Duncan and I believe supporting this kind of enterprise is a good thing. There is a movement to buy locally and I believe it will catch on more as the costs of transporting goods will steadily increase. I believe the term is not herbivores, not carnivores, but localvores. It makes good sense for us and for our local economy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Our garden is a mass of Poppies these days. You would think we were farmers in Afghanistan. Just when you think they are in decline, another batch pops up, hence Poppies. From bud to bloom to seed pod is only a matter of two or three days so it is good that they do not all come due at one time.
I am having trouble finding time to process my pictures from the island but will do so in due time, and I will be posting them as I get to them. My work usually slows a bit in mid summer but not so this year. I can well relate to the inflation that is creeping upon us daily but any slow down in the economy has not yet reached my door. We in B.C. are somewhat immune at the present time and we had better enjoy it while it lasts. Like the Poppies, the bloom can come off rather quickly.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Right of Way

Our little jaunt overseas was very refreshing and relaxing. Here you can see that as we rounded a corner on the first day of our voyage, we encountered a potential threat which we had to scare away with our little horn. The behemoth yielded and we passed safely by. The air was cool and invigorating, the sunshine warm on our shoulders, and salt spray made us feel like modern day pirates. In fact, the real pirate was the B.C. Ferry Corp, who held us hostage as we sailed into Shwarz Bay from Tsawassen. We willingly paid the king's ransom for a few days on Vancouver Island to visit my dear sister and brother-in-law. I would say that it is good to be back in the smoggy Fraser Valley if it were really true.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Rose In The Garden

The Rose is one of the more photogenic flowers in the garden but there are only two times in its short life when it is perfect and therefore photogenic. The first time is when it is a bud, just showing its true colours for the first time. The next time is when it has fully opened and has not splayed its petals far enough apart to look like it is in disintegration. I think I caught this one at its magic moment and in some very attractive light. Life is short, especially in the garden, but true beauty is even more fleeting. I met a client today from 27 years ago. I did not recognize her until she started speaking and her bubbly personality came through to over ride the ravages of an aging body. Inner beauty has no prime and no fleeting life. It is eternal in nature and enduring to the end.
Due to a trip overseas, I will be giving you, my faithful readers a break from enduring my ramblings for a few days. I will leave you with this thought to ponder. "If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where's Tiger?

Tiger is off having knee surgery. There are days when I feel I need it too, not so I can play golf, but so I can walk. And then again, it may just be stiffness of old age. I really should get out on the golf course again. The fresh air and exercise are exhilarating and hitting the odd good shot is a sweetness difficult to describe to those who are uninitiated in the sport. I have many stories of my golfing exploits, most of which are blatant lies. I have stated in a previous post that I am not a good fiction writer so I will spare you. What is true, however, is that I still love the game and will one day play again, good knees or bad. There are golf carts, you know, and they are mostly electric, having very small 'carbon footprints'. But that is a topic for another post.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Did You Have for Lunch Today?

Just two days ago British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was urging everyone to cut down on waste in the kitchen in light of rising food prices and shortages of food stuffs. Then he travels to Tokyo to the G8 Summit and this is what he has for lunch and later for dinner. If you have trouble reading the 24 course menu, click on it to enlarge it. If you still have trouble reading it, it may because you are only used to macaroni and cheese. The topic of the day was the coming world food crisis. Coming!!? Food prices world wide have doubled in the last year. A report just released last week by the UN says that 75% of the increase can be attributed to the fact that a lot of the world's food is being converted to ethanol. All this to save the world from Global Warming! The UN also admitted last week that the overall temperature of the globe has not risen since 2002. My suggestion is to forget about ethanol, which will lower the prices of food, so that when the G8 Summit leaders sit down to their 'over the top' meals, they can do so without guilt.

Summer Days

If you take a stroll along the seawall these days, this is likely what you will come across at Second Beach, over-looking English Bay. The Caribbean-like blue of the pool water is a contrast to the cold Pacific waters just over the barrier. The weather is warm and the sun is pouring down UV like there is no tomorrow. It is very warm without being hot so I am content to be working in an air-conditioned environment these days. However, I would rather be in that pool.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Entire Crop

Yes, friends, this is the entire Sour Cherry crop of 2008. Again, the weather was cool and wet during blossom time. Our other tree, which is much bigger, had a few runty cherries but the birds are eating them as I type. It may be time to do a George Washington on it. I cannot tell a lie. The dilemma now is what to do with one perfectly good, ripe, sour cherry. This may be the last we see of it as the birds are in a frenzy over cherries this year. Maybe they saw the prices at the produce markets. Or perhaps we could go for the new Guinness Record for the world's smallest cherry pie.
This is not a terryography photo, but is borrowed from #1 son who just got himself a new 'kit'. That Canon EOS D40 sure takes a good photo. It should, because after all, it costs almost as much as a pound of cherries!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vancouver Harbour Low Tide

I caught a little item on the news this morning that makes me shake my head. The VPD (Vancouver Police Dept.) are cracking down on Auto theft, vandalism, and content theft in the downtown area. Good on them, but they have an ill conceived plan. They have patrolled the parking lots and after finding autos with unlocked doors or valuables displayed openly in the vehicle, they have displayed brightly coloured warnings on the vehicle to remind the owners of their errant ways. I think they call this prevention. I think that what they have done is take the legwork out of thievery. The good targets, being clearly marked, have now been identified and the burglars and car thieves can go directly to those vehicles which will net them the best and easiest results. One has to think like a criminal in order to beat them. Bad guys one ..... good guys zero, in this little game.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Great Divide

The Berlin Wall, as depicted in the above photo, was the metaphor used in the movie "Expelled". I came away from the viewing last night with many thoughts racing through my head, but the prominent one being that of a mandatory viewing in all schools of North America, and even the world for that matter.
A great divide has been erected in the world of science that separates those with opposing world views. There is no freedom of expression, association, or faith in academia and it is hurting science. The great questions of mankind are not being answered because those that have alternative or creative views of such things as the origin of life, are ostracised and discriminated against. The dogma of Darwinism is the official mantra and woe to those who suggest otherwise.
The interviews are fascinating, enlightening and enraging all at once.
Ben Stein, the principle character and interviewer, had an audience with Richard Dawkins, the prominent British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author of the best selling book, "The God Delusion". After repeatedly asking him if he believed in God, or an intelligent designer of life and the universe, Ben continued to get a more and more emphatic "no" from Mr. Dawkins, who was getting visibly uncomfortable. Ben then asked him how life started. He said he did not know. Ben pressed him and stated that the most important question of all had to have at least a theory. Then with a smirk on his face, Dawkins explains the latest and best theory.
"Life was probably 'seeded' here on planet earth."
"By who", Ben asked.
"By a much more highly evolved civilization from 'somewhere out there'. They had to design a life form that would withstand the rigours of life here on earth."
"And where did they come from"
At this point Mr. Dawkins, the world's most vehement opposition to Intelligent Design, was squirming, realising that he had just contradicted his life's work and believe me when I tell you that it was worth the price of admission for that scene alone.
Go see it and let me know what you think. If you are part of the scientific community, don't let anyone know you were there. You could lose your job.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Something to Crow About

I believe it must be a testament to the intelligence of crows that there were, for the first time this summer, no crows outside my bedroom window in the early morning hours. Obviously, they are capable of reading and are planning a fall back strategy. Our local paper, yesterday, had a front page story on the proposed 'crow cull' for our fair community. I read with surprise and delight that this sort of thing is even contemplated in this day of animal rights and environmental preservationists. The expanding crow population is becoming a concern, not only because of the racket they make that renders alarm clocks useless, but they tend to be very hard on the population of other birds. We have witnessed crow murder of small birds in our own little garden and it is distressing to be quite helpless as it takes place.
As a young lad, I owned a well used .22 calibre rifle and did my best to eliminate as many crows as I could. This action was sanctioned by the town in which I lived as there was a bounty on crows. I am so in favour of this cull that I would gladly pay the city just to take part in it. Crows are intelligent and wily, and that is why they survive so well. But they are not content to feed on McDonald's scraps by the roadside, they much prefer to rob the nests of Robins and small song birds. Every time I hear the guttural and obnoxious feeding sounds, I picture the mother crow stuffing an infant Nut Hatch or House Finch down the throat of her spawn. This must come to an end. It is not often that I fully endorse an initiative from our city council.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Speaking Out

A big thank you to all who have responded to yesterday's post. The post received over 100 'hits' so far and they are still coming. It was # 10 on Google Search for "Morgentaler" last night and I only hope that many letters were written to the MP's of our land. I received many personal emails of encouragement and one of disagreement. I found two separate polls this morning on the issue and at last check the majority of respondents were opposed to the idea. If it goes away, it will because the media do not want the issue to be raised. When the awards are handed out, it will flare up again.

For quite some time now, there has been an uneasy truce between the pro life and pro death camps. It is not that a compromise has been reached, it is just that we as Canadians have a short attention span and do not engage ourselves in prolonged battles. We capitulate too easily. But the issues do not go away. Issues such as gun control, capital punishment, immigration, and Quebec sovereignty. These issues are always just beneath the surface and are waiting for a flash point. If the pro abortion element in this country wanted to pick a fight, they could not have chosen a better way. To a pro lifer, this award leaves a very bad taste in the mouth and indeed gives our country an obnoxious stench in the opinion of many. Perhaps our Governor General could fashion a special medal for Henry as a sort of compromise. It could be called the "Odour of Canada".

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Saved from Henry

I stated in my post yesterday that things in Canada do not always go according to the will of the people and that sometimes justice is lacking. I did not think that on that very day I would come face to face with such a blatant example of both.
A few months ago, the media was testing the waters and asked on an on-line poll, if we would be for or against Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada. I was happy that I had come across this poll and expressed my wish, along with 67% of the tens of thousands of respondents, that, no, we did not want that.
In spite of the controversy and the divisiveness of doing so, the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, headed up by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Dimitri Soudus, approved Henry Morgentaler, the abortionist, for the highest honour one can achieve in Canada.
When I read it, I was shocked and appalled. Mr. Morgentaler has been aborting babies since 1960. For 28 years he was defying the law of the land and also God's laws. Who knows how many children were murdered by his hands in the name of women's rights. After being a thorn in the flesh of the government, he was finally able to influence a change in the law and in 1988 abortion became legal. Does a life dedicated to abortion and the taking of innocent life deserve an Order of Canada Medal? If you think so, ignore this post. I never did want my blog to become a platform for political activism but only the odd 'rant' once in a while. But I just feel compelled to urge all of my readers to write an email to their MP. This is not a decision made by government or any political party, but the MP's are our voice in the business of the nation and if enough letter writers show their disapproval, some MP's voices may be bold enough to ring out against this travesty.
I wrote my MP last night and he responded today, not with a form letter, but with a personal opinion totally agreeing with me.
Go to the following link and find your current MP, click on his name and it will take you to his profile and his email address

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Day 2008

I love Canada! I often rant against the things that are going on that I disagree with. I do this because I see my country as having the potential to be so much more than it is. There have been leaders in our past, and perhaps some even today, that have seemed bent on destroying what we have. Very often the direction Canada takes is not in complete agreement with its citizens. Too often, it appears that common sense takes a back seat to expediency, political correctness, or the lust for power. Our democratic system is not always truly democratic, and our justice system at times is not just at all. The list is much longer, but this is Canada Day and I must say that when I leave Canada, be it for a day or for several weeks, it is always a relief and a great joy to come back home, to my Canada.