Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
I was not sure why I was almost getting depressed about everything and was so looking forward to a bit of time away, and then I was 'Tagged' by my daughter and now I know why. 'Tagging is a blogger thing that bloggers do to each other. They will answer a series of questions and then 'Tag' some of their readers and then the person who is 'Tagged' is supposed to answer the same group of questions on his/her blog. It is a way of getting to know other bloggers better. So I started looking at the questions and suddenly realized why I need a holiday. Here it is in all its patheticness.
10 years ago today: I have no idea. All the years blend together. I think I had less pain.
Yesterday: Same as today and the day before that. I got up, I went to work, I came home, I slept.
Tomorrow: Same as today. I will get up, go to work, come home, and then sleep.
Five snacks I enjoy: Can't snack 'cause I will gain weight.
Best impression that I do: Kermit the Frog
Five things I would do with $1 million: Nothing I haven't done before, just more of it.
Five locations I would like to run to: Only five?!
Five bad habits I have: Only five?!
Five things I love doing: Snacking, running to my favourite getaways, indulging in my bad habits, spending a million dollars, and doing my Kermit the Frog impression.
Five things I would most likely never wear: A turban, a fez, a burka, a parachute, and a bra.
Five movies I like: The last five I saw. (I like movies)
Five famous people I would like to meet: What would be the point?
My biggest joys at the moment: My grandsons, my faith, my books, my computer, my friends.
My favourite toys at the moment: My Nikon D5000 DSLR, my computer, and my paper shredder. (Just kidding)
Now that you have seen how exciting my life is, is it no wonder that I need a holiday?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
We were dining in the Flamingos, the open air restaurant that faces the sunsets and the open waters of Banderas Bay. The food and beverages were delicious, the company and conversation were stimulating, and balmy early evening ocean breezes were cooling our skin after a day in the hot sun. The tinkling of glasses and distant clatter of dishes were all that remained of our dinner and it was soon time to make a decision. Our friendly Mexican waiter made one last attempt to refill our coffee cups and departed with an amiable "Amigo" greeting. Should we take a stroll along the beach as the last vestiges of the sunset were spreading their reflection on the water, should we wander about the impromptu market that sets up around the main pool each evening, or should we take in the Latino show that will grace the entertainment bowl that night? There was no wrong choice.
But, the reality was that I was still in my bed at home, a whole week to go, and six days of hard work ahead of me. This dream has given me serious second thoughts. I think I have made a big mistake. I know I have made a big mistake. I should have booked two weeks instead of one!
Monday, January 25, 2010
The whole process started last August when we called the salesman to give us an estimate on the new doors and windows. We were sure we would be done by Christmas but one window and one door were ordered the wrong size and type so we waited until just last Thursday to finalize the project. I am pleased to announce that all is done and meets all our expectations. The issue of the steel door that was wrongly installed has been resolved and the only issue now is the missing latch from our storm door on the outside of the kitchen entry. When the guys un-installed the door in December, the latch must have been swept up with the debris and tossed out because we cannot find it anywhere. I will have to scrounge for one at a second hand store or rig something up in my work shop.
I have been a very light sleeper most of my adult life and will awaken during a storm, or if there is unusual noise near our house. I suppose it is the noise that does it because our house is now so air tight and quiet that I am sleeping right through the night. There was a violent wind storm here last week and I never heard a thing. Then the fire at the end of the block last week, with people on our street watching from a distance, and I was totally unaware. Not sure yet if this is good or bad.
Our heating bill decreased with the new energy efficient furnace we installed in August, and now in the month of February, we will get the first true result of the savings with both furnace and windows installed and doing their efficient thing. I am actually looking forward to getting a bill. I can't believe I just said that!
The next step is to get our house re-evaluated with another pressure test and then fill out the paperwork for all the rebates, grants, tax credits, and kick-backs. It was an expensive project but with all the refunds, the lower heating costs, the added value, and the increased comfort, it was all worth it.
Next project? Two actually. Get my dad's place up to date so we can put it on the market and when the weather warms up, paint our own house on the exterior. Without a project, I will have nothing to blog about.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Nothing changes except for the creative ways in which we, the public, are being convinced that somebody is doing something about our safety. Thousands are killed every year by drunk drivers and yet there is not nearly the effort to curb this kind of behaviour as there is effort to curb the destruction of an airplane that would result in the loss of a few hundred lives. I suppose one life lost at a time does not have the impact of 200 lost at one time.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When I get a call for work, rarely is the person I am talking to not a complete stranger. I glean what I can from the call, the person's voice, a little bit about the nature of the job, and a phone number with address so I can visit the site, give advice and a free estimate of the work required. It is always an adventure driving up to the address, ringing the doorbell, and seeing the customer face to face for the first time. I am often surprised at the age of the person as it is very difficult to tell by a voice over the phone.
But, beyond that, I never know what kind of home I am about to enter. About a week ago I was greeted at the door of a condo on the third floor of a building I was totally unfamiliar with. She was a single lady in her fifties, short, plump, thick glasses, and looking very nervous. When I had spoken with her on the phone, I remember having had a difficult time understanding her. Not only did she have some sort of strange accent, but she phrased her sentences in an unusual way. I was expecting to see an Oriental lady, or maybe someone from the Middle East.
I was able to eliminate Oriental immediately. I knew I would eventually ask her where she was originally from, that is, if it did not come up in conversation.
She bid me come in and promptly backed up to make room for me. The aromas from her cooking breakfast hit me but otherwise the place smelled clean. I took one glance from the tiny entry and was able to survey the kitchen, the dining room, and the adjoining living room. It was a sea of clutter. There was a tiny space in which the two of us stood while she rambled on and on about her decorating ideas.
"This is how all my ideas started" she said as she pointed to the kitchen and the three blenders and two food processors pushed into a corner on the counter top to make room for a bread maker, coffee maker, can opener, and several rows of canisters and cookie jars. There were pots and pans, stacks of clean and dirty dishes, bottles of water and juice, bags of pasta, loaves of bread, an opened and half used carton of eggs, and various other kitchen items that should have been stored in the refrigerator or in the cabinets, had they not already been stuffed to the point where the doors were standing half open, unable to close.
"I want to build more cabinets here where the little kitchen table stands. Then I can get rid of the table and chairs and eat off the top of the new cabinet"
I am thinking that really all she needs to do is get rid of stuff.
She rambled on for almost an hour before she got to the part that involved me in her impossible dream of making her space habitable.
She could only point to the area where I was to work as there was no way of getting there, physically. She then, stepping gingerly sideways, took me into her bedroom and the adjoining tiny bathroom where there was not even room to change one's mind. Again, her idea was to change the colour on the wall to give the illusion of space.
I was beside myself and could stay silent no longer. I told her in as nice a way as possible, that there was no way anything could be done in her suite the way things were at the moment. I blurted out that she simply had to get rid of a lot of her stuff.
"The best and most effective way of giving the illusion of space is to actually make space", I stated in the most professional voice I could muster.
"How about mirrors?" she countered.
"I'm sorry, but that will just make it look like you have twice as much stuff. In fact, I cannot do what you want me to do here until there is room to at least get to the walls."
She seemed a bit sad and hesitant. She then told me she was from Quebec and there she had nothing so all her things meant so much to her.
But then she perked up and started thinking out loud about who she could give this to and where that could go.
My morning was getting eaten up so I excused myself and asked her to call me back when she got rid of at least 1/2 of her clutter.
She thanked me profusely for the advice and seemed actually excited about the new challenge ahead of her.
Yes, she did call me back and it seems she wants me to come to do the work in mid February.
I will get back to you on just how well this went. In the meanwhile, I am going to have to lose some weight just to get in there again!
Monday, January 18, 2010
At the time, he was getting over the swine flu, but there was another issue he was dealing with. He had, only last summer, experienced a 'neurological event'. Today he tells me that what he had was a stroke. All the testing, poking and prodding has been done and it is determined that if he does not lead a very healthy lifestyle from now on, he could be hit again, only this time with much more devastating results. He has not worked for a 1/2 a year and will not be going back any time soon. When he does, it will start at 4 hours per day and work up to maybe three days a week. His future is very uncertain now to say the least. He is much younger than I am and that makes me grateful that I have reached the age I have without a similar experience.
He was able to tell me of a few positive benefits which have arisen as result in this event in his life and that tells me that he is not very stressed about it. That in itself will serve him well. His future is a life of taking things one day at a time and being grateful for every moment.
I told him that he is fortunate to have found this great secret to life before it was too late.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
His wife, Carol, is a delight. She is conversant on any topic and has an intelligent opinion on everything without being shrill. Her hot button is travel and indeed, she was on the phone and the Internet most of the time we were there, booking her next trips. She travels at least 4 times a year and has been in 120 countries. Her next trip is to Brunei and Borneo. She and her girlfriend travelling companions have had some real adventures over the years. Nothing scares them except, perhaps, sitting on the beach in some well travelled resort.
And their ages? They are both 80! I guess 80 is the new 70.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
He also brought me a book and asked me to read it, which I have done. The book is "Transforming Encounters" written by Henry Teichrob from right here in Abbotsford. There are many locals who have written their biographies, many of them having come from very tumultuous circumstances, before they came to Canada. This is not really a biography, but more an account of a dynamic period of time in the life of the church. Henry was a key player in a genuine revival that took place in the seventies and spread throughout many parts of Canada and the USA.
Through an interesting accounting of how he, and his wife Freda, came to be involved, he goes on to tell of experience after experience how both Christians and non -Christians came to be free from what he calls 'self-life'. It is really a treatise on being free in Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through the believer. He documents many testimonies and and they are all, every one, remarkable. If a person were ever in his life to wonder if there is more to Christianity than what they are experiencing, this is a book for them. I found it encouraging, insightful, inspirational, interesting, instructional, and quite well written. When I see all the books flying off the shelves in the local Christian Bookstore by authors such as Yancy, Eldridge, Colson, and Lucado, I wonder why Henry's book is not a best seller also.
Thank you, Jack, for the book. I will now do as you asked and pass it on to someone else, and if they return it like I will request, it will get passed on again.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
There are many countries around the world that need help. Their people live in abject poverty, their governments are corrupt, and hopelessness and fear are a way of life. These countries are ignored. There are so many of them and so few resources with which to help. We wring our hands and say how terrible it is that people have to live that way and then we go to Tim Horton's for our daily coffee and gossip session.
But then something changes. A tsunami comes out of the blue, a volcano erupts, or a major earth quake hits. Suddenly, the world wakes up to the tragedy and aid pours in, mostly from the USA, the UK, and Canada, but help arrives, and it should.
The people of Haiti will get some housing re-built, roads will be repaired, food will be provided and the injured and maimed will get some relief, probably short term. And in a few months or years what will be left will be a few NGO's (non governmental organisations) doing what they were doing before. They will be fighting poverty, child abuse, neglect, disease, malnutrition and disease. A new born baby will be abandoned at the orphanage, it will be cared for, and then a caring compassionate family from Canada will adopt and give it a new life in a free and wealthy country. The biological mother of the child will again get pregnant and will again abandon the baby at the orphanage and the circle will go on.
It is no wonder we turn a blind eye. We like permanent solutions. We want to fix it once and for all and then move on to the next problem that we can have a crack at solving.
'Power To Change' is taking a fresh approach in Guatemala. There are teams of professional men influencing government and business leaders in that country. They are showing them that justice and morality is a win/win. The 'flavour' of a country comes from the top down. When the leadership understands that every one will be better off, including themselves, then corruption is cleaned up, and a real change can take place.
Haiti needs a good dose of this kind of help after the Hercules cargo jets leave for home.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Tropical Ice Sculpture courtesy of Flikr.com
What do you think of when you conjure up images of Central America? Heat, humidity, tropical temperatures, ceiling fans swirling lazily in hot room, warm rain, and perhaps humming air conditioners? Read this from my cousin whose daughter lives in Guatemala.
Be on alert for intense cold in Guatemalalunes, 11 de enero de 2010Monday, January 11, 2010The National Coordination of Disaster Reduction has placed a "yellow" alert for the intense cold in almost all of Guatemala. The cold will get worse over the next few days.Sacatepéquez, Quetzaltenango, Quiché, Totonicapán, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Sololá, Alta Verapaz y esta capital, éste de la municipalidad.For the people that have very low resources (housing etc), this organization will open 15 shelters in various places. (as listed above)According to the National Institute of weather, the temperatures will descend even more on Monday and Tuesday, and may begin to rise on Thursday.For the moment, the city of Guatemala "woke up" this morning with a temperature of 8 degrees. (46 F)They are estimating that for the regions that are 3000 meters above sea level, temperatures will be below zero.----------------------------------------------------------------------*This may not mean much for many of you, but please remember to pray for the Guatemala people. Many of which live in shacks and very poor housing facilities. And there are also a lot of people that live on the streets. There is NO heating in the houses and the wind usually blows between the gaps between the windows and the walls. It is COLD!
Help us, Al Gore, we are confused!
Monday, January 11, 2010
After several attempts, we got a couple to come join us but first rewarded them with a wonderful salmon steak dinner. After that, how could they not join us? But, it was pre-arranged so they were good with the plan. We drove the few blocks and were anxiously looking forward to our clandestine adventure. I say that because we do not actually live in the building so we were technically uninvited guests, or moochers, as some would call us. But we were also technically entitled to be there because I am on the title of ownership of my dad's condominium and as an owner, I could use all the facilities.
All our plans and anticipation were stopped dead in their tracks as we approached the door to the hot tub room. It read "Sorry, out of order". Disbelieving, we entered to see for ourselves and much to our dismay, it was stone cold and had a garden hose running water into it. It was truly pouring cold water on a hot idea. We are now more determined than ever to use it. It will easily hold 6-8 bodies. Any takers?
Sunday, January 10, 2010
She does not look Korean, but she practically is. My cousin Bonnie raised her family in the USA and then she and her husband Larry tootled off to Korea where they have been for the last 13 years. I had not seen her since our high school days together in the seventies and then one day she showed up at our garage sale! That was about two years ago. We heard she was in town yesterday and promptly invited her and her parents in for coffee and chocolate cheesecake. These are two amazing ladies. Louise is 90, and she will probably be reading this so I must be careful. She is one of those rare people who are teenagers trapped in an aging body. She is by far one of the sharpest, cleverest, wittiest and just downright nicest ladies I have ever known. In spite of living with pain, she keeps a youthful vigour about her and her enthusiasm is very catchy. I have only the greatest admiration for her. I see many similarities in Bonnie and the aging process has only enhanced those qualities in her that I admired so while we just teens. One of the things that makes her so endearing is her genuine interest in others. In fact, I feel guilty now that I allowed her to divert so much attention to us, and as a result, I feel we must get together again soon so I can reverse that situation and get to know her better.
As for Uncle Jack, I will save some thoughts for another post as he gave me a book to read and he wanted some feedback from me. I will only say for now that he considers himself as an 'over ripe teenager'.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Having been a lawyer himself, his books tend to be about lawyers. "The Associate" is no different. It takes the reader into the world of a brilliant law student and his first experience working with one of the largest law firms in the USA. There is a mantle of blackmail and intrigue surrounding his experience and he deftly tries to extricates himself from a very sticky situation. It makes one very cynical about the legal profession, but then there is a built in bias in all of us in that regard. It was a bit more satisfying than "The Appeal", which left me cold and tossing the book in the corner.
"Ford County" is proving to be interesting and diverse. I am half way through and will definitely finish.
My favourite story of his has nothing at all to do with the practise of law. It is the "The Painted House". My second favourite, "Playing for Pizza" is strictly about Italian football. So, why do I keep reading Grisham? I guess I am waiting for another novel from him that is not about lawyers.
Friday, January 8, 2010
This last week, Liam, 15 months old, graduated to sitting still for a whole children's book. Chad, 9, continues to read at a level way beyond his age. His vocabulary and knowledge on so many different subjects are a testament to his love of reading. And Nate, 11, and in grade six this year, was tested and found to be reading at a grade twelve level. Just to top that off, he was also on the 'honour roll' and the 'effort roll'.
We always hear from educators that reading to children is one of the best things you can do for them. We have proof that they are right!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Abby Monastery in Mission
I have raised the topic of the 'Emerging Church' with many people and I get a lot of blank stares. At best, they will say that they have heard the expression but admit that they do not know what it is . If one is not a Christian, and does not attend church, then it does not have any meaning or significance and is not an issue. For those of us who are Christians and do attend church, it is an issue of major significance and will sooner or later influence our thinking and our way of understanding the gospel, if it has not already.
I certainly do not claim to be an expert on this topic but it is of enough concern to me that I have been prompted to look into it. In my previous post, I made reference to the conversation I had on this topic as a result of a CD that was loaned to me. The Catholic monk (on the CD) was describing the emerging church and indeed promoting it. There is too much information to cover in a simple blog post, but it seems to be evident that two of the pillars of the new face of Christianity are universalism and ecumenism. For the uninitiated, universalism is the idea that all religions are true, valid, and lead the seeker to God. Ecumenism is the movement to amalgamate all denominations into one unified body, in particular, protestant and Catholic. The objective of promoting these two pillars of faith is to create a heaven on earth for all, through our accomplishments as a united front.
This movement is gaining momentum and is fraught with dangers. It is cloaked in well meaning sentiments and the familiar language of 'Christian speak' and its effects are being felt world wide. My personal belief is that there will be few Christians who will not succumb to its subtle apostasy because of its lofty ideals and because of the powerful and influential people it has drawn into its leadership.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Consider yourself at the beginning of time. There has been zero time before you were suddenly aware of your existence and one of the first things you want to do is keep track of time so you invent the calendar on day one of your existence. You have a choice what year you will write on your calendar, above where you write January 1. Would you put a 'zero' there because there has not yet been any time, or would you put one there because it is the first year? I think most people would agree that there was not a year zero, but there was a year 'one', or the first year.
If you called the first year 'One', then there had to be ten years passed before a decade was over and a new one began. Year two was called 'two' etc. When ten years had passed, the first decade was over and the very next year was the beginning of the new decade and that would be year 'Eleven'. (Count them on your fingers if you have to.) Therefore, our new decade starts in 2011, next year. We are really only in the tenth year of the present decade.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Any time at all, between today and next Jan 1, 2011, you and I can change. We can set new goals, work to achieve old ones, resolve a conflict in our life, renew an old friendship, restore a tired relationship, lose some weight, change occupations, retire, say"I love you", confess a wrong doing, read a good book, stop watching so much TV, stop yelling at the kids, visit an aging parent, take a holiday, pay off a debt, watch a sunrise, plant a tree, go to the gym, give a chunk of money away, get to now a neighbour, learn some new words, sing, or go golfing on a work day. You see, the possibilities are limitless and it does not matter when you do it, just do it.
I told you I had nothing to say.