Saturday, January 31, 2009

Go Fly a Kite

President Obama sent up a trial balloon on Friday by announcing a "Buy America" policy. This is protectionism raising its ugly head, the fear of many Canadians, before the election. Biggest hit would be our $7 billion steel exports. The policy, while well intentioned for the good of the American economy, may well contravene NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and certainly is going against the G20 talks which called for all nations to take action for the good of the global economy. Protectionism is just a bit selfish. While some of us might want to tell Obama to go fly a kite, we might keep in mind that he said he would "review" the policy. Politicians often say things just to see what kind of reaction they get. I am sure he will get an 'ear full' when he visits our country later in February.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Minority

The election and inauguration of the first African-American President of the the USA has given us all an insight to the length and breadth of racism in our societies. It has been so deeply ingrained in the psyche of the nation that we are now seeing the deep and overwhelming (for some) relief that a nasty chapter in history is finally coming to an end. Or so the perception is. Naturally, as a white Anglo-Saxon, having never lived with or even near a black person or community, I can only observe from a great distance what has been going on in America for generations.
But, racism is not unique to the USA. It is part of the human condition. I live in a community that has large ethnic groups that have immigrated to our country in the last two generations. As I examine my own attitude, I find that my thinking is probably not that different from other's. I suspect that what most call racism is not exactly what the true definition would call for. Racism is believing that some races are superior to others, meaning that discrimination and bad treatment would be based strictly on colour of skin or race. I am sure there is some of that, but when the rest of us have bad feelings toward our neighbours of East Asian descent, it is not a problem with their race, but more of a problem with their culture. Is this as bad as racism? I do not think so.
Every country has developed a culture based on the races of people that have inhabited it. A culture develops with time and eventually an accepted norm surfaces, and all are either comfortable with it or simply give in to it. But recently, as the world has become a global village, there is a mixing of races and more importantly a mixing of cultures. Mixing cultures will naturally clash because the accepted behaviour and even moralities will be different. Each will think they are right because that is how they were raised. So, we live side by side, expecting each other to accept those behaviours that are considered normal. But, we cannot or will not bend our ways and soon we are making generalizations and saying things like, "They are all the same." That is not true. Each person has to be judged on his or her own merits, in all aspects of life. If we do this, racism, or even 'culturalism' will not factor into our relationship with them. We are all made in the image of God, therefore, there must be a whole lot of common ground between us, if we but look for it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bell Road











Willband on Matsqui Prairie

Moments later, this Weeping Willow tree was weeping tears of melted hoar frost.
This is my favourite. The sun is being very selective in what it is highlighting.

Cool and frosty with just a hint of warmth were the frost did not get a foothold.



On a different note. Yesterday I was reading through the details of the budget that was tabled in the House of Commons only hours before. I read the section on tax credits for home renovations and repairs and commented to Lis that is the part of the stimulation package that I would probably benefit from the most. It basically states that anybody can do any kind of home repair/upgrade, apart from regular maintainance, and submit the receipts to get a tax credit for up to $10,000.00 worth of spending, The tax credit would then be 15% of what you spent over $1000.00. Ten minutes later the phone rang and someonse wanted to book me for this benefit. I just confirmed that job this morning so the incentive is already working!



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Other Worldly

Standing in the middle of Willband Creek Park, with hands thrust deeply into warm pockets, it really felt like we were on another planet. The light was flat as the transparent envelope of fog gently lifted and drifted northward. The sun was valiantly attempting to burn through the misty sky but was continually being challenged by more rolling banks of fog.
And everywhere around us stood spiky frost encrusted stems and branches who had been gently touched all night by both freezing temperatures and high humidity. The last time I had photographed this place was last fall, on an early chilly morning, when the spider webs were hanging with dew and the orange light of the rising sun was turning everything to diamonds and rubies. The same flocks of water fowl were there, too lazy to fly south for the winter, but now wishing they had as their webbed feet slipped and slid, trying to find purchase on the glare ice.

At every turn there was a photograph, now into the sun, now with the sun at our backs. I touched a spiked branch as I knelt with my camera, and the silver shards crumbled and floated like dust to the earth in a dry heap. What appeared to be sharp and icy was so transparent as to almost be an illusion.


There have been other times when I was immersed in unnatural light, that condition that a photographer is always looking for, but usually ends up creating on his Adobe Photshop program, but this was one of the best. At one point I released my camera to its neck strap and simply stood in the midst of the rare beauty. All I could do was utter a short prayer, "God, thank you for allowing me to be here, now, with these eyes you have given me to behold your creation."
Tomorrow I will post the last of the frosty photos. Please click on them so you can better see what God did that morning.




Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frost 'n Stuff

There is a limit as to how much I can expound on frost, but when it comes to politics, there are no limits. As you know by now, my comments are often totally disjointed from the photos I post. My comments are also my own opinions and you can agree or disagree, or even totally ignore. Those of you who already ignore these comments are missing the opportunity to have permission. :)
A free market economy is a wonderful thing when left to its natural course. It gives glorious opportunity to succeed, but also gives opportunity to fail. The market will always punish those that make mistakes, or do bad things. Left to its own devices, the market will correct these mistakes and people will learn from them. The big three auto makers have made mistakes. Many mistakes, from top heavy and over paid management, overly rich wage and benefit packages for the employees, to producing a product that the majority of drivers do not want. The 'Big Three' have a choice to make, under normal circumstances. They can correct those mistakes, or they can go bankrupt. But, now we have pressure on government to 'bail out' the 'Big Three' and here is the mistake. Without the fundamentals being corrected, the bail out will be money thrown away. It is the same with the banks (in the USA) who made so many bad loans that they are now asking for bailouts. These 'bad' businesses should be allowed to fall and fail. In their place will arise new and better banks that will thrive in the market place because they will have learned from other's mistakes, and they will be filling a need, because we will always need banks.
Vote for me for King. I can fix stuff! :)




Monday, January 26, 2009

For The Nurses

IRISH MEDICAL DICTIONARY
• Artery - The study of paintings.
• Bacteria - Back door to cafeteria.
• Barium - What doctors do when patients die
• Cesarean Section - A neighbourhood in Rome
• Catscan - Searching for Kitty.
• Cauterize - Made eye contact with her.
• Colic - A sheep dog.
• Coma - A punctuation mark.
• Dilate - To live long.
• Enema - Not a friend.
• Fester - Quicker than someone else.
• Labour Pain - Getting hurt at work.
• Medical Staff - A Doctor's cane.
• Morbid - A higher offer.
• Nitrates - Cheaper than day rates.
• Pelvis - Second cousin to Elvis.
• Seizure - Roman emperor.
• Tablet - A small table.
• Terminal Illness - Getting sick at the airport.
• Tumour - One plus one more.
• Urine - Opposite of you're out

These medical terms have nothing to do with the frost pictures, but it is better that the rant I had planned against Obama. Maybe another day.




Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Frost and Other Things

Last year at this time, we were in Southern California and spent a day at Joshua Tree National Park. As I saw this scene on that frosty morning this week, I could not help but see the resemblance between a frost laden tree branch and a cactus bush. These 'thorns' look deadly but they are quite harmless and fall off easily with the slightest touch. Two different exposures give two different photos.
We hear more talk each day of bailouts and government deficits. This is a result of Keynesian thinking when it comes to economic policy, the idea that if government 'tinkers' with the economy, it will run more smoothly. The idea of government spending, in Keynesian thinking, is to stimulate the economy. The logical conclusion then would be that less government spending would in fact slow the economy down. You cannot have one way working without the other working also. So..... when the economy is getting too hot, too much inflation, why do not the Keynesians slow down government spending to slow down the economy? They don't. They tinker in other ways such as raising the interest rates. The only conclusion we can draw from this is that the massive government spending in both good times and bad is strictly motivated by politics. That is what we are going to see in the new budget this week coming from our Conservative government. Lots of spending, big deficits, and all to bow to pressure from media and the opposition, and why? To save their skins. And that, my friends, is politics.




Saturday, January 24, 2009

Frosty

During the floods only a few days ago, this land was completely underwater. Now the creek bed seems low and if I did not know better, I would say it was a dry winter.
With the fog in the north, and the sun at our backs, the ice caught the light in spectacular fashion. I am saving the better ones for later.

Here is Andrew, the real photographer, giving perspective to the photo. My battery does poorly in the cold so I ran out of juice before he did and as a result he has more photos than I do. When he is done processing them, I will treat you all to some of his. I just know they will be better. But then again, he copyrights them and he may not want them on my very public blog.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Gas Liquid Solid

After the snows and floods of the last several weeks, we have had cold and clear weather. The sunshine has been wonderful, but the clear skies have resulted in cold and foggy nights. To the west of us there has been continual fog, day and night, for many days now. A result of the fog in the low lying areas has been an incredible display of nature, and the early morning, today (Jan. 22), revealed a display of hoarfrost like I have never seen before. Andrew and I were out in the early morning, while it was still cold, but after the fog began to dissipate. We were treated to the photo opportunities that I will be posting in the next few days. When the moisture in the air condenses on cold objects, you would think that it would simply freeze into tiny droplets, or a sheen of ice. But when it does what it did today, it simply takes the breath away! The spikes of frost are very fragile and when I touched it, it fell down like dust. It is very dry. Had there been even a breath of wind, this display would have been gone in an instant. As it was, as the sun rose higher, the frost started to fall gently to the ground and melt. The opportunity was there for an hour and then gone. Enjoy the photos over the next few days and click on them to see them larger.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Huh?

I caught the Canadian news just after the Presidential Inauguration the other day. It seems there is much euphoria on both sides of the border. Time will tell how the Obama administration will treat Canada. There are some indications that it could be nasty, trade-wise. But leave it to the young college students who were being interviewed, to get caught up in idealism.
Three comments I remember: A young woman said, "It is so wonderful! Everyone will get to live in a more socialistic society now. It will be better for everyone."
Another one was by a young man who said, " It is wonderful that America has its first African American President. Maybe some day Canada can have its first African American Prime Minister"
The third was by an articulate and attractive young woman who said, " Now there is a black president, and next there will be a woman President"

Friends, these are the future leaders, or maybe, hopefully, just voters, of our country. If the wishes all come true, Canada will have a black female Prime Minister who is a socialist. Before you shake your head or laugh (or cry), we are already there. Consider this. Michealle Jean is our true head of state as we are a Constitutional Monarchy, and she is the Queen's representative, who our Prime Minister is ultimately responsible to. She is black and she is a socialist.
We beat the Americans to the punch. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

44th

In front of more than 2 million people, Obama was sworn in yesterday as the USA's 44th President. I may have watched an inauguration in the past, but I cannot recall. It was a simple but eloquent ceremony, and had there not been such a huge audience, it may have gone unnoticed by many. Or would it have? After all, this happens every four years, does it not?
I was left with several very strong impressions, but remember, I am a Canadian and as such, am looking in from the outside.
1. The new President comes across as being confident, cool, and self assured. He was mis-cued on his oath, but it didn't phase him a bit. Shame on the justice for screwing it up.
2. His speech was articulate, and I suppose, to Americans, inspiring. There were huge expectations for him to top some of the other famous presidential speeches of the past.
3. There were shades of Martin Luther King there in abundance. There were many references in the ceremony, and his speech, to remind us all that he is the first African-American president and equality has come a long ways.
4. It was made abundantly clear that America is still a Christian Nation, if calling on God was any indication. I find it strange that there are prayers and supplications for God's protection and guidance for America, and yet there is a concerted effort to rid the nation of God and all things Christian. (not at the inauguration, but in general)
5. His speech was at times taken out of the "Miss America Manual for All Inclusive Speech Writing". Let's see, there was equality for all, an end to war, an end to poverty, an end to global warming, a warning to enemies, and a bit of love spread all around for good measure. Not that any of these is bad. But for goodness sakes, the expectations are high enough, why raise them even higher?

What a job he has ahead of him! I wish him success, but can someone tell me how he can turn the situation around that is portrayed in "I.O.U.S.A.? http://www.iousathemovie.com/

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Too Scary

It was recommended to me that I try to get hold of the movie "I.O.U.S.A." and watch and learn from it. As I was watching the hockey game on Sunday evening I noticed that it was on CBC on "The Passionate Eye". So I watched it and now I am having nightmares. I was already seeing a nightmare just watching my team play poorly and eventually losing. Well, not really, but it was very, very scary. Much better that you watch a shortened version of it than if I try to explain it to you. Understanding and knowledge is power.
You can see it here. http://www.iousathemovie.com/

Monday, January 19, 2009

Test Pattern

I met Ray in church yesterday and he started me on a nostalgia trip. It all started when he commented that he had read my blog post on Sunday and noticed that there was a TV antenna on the roof of 'my house'.
I wonder if that is the same one we had in the late fifties, early sixties. It certainly looks similar. Every home had one and the great height was required because we lived 75 miles from the only broadcaster, of the one and only station, which was in Saskatoon. These antennae also acted as great lightening rods, provided they were properly grounded. Ours was. We were hit, because, remember, we lived on a hill. When the storms approached, we unplugged all the appliances and just waited for the big explosion. It was more like a big bang and never did any damage.
In those early days of TV (black and white only) the broadcasts did not start until mid afternoon so the rest of the time we sat and watched the test pattern. This image is indelibly imprinted on my mind and was actually the inspiration for a sweater my mother knit for me when I was a little kid. It had a tomahawk wielding Indian on the front of it. Today we have HD, 200 channels on 24/7, and brilliant colour and strangely enough a lot of it is not much better than staring at the test pattern.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Childhood Home

In 1996 we took a side trip to my childhood home and that is when I took this photo. The house was built in the mid fifties and at that time was the only new house that had been built in that Saskatchewan town in recent memory. We did not build the garage as that would have been too extravagant for such a humble town.
The small window to the left of the front door was my room. I threw a baseball through that window one time and it cost many weeks of delivering newspapers.
We too had a patch of potatoes in our front yard, but much smaller.
We were on the only hill in town and kids from all over would come to 'ski' down our driveway. As you can see, it was no Olympic event.
We had a rarity in town, indoor plumbing.
Also, immediately behind our hose was the Hospital, no longer there. This came in very handy for our family as my mother could cook and clean right up until the last contraction before dashing next door to deliver the latest baby.
In 2001 we visited once more and the small trees in the front were giant, so much so that I could not recognize the place until we were in front of it.
My dad paid $6.00 for the lot and the total cost of construction, by one man, was $2500 for all labour and materials. One had to be 'rich' to be able to do that back then, so we got the reputation as the "Rich family on the hill!"
How the mighty have fallen! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fresh Chicken Sandwich


It is three years since I wanted to lay down and die. The feeling did not come immediately, but was preceded by a fear of doing just that. The old familiar pain came, again, without warning and within minutes I was hyperventilating, and then being afraid that I would NOT die. And so it goes when one has a kidney stone attack. The relief that comes when the morphine hits the blood stream is amazing and one can again focus on things other than the mind numbing pain. There is a longer story here to be written about sometime, but for now, I am happy to announce that there is a chance that I have found the solution to the re-occurrence of stones forming in my kidneys. I have the more rare of the two types and it appears as though my body does not process the proteins in red meat very well. I made a simple diet change and for three years now I have stayed away from red meat at least 99.9% of the time. On this three year anniversary, I would like to think the strategy is working.
Because I eat a lot of fish and chicken, I am always looking for innovative ways to do so. The ultra fresh chicken sandwich is intriguing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gas Robbery Re-visited


I predicted, in my New Year's blog post, that we would continue to complain about high gasoline costs regardless of the price. I am hearing it everywhere I go, yet the price is relatively low. I too am perplexed about current prices, and therefore complaining.
The world price has been in decline for some months now and the price of gas has also gone down, but not totally proportionally. This is bad enough. But now, while the world price of oil is hitting 5 year lows and dropped even further today, the price at the pump has increased 22% in the last 10 days, from 72 a litre to 89.
I must give the gas companies credit for being creative in their explanations and justifications for this increase. This is what they say. "The demand for gas is increasing because of its low cost. People are driving their SUVs again and it is putting demand on the supply, therefore the prices are rising."
Now, I am one for market pricing and paying a fair price for a commodity, as long as there is not monopolistic gouging going on. But here is why this explanation just does not make sense to me. The last time I checked, gasoline was refined from crude oil. Crude oil prices are dropping because of lack of demand. There is a connection here. How can demand for something be up, and down, at the same time? I think, in fact I know, that the oil companies are not making much money when the world price is below $40 a barrel. Therefore, they are making up for it by charging more for the refined product, a strategy that has always been based on world prices, but now is not.
It was not that long ago that gas was in the low 60's and there was huge demand. There was no raising prices because of demand then, as eventually the rising world price pushed up the end product. Why is it different now?
We consumers are at the mercy of the collusion of the major oil companies. When will we get organised and boycott one specific brand until that company brings their price down, thus forcing a price war? It is the only way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Keeping Watch

I did not zoom in on the bird in the tree because I did not want to lose perspective in the photo, but that is an American Bald Eagle keeping watch over the fields as the mice scurry across the snow banks, escaping the coming flood waters. Every year we see more of these magnificent birds in our part of the country. They no longer seem to be afraid of civilization and will even nest in a local park here in our city that is constantly frequented by cyclers, skateboarders, and all manner of pedestrian traffic.
There was a time, many years ago, that I had the opportunity to leisurely observe these birds in the wild. I was laying face up on a large flat rock in the middle of a lake, in the middle of nowhere. Above me towered a 3000 ft. granite faced cliff, angled toward the south and facing the sun. It was a cool summer's day, but I knew the rock face was attracting heat because there was a pair of Eagles riding the thermal up-drafts. They would cruise higher and higher until they reached the summit of the cliff and then on cue would lock talons and come tumbling down through the air, seeming to twist and roll out of control. Then, half way down, they would suddenly unlock, spread their massive wings, and glide to the nearest thermal for the elevator ride back up. It was thrilling to watch two wild creatures, just having fun and enjoying each others company, all the while never flapping a wing or exerting any effort. It was a Wilbur and Orville moment for me.

Bailout

This sign employs a nice play on words, and if the milk is not legendary, at least January of '09 will be. This farm needs a bailout.
The word bailout has become part of every one's vocabulary in the last few months. Its origins are in the world of boating and speaks of removing something that should not be there, namely the water that is sinking the boat. But today it has become a fiscal strategy to put something into a business when it is sinking, namely money. Businesses can fail for a variety of reasons, as they can succeed for a variety of reasons. If a business is under-capitalized in a growing economy, an infusion of cash via share offerings or a line of credit with a bank would be a good strategy. This is not generally done by government because it is not the role of government in a free market society. The main reasons why a business fails are because of poor management, over leveraging (high debt), or a dried up market. The first two reasons can be dealt with and rectified. The third is a little tricky because there are various reasons why a market dries up. If you have a product or service that the public no longer requires, needs or wants, you are in trouble. If it IS a product or service that is needed, but people are holding back on spending, there is not much you can do except to weather it out and hope money will be freed up in the future and your business will pick up.
We have governments on both sides of the border bailing out businesses that should be allowed to go 'under'. For example, if nobody is buying new cars anymore, how is throwing billions at the auto industry going to improve business. In our province, the lumber industry is big but it is in the dumps right now because nobody is buying lumber because nobody is building houses, because nobody is buying houses because the prices are falling and those in the market are waiting for the best deal. How is throwing money at the lumber industry going to save it?

If bailouts are about saving businesses, it is doomed to failure. If bailouts are about keeping people afloat financially, why not give the money directly to the people? In a free market economy, business has the opportunity to both succeed or fail. When it succeeds it does not want to be penalized. It should neither want help when it does not succeed. If the opportunity to fail does not accompany the opportunity succeed, then government intervention is nothing but welfare for the rich. Our nations are willing to mortgage the future generations with massive debts instead of letting the market run its natural course and weed out the businesses that do poorly in hard economic times. This always get rectified with time. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but the medicine tastes terrible and works quickly. The way things are going now, the poor patient is on life support and will be for many years to come.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Salesmen

Click on the picture so you can read the sign. I thought the sign rather unnecessary at the time, but perchance a rubber boat salesman could have happened by, he would have been justified in ignoring the sign.
Since we registered on our national DNCL (telephone Do Not Call List) the number of calls soliciting for various things has not dropped at all. The rules state that if a company had a relationship with you in the past, they could bypass the list and call you. Also, charities and political parties are exempt. These exceptions are now becoming the rule. Any bank, car dealership, credit card company and charity I have ever dealt with is calling me more than ever. But I discovered something. These entities also have 'do not call ' lists that you can be put on by request. So now I politely ask if I can be put on their list. They have been, as a rule, very obliging about it and the calls are now on the decrease. Of course, in some cases, it is not wise to cut off the relationship. I still want my bank to notify me when the NSF cheques arrive. :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Last Look, We Hope

There are still a few small piles of it left, but this scene on our street is now a just a memory. I will not re-visit it.
I have been doing some reading concerning the Hamas/Israeli conflict in Gaza. The beauty of the Internet is that one can access sources of information other than mainstream media.

There is a reason that, generally speaking, world opinion is not on Israel's side. I think that there is a concerted effort on Israel's part to get more information out to the public that defends their position and could turn the tide of that opinion. There are some things that you will not hear well publicised regarding the current conflict, but could influence one's thinking about the situation.

The Hamas, a militant faction that has taken over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, knows for a certainty that they cannot win a fighting war with Israel. Their strategy, therefore, is to garner sympathy for their cause and turn public opinion against the Israeli's. That people around the world fall for this, as demonstrated by the well supported protests held by pro Arab rallies around the world, is quite remarkable. The Hamas are a recognised terrorist organisation and yet they get public support even here in North America.

Their favourite method for discrediting Israel is to flaunt the civilian casualties via world wide media. You will rarely if ever hear why there are civilian casualties in the first place. You will rarely if ever hear that Israel sent thousands of text messages and emails and cell phone calls to people all over Gaza, days before the air strikes, warning of impending attacks. You will rarely if ever hear about the tons of leaflets dropped from planes warning people of Gaza to remove themselves from any proximity to any Hamas terrorists or their strong holds. You will rarely if ever hear about how Muslim Mosques were storehouses for weapons and munitions and not houses for prayer. You will rarely if ever hear about the truckloads of food, medicine and water that Israel is sending into Gaza as she suffers for the sins of its terrorist leaders. You will rarely if ever hear how the school that was struck by Israeli fighter planes was loaded with explosives, and Hamas soldiers sent to the rooftop to fire rockets, thereby enticing attacks. The resultant damage and death was a macabre and cruel trick both on the Israeli's, the citizens of Gaza, and on world opinion.

Israel has been bombarded continually with rocket from within Gaza, putting fear and terror into the hearts of all living within range. Israel is putting a stop to it now. It is destroying the tunnels that run under the Egyptian/Gaza border, whose purpose it is to smuggle arms and munitions, it is targeting the Hamas leadership, and it is temporarily occupying the land from which the rockets are being fired. A Nation has the right to defend itself.

I read one every interesting analogy: Imagine a renegade northern province of Mexico defying the national authority of the Mexican government. They smuggle in arms and munitions from Cuba and Nicaragua. Then they demand from the USA that all lands taken from the Mexicans in the past, (California, Texas, and New Mexico) be returned. The USA does not give in to their demands so they begin to lob mortars and rockets into those three states, occasionally hitting shopping malls, schools and private homes. Each time there is "incoming", the US citizens would get 15 seconds of "RED ALERT" warnings. Everyday would be a day of fear and uncertainty. Do you think for one minute that the USA would stand by and allow this to continue? I think not.

The bottom line here is that when fanatics and radicals take over a government, they are not concerned with what the ordinary citizenry wants. I believe the average Palestinian wants peace and security. They want work and safety. They do not want themselves or their children to be killed or maimed. They are also afraid to speak out. Because the ultimate goal of the radical Muslim movement is the total annihilation of the all Jews, this conflict will continue in spite of the wishes of the average mom and dad and grandparent in those nations. I give so much credit to a young Arab girl in Gaza who lost her 4 year old sister in a bomb blast only days ago. She spoke the words that all of her people should have the courage to say. She said, "Hamas is responsible for all of this. They are responsible for all this war."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Better Than Rain?

video

To keep our flood woes in perspective, here is a clip that helps us to decide which is better, snow or rain.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Trees Wore Diamonds

The recovery from the back pain is going well, much better than hoped. It has been a good decision to keep working and moving. Why is it that I am so pleased with myself when I can get through something like this without meds? A number of reason I think. Keeping any kind of drugs out of the body has to be good thing. Besides the possibility of becoming somewhat reliant on them, my experience has been that anti-inflammatories do a number on my stomach, even when taken with food. I like to know exactly where my body is at in the healing process and pain is one way the body communicates that. Naturally, when it becomes unbearable, something has to be done, but overall, if one can take the pain, it can be helpful to prevent further damage. It tells you where the limits are for the type of injury that has occurred.
That was free medical advice and worth about the same amount of money. I know of several nurses who read this blog and if they are not laughing too hard right now, they can throw darts via the comments tool on this blog.

Friday, January 9, 2009

As in the Days of Noah

The Central Fraser Valley is split in two by the Clearbrook escarpment. Today I toured both the south and the north side of the valley, two areas that are both prone to flooding. These first pictures are of Sumas Prairie, which extends down to the US Canada border. Today the border crossing was not letting big trucks through because Whatcom County in Washington State is flooding. There is not much snow left, but because this is a prairie, the snow usually blows and drifts in the low spots and there is not usually a big accumulation. Here is a farm right along the Trans Canada Highway that is getting very wet.
This is the location of a nursery that started up recently. All the new shrubs and treelings were either blown over by the wind or partially underwater. Perhaps he could change up to an aquaculture business in the near future.

Here is Hogan Park that usually has a quiet meandering stream flowing through it in the summer time. It is about 12 ft. above the banks of the Sumas River. There is a dike on either side of it, one being the road, for situations such as this.


This is the other end of the park. Visitors here in summer think the sign is a joke. I have taken many extreme weather photos here. Everything from the massive Weeping Willow trees blown over in the wind, to silver thaws (ice storms).



Days of Noah Part 2

This is in the north half of the Central Fraser Valley called Matsqui Flats. Here too the snow melt and heavy rains flooded a lot of farmland.
When the pioneers settled here many years ago, I am sure they did think they would be classified as Lake Front Property. I think we could raise these people's taxes.

The water had receded somewhat by the time I got there but was still very high. There were no homes flooded here and it looks worse than it is. These lands are mainly for growing blueberries and for grazing dairy cattle. The water leaves a few days after the rains halt. This area is only a few kilometers from the Fraser River and it will drain quickly.


Back to Sumas Prairie, this is a roadside ditch full to overflowing. Only two days ago, these ditches were level with snow drifts and the visibility on the adjoining freeway was zero, with traffic stopped in both directions. True blizzard conditions to flooding in 48 hours.



The Fraser Glen golf course will not be seeing any golfers for some time, unless of course, they have scuba gear. Almost all 18 holes were under water.




Thursday, January 8, 2009

Man the Life Boats


Our local Emergency Flood Center opened today. No wonder. Not only are the rains pelting down, but the warm wind and rains are melting the snow at unprecedented rates. Although our own property is saturated, it somehow seems to keep absorbing more, like those Bounty paper towels they advertise on TV. I can't believe that all the snow of the last three weeks is almost gone!
It was back to work today after a rather long period of rest. I call it rest, but it was unemployment. After the sore back of the day before, I awoke with so much pain in my lower back that I could not reach down to pull on my socks. So I went to work with no socks. Just kidding. I did get them on after walking for a few minutes to limber things up. I slept very little as every toss and turn brought a new twang of agony. However, it was a good decision to get working instead of babying the back. By noon I could almost walk upright and I stopped grunting like a chimpanzee. At 2 pm I was able to take the back brace off and actually bend and pick things up. (Mostly food)
I guess it is like a cold. It will run its course so you might as well just carry on. Resting just makes it stiff and even more sore when I do move, as I found out tonight watching the hockey game in almost one long stretch.
Oh, and we did win the game, but I was not able to do my little victory dance. Maybe next game, on Friday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Change in Fortunes


I was feeling a little sorry for myself yesterday, but having just said that I would live one day at a time, I was contradicting myself. How quickly circumstances can change! After 10 rings, I finally got to my cell phone which I had inadvertently left off both Sunday and Monday. This is a bad thing when you are in business. It was Gerry's last attempt to reach me and he was about to hang up. Long story short, with the exception of 3 days next week, I am set for work for almost two months now. This is the good news.
Yesterday it was pouring rain, and naturally, the water was finding it difficult to drain with all the snow and ice around. I got home and found that my driveway was covered and the water was creeping toward my house. I got out the shovels and spades and chipped away at the ice in the gutter along the road until I came to the storm sewer and triumphantly watched as the water gushed away from my house. There was a price to pay. I was soaked to the skin, a temporary discomfort easily rectified, but was bent over and almost limping from a twisted back. Imagine after all the shovelling I have done over the last three weeks without injury, I hurt myself on the last swing of the shovel for the season. Now I am concerned about working tomorrow with a sore back. (Notice I am not giving myself any other option) :-)