Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Final Word on Legacy

About twelve years ago, I was given a book to write. It is called "A Father's Legacy" ... A Lasting Heritage For Your Children ... Your Life Story in Your Own Words. I was about to become a grandfather and welcomed the challenge of writing my story for my grandchildren. By that time, I was at the stage of my life where I would have found such a book from my own grandfather extremely valuable.
I certainly did not attempt to write the book at one sitting. It is divided into months of the year with one page for each day of the month, headed up with a question. For example, January 5th would have the question: "Describe your home when you were a boy. Did you have a favourite room?" I took it upon myself to take this book with me every time we went to Oroville as a pastime while sitting in the shade to escape the heat. I would write a few pages each time. Now I am nearing the end, after all these years. Some of the questions have been tough and it has not always been easy being honest, but I must. I do not want this to become a work of fiction.

In the last several months, I have been going through my own father's things and came across a very similar book but given to him by my oldest sister. She gave it to him when she presented him with his first grandchildren. I find it very sad that when I opened the book, it cracked like a new book does when opened for the first time. There is nothing at all written in it. To say my father was not a writer is not really an excuse. The questions in his book were simple and straightforward and could have been answered in a few words. Was it just not important to him? We, as his children, have seen how he has lived, but having some kind of written record may have explained a few things and given us more insight as to who he really was. One's true character is sometimes more evident when more than the obvious is revealed. Today, he is too shaky to write, and his memory is too poor to even recall enough information to answer the questions so his book will remain blank. I have in front of me, as I type, a photo of my dad, together with his siblings, when he was about six years old. I know so little about that little boy and what made him the way he is today. I will probably never know.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More on Legacy

The last two posts were prompted by a conversation I had with a cousin a few days ago.
About four years ago, I started two family websites, one for my cousins on my mother's side and one for the cousins on my father's side. My aim was twofold. I wanted to re-connect and I wanted to somehow determine what kind of a legacy my grandparents left for each of them, how they perceived it and how it has impacted their lives and their family's lives today. I have only been minimally successful on either count, but it has certainly not been a futile exercise. My cousin's observations were a bit disheartening because he, in his own way, has been searching out the same thing. His conclusions do not thrill me, but perhaps his definitions are not my definitions.
My grandparents on both sides of my family were Christians in the true sense of the word, but they worked it out a little differently in each of their lives. Back then, these kinds of things were more caught than taught. The teaching part was up to the Sunday School and the Church. But the living out in their lives, of their faith, could not leave much doubt as to where they stood and what their intentions were. I know what I want for my family both now and for when I am gone. The only time we can influence the direction is while we are alive, but then again, maybe not. The memory of who we were and how we touched those around us can live on after us. And that is our legacy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Legacy Continued

When you travel down the street and see a stately old building, it is not evident who designed, built, or owned it. Perhaps the families of the men who did so are aware of it. But even then, what was really important was the character of the man who left that physical example of his work behind. When we read of famous people from the past, people who invented wonderful things or made great discoveries, we remember them for it if its contribution to society was great, but what is even more fascinating is to find out the character of the man behind the great discovery or accomplishment.
For the majority of us, there will be no edifice, invention, discovery, Guinness world record, or wonderful music to leave behind. But what we will leave behind is the character of our lives and how that impacted the people around us and most importantly, how it influenced our families. This is a heavy task and many of us will fail miserably at it. Maybe the best we can hope for is a spark of faith, hope, or love that we were able to impart so that when our sentimental earthly goods are hauled off to the thrift store, the thing that will endure will be something of us that we cannot touch, but will have touched somebodies heart.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


A number of years ago I did some work for a gentleman who was actually one of my dad's teachers in the early 40's. He was quite old, but still very interested in studying and writing. He had a library in his home that was filled with his writings and notes. He was well versed in many subjects and always interesting to talk to. Being such a scholarly man, I knew he had a head full of knowledge and observations from his whole life and thought it was so very good that he wrote everything down. What a legacy for his four children and his grandchildren.
He passed away after a stroke and his wife called me in to work in his den, as she was cleaning it out so she could use the room for some of her hobbies. All the written work was piled high throughout their home and her task for the next while was to sort through it all and catalogue it. It was only a few years later that I heard she was not well and had to go into an extended care home. I got a call from her daughter one day and she wanted me to 'fix up' her mom and dad's place because it was being sold. As I met her at the home, I noticed that almost all the contents were gone. I asked her what had become of her dad's writing.
She told me, with a sadness in her voice, that nobody in the family had room for all the material, neither, did it seem, that anyone was interested in saving anything that had belonged to the old gentleman. Each child and grandchild was invited to go through the pile and take a memento. The rest went to the re-cyclers or the dump.
I have thought of that many times, about how a man's entire work can be disposed of so casually. The daughter's parting words to me were the only thing that helped me make sense of it. She said that her dad lived what he wrote. There would be not much there to surprise anyone, and his entire family knew him very well. His legacy was not in what he wrote or left behind, but in how he lived.
Cont'd tomorrow.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life on a Thread

I had coffee with a good friend the other day but had not seen him in three months. He shocked me when he told me that he had almost died a day or two after our last meeting. He is only now getting back to normal and did not have a chance to tell me.
He came down with what he thought was a really bad flu, until the headache was almost killing him, at which point his wife drove him to the hospital. They took blood tests immediately and in very short order determined that he had a very serious E-coli infection which was already in his kidneys. If the infection would not kill him, perhaps the huge amounts of powerful anti-biotics would. It was a close call. And then he told me of a friend of his who got a paper cut that was hurting more than it should have, which turned out to be flesh eating disease. Only in the last few days have the surgeons stopped taking slabs out of him and think they have killed the last of the bacteria. He was so close to death that the doctors gave him only a 25% chance of surviving the disease, and the surgery.
Both stories revolve around bacteria that is ever present. We all have E-coli in our digestive tract, and we all have a form of flesh eating bacteria on our skin. We are all living on a thread and even the most innocuous of things can cause our death at any time. We cannot be debilitated with fear of these things, but instead must be ready to die at any time. Without dwelling on it, we must be fully aware that our lives are on a thread which can snap at any time.
Last week, my cousin who was only in his mid fifties died in his sleep from a massive heart attack. I did not know him at all, but wonder now if he was ready to die.
We must all be ready, because it will happen to each of us. No exceptions.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Really Knows?

The big Health Care Reform Bill was just passed in the USA. I have not followed the debate as closely as I should have, but now that it is a 'done deal', I thought I would do a bit of research on exactly what this all entails. Why can I not get to first base? One side says that this will ruin America and the other side says that is the greatest thing any president has ever done in the history of the country. There seems to be little if any of the reforms taking place in the immediate future, and just what those reforms are seem to be open to interpretations and debate. It does not appear, at least on the surface, to be a universal health care system like we have in Canada, but more like restrictions and rules being put on health care insurers to assure that all will be treated fairly and equitably by the system. One thing is agreed on and that is that it is expensive. Well, so is our system here in Canada. In our province, 82% of our budget goes to health care. If this same figure will eventually apply to the USA budget, it will be a disaster. The only way to sustain it then will be with massive tax increases and that is one thing the Americans do not take kindly to. Whatever it turns out to be, there will have to be a lot of education on healthy lifestyle or the system as well as the country will go bankrupt. Actually, they are going bankrupt with or without health care. There has probably been a billion dollars worth of blood pressure medication taken just during the debate.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Welcome to Canada

I caught a bit of CBC news last night after the hockey game and watched an interesting piece on Canadian identity and how it is evolving. University students and people on the street were asked what it meant to be Canadian. Apparently more and more, that definition includes the phrases "not like Americans" or "better that Americans". As usual, we see ourselves more as what we are not than what we are. But, why this fixation with, and dislike of, Americans? This moral superiority is offensive. There are many areas of life where they out-shine us and two come to mind immediately. Americans are the most generous people on the face of the earth and Canadian's charitable giving pales in comparison. Why would we not want to be more like them in that regard? The other area which for me is of great concern, is the area of free speech. We need only look at the incident, on Tuesday evening, in Ottawa, where Ann Coulter was not allowed to speak at the University of Ottawa. She was threatened by the University with a law suit if she said anything construed as hate. This letter prompted the leftists on campus to near riot as the time of Anne's speech approached and prompted the police to cancel the event.
When we disagree with someone, we should either ignore them or engage them in debate, not ban them from speaking. Interesting that one of the characteristics that "we Canadians" seem to be most proud of is our tolerance. In ten years of speaking, Ann claims, she has never once been muzzled. Welcome to Canada, Ann.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paraphrase and Application

The Spring blooms are out in force and the next few blogs will have a sampling of what we find at Thunderbird park these days.

I am reading a book called "Stories For A Man's Heart". It is a collection of 100 short stories that are supposed to "motivate his soul". There is something in there for everyone, I suppose, because some leave me cold, while others make the tears well up in my eyes and I think of them as I try to sleep at night.
One of my favourites is the story of the little boy who sees a "Puppies for Sale" sign. He rings the door bell and asks the owner if he can see the puppies because he would like to by one. He informs the dog owner that he only has 35 cents. The man is compassionate and tells the boy that they cost more than that, but he can have look anyway. They walked to the back yard and the man calls out to Dolly, the mother dog, and as she comes out of the doghouse, tumbling and tripping after her are four of the cutest balls of fur the little boy has ever seen. As they came romping toward the man and the boy, another little puppy came struggling out of the dog house. He was smaller than the others and try as he might, he could not get his legs to work fast enough to keep up to the others. He was the obvious runt of the litter.
The boy's eyes got bright and he cried out,"That's the one I would buy."
The man knelt down to the boy's level and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He would never be able to run and play with you the way you would like."
With that, the boy reached down and slowly pulled up one leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking up at the man, he said, "You see, sir, I don't run too well myself and he will need someone who will understand."
The story draws no conclusion or application, but as a Christian, I cannot help but immediately think of Jesus reaching down to me and drawing me out of my sinful and fallen state, because, like the puppy who is the runt of the litter, I need someone who understands.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I came across this quote today and thought it totally applied to me and my blog.

"I love writing about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." ~Oscar Wilde


The Tulips are poking their heads out of the cool spring soil but are not brave enough to open their petals. The lighting and colour was poor so I salvaged the photo with a bit of Photoshop fun.

It is always great to celebrate one of my grandson's birthdays and yesterday was no exception. It is also a great way of keeping in touch with Keith's family. We tend to see them about 4 times a year and that way we never become strangers.
I had a bit of an upset stomach before we went so I cannot blame anything I ate at the party for the terrible evening I had later in the day. (Sunday) There are times when it is an extremely good thing to be very near a bathroom for extended periods of time. This is not embarrassing to talk about because it happens to all of us. This was an exceptionally bad case of intoxication and I have no idea where it came from. It was the kind where my intestines had a will of their own and that was to exit my body. But, I survived, and now am very anxious about eating anything lest it trigger another 'event'.
It was suggested in church yesterday that we go on a fast this Easter. I think I will start early.

Monday, March 22, 2010


My wonderful daughter won 4 tickets to this concert and very generously gave them to me and the busy one. We called some friends of ours and they were willing to try it out, even though both of us were not very familiar with either artist, but had only heard their music over the years on the radio without taking special note.
The line up at the door of the Broadway church was a block long and fortunately the rain had not yet started and it was actually a balmy evening for standing around waiting for someone to open the doors. We had not been to the Broadway church before and found it to be very similar to the local Alliance church in both size and layout. It filled rather quickly and we were feeling good about having come a little early.
Point of Grace was on first (who's on second? ...... never mind) and was all I had hoped they would be. Gracious southern gals who had impeccable harmonies and very nice tunes. They had a down home folksy quality that was endearing and at times quite humorous. They verge on 'country' as far as style goes, without getting twangy. Actually, they were very easy on the ears. They are Christian artists and it came through in their comments as well as their music, but one had to listen carefully. They had never been to Canada before and that made for a few funny anecdotes, and altogether, an enjoyable time for them and us, the audience.
Many Christian groups these days are aligning themselves with Compassion or World Vision and these folks were on the band wagon. Their goal was to raise up 100 sponsors, for impoverished children around the world, at each concert on their tour. I cannot fault them for their efforts in this regard. Because their ticket prices were so reasonable, I cannot accuse these people of being in it for the money, as I have done with some groups in the past. Of course, we all need to make a living but when you profit excessively from 'ministry' I can have a bit of a challenge with that.
At this point in the concert, I was sorry I had not had the foresight to bring ear plugs. Oh my goodness! I have heard Mark Schultz often and have quite liked many of his ballads and praise and worship music, but in a live venue, my preconceptions of him were blown out of the water. This guy is high energy, as is his music, his band, and his light show. Why can't they turn down the pounding bass drum a few decibels? It became quite irritating after a short while as the vibrations in my chest cavity felt like a seismograph during a Chilean earthquake. I was having trouble with my pacemaker and I don't even have one. It was all I could endure, and I can usually take quite a bit and actually like my music loud. His voice, his keyboard, and every other noise making device on the stage was cranked to the limit, and I was actually wishing it was over soon, and very soon. However, we endured, until, that is, the encore. That is when we snuck out of our aisle and scurried out the door of the church, finding the busy traffic of Broadway Street rather quiet and calming.
I find myself saying "What?' and "Pardon me" quite a bit since last night, to say nothing of the splitting headache I woke up with this morning.
Mark had a very engaging personality and one cannot help but like him as a person. He has a heart for God, and is a compassionate and loving man. He is also a gifted song writer and at his quieter times was able to engage the listener with his sensitive lyrics. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the music, but then every artist has their die hard fans. I cannot fault him, really, because he was living out every single word of Psalm 150. I just need a good set of earplugs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Birthday Party

On March 18th my oldest grandson turned 12. Today is a party for him but it is not the first. It is not cool to have mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, nana and granddad, uncles and aunts AND your best friends all at the same party. Friday night Nate and his friends let their hair down at the bowling alley, and then later at a sleep over at his house with his buddies. Today he will be on his best behaviour with all the adults of the family there to wish him a happy and successful year. It is hard to believe he is the same little boy who came into our lives in 1998. He is now tall, handsome, smart, well mannered, kind hearted and always a delight to be with. Happy Birthday Nathan and I like that your birthday always brings blossoms.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gus Lives Here

This pretty little barn belongs to a wonderful piece of property owned by a Supreme Court Judge who happens to also be one of our clients. Just behind the barn is a small apple orchard where a good friend of mine is buried. Well, sort of.
Gus was in his eighties and as vital and strong as a man half his age. He still worked, almost full time, as a master carpenter and 'jack of all trades'. He was befriended by the judge and used this barn and an adjoining workshop as his base of operations because he lived in a condo and needed space for his carpentry projects. Gus took ill one day, and several days later died in the hospital during surgery for a bowel obstruction. It was sudden and very sad.
He only had one daughter, and she cared little for her dad, so the judge took it upon himself to have Gus cremated and arranged a small memorial service on his acreage. Some of his neighbours at the condo were invited, as well as a few of the people who he called his friends, myself included.
Gus loved to pick the apples from the orchard in the late fall and certainly had his favourite tree. It was there that Gus would be laid to rest. We gathered round the small hole that had been prepared ahead of time and the judge and his wife said a few words and had a prayer. It was a very hot July day and all of us were trying desperately to crowd under the tree to stay in the shade. Just as the jar of ashes was tilted to put Gus in his final resting place, a sudden gust of swirling wind caught the ashes and spread them over all of us, and into those who could not hold their breath in time. It was an awkward moment as perhaps half of the ashes finally fell to the bottom of the hole, there to be immediately covered before the next gust came.
Gus loved that little orchard, but he also wanted to leave a little bit of himself with each of us, and he succeeded.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Last Look at Lynden

Theme towns are very popular on both sides of the border, and often reflect the heritage of the majority of the population. When the theme is done well and consistently, it almost feels like one has been transported to a different time and place. There is no mistaking the Dutch heritage of this little town a few minutes south of the border. In the days when it was less of a hassle crossing the US/Canada border, we would regularly travel here for cheap gas, milk, cheese, and a good lunch or dinner at 'The Dutch Mother's' restaurant. That quaint but excellent eating establishment is still there, but is still closed on Sundays.
And then there is the Lynden Fair. We were there two years ago and may go back this summer. It is a typical summer county fair, complete with rides, junk food, farm displays, and grandstand shows. It is extremely well attended, but there is something that feels and appears quite unique about it. There is family friendly, wholesome, clean, and safe atmosphere about it. It totally reflects the character of the town and its inhabitants. Our city also has a large community of Dutch people and they are drawn to the fair, as are we of Mennonite descent, which in my case is a combination of Dutch and German.
It is heartening to see that this community has not been adversely effected by the poor economy in the USA. This is because it is a farm based economy. People still eat in times of recession. The tourist dollars are just a bonus for them and with our currencies now almost at par, more of us will be going down there to eat at 'Dutch Mother's'.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Having Your Cake And Eating It Too

Another Steeple in Lynden Wa.

We often hear the expression "God is good" when something wonderful is happening to us. We pray for a positive outcome, the best thing happens, and "God is good". But is God still good when our lives are falling apart? Is he only good when good things are happening? Throughout our lives we are either entering a time of trouble, we are in a time of trouble, or we are just coming out of a time of trouble. Trouble is intrinsic to the human condition. Anyone strongly rooted in the Christian faith can say that "God is good" in any circumstance. How can we say that?
I have been reading in the Psalms and innumerable times it talks about how God upholds the brokenhearted, the poor, the widow, etc. Where was he before poverty, before bereavement, and before disappointment? He was always there, supporting, uplifting, encouraging, loving, forgiving, and teaching. The bad things that happen are part of the human condition and we cannot escape them. But in the midst of the bad stuff, God is there. If you are a believer, you have felt this.
So, we can say with confidence that God sees the big picture of our lives and knows what he is doing, is not surprised, and will hold us in his hand, both in this life and the next. Because He is there in the good times and the bad times, it is like having our cake and eating it too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Here is another of the many beautiful churches of Lynden. The little town of Lynden has always had a great appeal for me. It is a quiet, clean, and well organised town, revealing the character of its mainly Dutch residents. We have, on several occasions, cruised through the tree lined streets on a warm summer Sunday evening, and the sound of pipe organs and hymns in four part harmony drift on the warm breezes as we pass the many churches in a ten block area of town. The old fashioned idea of closing all the businesses on Sunday has managed somehow to stay intact and indeed, when we were there on Sunday, we only saw one coffee shop open in the whole downtown area, and it was not well patronized. For me, it hearkens back to a time when I was a boy in a small prairie town, who's dad owned a retail business. He, along with every other business in town, was closed on Sunday. It made the day special and nobody had an excuse to miss church. I see Lynden as Americana at its finest, displaying both the flag in a very patriotic manner, and a respect for the Christian heritage on which the country was founded. If we could somehow import Lynden into Canada, I would move there in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I made some progress on several fronts today. I did not work, as in earning an income, and the old axiom held true, that when one does not work, one only spends money. It started at the dentist where I was soaked for a mere cleaning and fluoride treatment. If I charged rates like that I would be a failure in my business. At least I had a hygienist, this time, who was not trained by the KGB. The experience was about as pleasant as a dentist visit could be. Of course, the dentist found more pot holes to fill so my return visit will be at the end of this month. I better have won the lottery by then.
The home inspector was here today to check on all my energy up-grades to see if I qualify for the government rebates that were put there as an incentive to make our homes more energy efficient. My 'Energy Star' rating has jumped from a 51 to a 66. This bodes well and the cheque, apparently, is in the mail. Just to remind me that I am still living in an older home, the most efficient rating is around 81. We have felt the improvement in a more comfortable home as well as a less draughty home. I think 81 would be too airtight and we would choke on our own fumes.
So, what's with the church photo? We took a swing through Lynden Wa. on our way home from Bellingham on Sunday. You can't help but admire this beauty on Front Street.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Black birds, in particular Ravens and Crows, are often used as bad omens in certain literary and artistic endeavours. The Blackbird does not usually have this reputation, but as I saw these two birds yesterday they represented for me, two black clouds that have been hanging over my head for a while now. The first one is the year long project of up-grading my home for energy efficiency. First there was the research, then the inspection, then the acquiring of estimates and contractors to do the major jobs, and finally, the inspection that will qualify me for the grants and rebates that were offered. Tomorrow, the final inspection takes place and I will see how successful I have been in increasing the energy efficiency of our home. I will get back to you on that.
The other black cloud is the annual agony of tax time. Today I finished my part. I chip away at it all year, but in March I have to actually sit down and document, itemize, and file all the information so my accountant can make sense of it all. The cloud is not really lifted until my accountant's computer spits out the 'bottom line', but at least I can say there is now a silver lining around this dark cloud and it is beginning to thin a bit.
Oh, and a third cloud, but not as dark as the others, and that is a dental appointment first thing in the morning. As usual, the pain will be in the wallet and not so much in the mouth. I am ready for some clear skies for a change.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Verdict Is In

A short while back I was writing about my blood pressure which had seemed to go up a few notches as of late. I also mentioned that I was using the treadmill on a regular basis since then and was going to see, by my blood pressure readings, if it was worthwhile. I have either been walking long distances or using the treadmill at least 4 times a week on average, if not more. The results are in. I am back in 'Optimal' territory. Perhaps the health gurus are correct. Either that, or I have simply rid my life of some stress. I would guess a bit of both.
We took another trip to Bellingham today. The fabric store was beckoning the quilter in the family and with all the money we saved, again, it was certainly worth the trip. It is always nice to get out of town for a few hours also, and this time the line-ups at the border were tolerable, which also contributed to my lowered blood pressure, I am sure.
I took the above photo on Ross Road earlier this week. Although I like the composition, it is not my favourite time of year to do photography.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


During the two hour ferry ride across Georgia Straight, I was doing some people watching and making general observations. Travelling the ferries is not cheap so the people on board are either well off or are travelling out of some necessity. But as I observe the people around me in the seating area, I see mostly young people, student types. They appear to be 20 something and most of them have a laptop, cell phone, ipod, and a backpack full of books and papers. They might be 'walk ons' but the car decks are full of vehicles.

As I see the employment figures today, I wonder where all these people are working or will work. Unemployment is down slightly in the latest report, but when one looks closely at the numbers, it is evident that the gains are almost all in civil service jobs, at a time when governments are threatening to cut jobs in the civil service. When there is high unemployment, there are fewer people paying income tax and because they are not working, they are not consuming so they are not paying sales taxes either. The government can only pay the salaries of these civil servants with our tax dollars or borrowed money, therefore this does not bode well. I look south of the border and see the massive increase in their civil service and shudder. This has to come to an end. These types of jobs are typically not productive, in that they do not produce goods or wealth, but drain money from government revenues which are now almost all coming from the lenders. We hear reports of an improving economy, and for Canada it is a half truth. For the USA it is a falsehood.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Victoria Etc.

We thought the timing was perfect. The weather was warm and we had the time so off we went to Vancouver Island last Sunday afternoon. Since when do we believe weather forecasts? The ferry trip was blustery and wet, but that is not unusual, no matter what time of year we take the trip. We arrived in Duncan in time for a lovely dinner that my sister had prepared for us. We used to live only blocks away from each other but now it takes a bit more of an effort to get together. They put us up, or I should say, put up with us, for two nights and they were the coldest days we have had since last November. I was looking forward to long walks in the balmy spring freshness of the the Island, but instead bundled up and still almost froze my ears. We had snow on both mornings.
On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon in Victoria. It had been at least 10 years since we were last there. We resolved to come back in warmer weather and do some exploring on foot. We did stop at one place right on the water and caught this Seagull bracing itself against the cold wind. I was very happy for a warm vehicle and a hot drink just down the road.
After a wonderful dinner at Christa's new house (our niece), to celebrate my sister's birthday, we headed back to the ferry that took us back to Tswassen and home.
We will go back soon, but next time I will watch the weather forecast and perhaps believe it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Go Figure

If you are like me, you have often wondered what happens to the human brain when it is attached to a politician who gets elected to, or appointed to, a position of influence and leadership. I suspect that the powers of reason are nullified by the privilege and attitude of entitlement, to the point that common sense and reason take a back seat to a photo op. One's importance takes precedence to all other considerations.
Take our Minister of Finance for example. After his shenanigans on Friday, he gives one pause to think that he is not capable of running a lemonade stand let alone a country. He flew from Ottawa to London Ontario where he was photographed lunching in a Tim Horton's and discussing budget cuts with the local coffee drinkers. That, in itself, is a good opportunity to identify with the common man and show that you care. (Ya, right!) But how did he get there. He flew, of course. But not on any ordinary airline. He was not at all concerned about saving tax dollars so he took a corporate jet at a cost of $9000.00. Think about that the next time you drive to your local Tim Horton's where you want to save a dollar on gas so you go to the nearest one instead of your favourite one.
I think the average Tim Horton's patron could do a better job running our country's finances.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

When Will it End?

First, an addendum to yesterday's post about our National Anthem. My friend Ray says that what the aboriginals would like to see is one very slight change that would reflect what they see as reality. Change the 'and ' to 'on' and what you have is "Oh Canada, our home on native land".

Having just read commentaries ad nauseam about the new Federal Budget and how there will be cuts in government spending, here is a 'no brainer' that I can work a rant up against at the drop of a hat. It is our long gun registry enacted by Bill C-68 that was brought in by Jean Chretien's Liberal government in 1995. Remember the promised cost to set that up? For only $2 million we could eliminate gun crime in Canada. The idea as well as the proposed cost was flawed from the start. And, like all new initiatives, this became a sink hole with no bottom.

In 2002 and again in 2006 the auditor general Sheila Fraser, could not find where all the money was going and the costs were now $2 Billion! The Canadian Tax Payer's Federation presented a 28,000 signature petition to the government to do away with the registry and re-allocate funds to 'front line' police work to reduce crime. The gun registry only criminalized law abiding gun owners and never had any effect on the number of gun related crimes committed in Canada.

Now, a private member's bill C-391 is on the long road to being enacted. But don't think that those who are profiting from all the money going into the program will take this sitting down. In fact, nobody even knows who is getting the money so those who oppose this bill will be the first suspects. An Angus Reid poll released in November shows that 78% of us think that the long gun registry has been a failure. But this country is run mostly by special interest groups and lobbyists so it does not even matter much what the majority think.

If parliament is serious about cutting waste and doing the right thing, this bill will pass.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It All Comes Clear

Does our government ever 'waffle'? Of course they do. In order to govern by popular opinion instead of true leadership, they will float an idea and then see what happens. Yesterday's poll on regarding changes to the wording of our national anthem showed that 80% of us do not want changes. So, naturally, next comes a waffle. There will now be no changes because "Canadians have spoken".
But just a minute here. How did this hair brained idea start in the first place? It seems we have a politically correct Conservative caucus who knuckled under pressure from one of their own, one Senator Nancy Ruth. And what was her agenda? She is a gay feminist. 'Nuff said.

Politically Correct

And here I thought it was the Liberals who were always pushing political correctness. There is a movement afoot in our National Parliament to change the lyrics of 'Oh Canada'. We should have known that sooner or later somebody would feel left out and it appears that "in all our sons command" leaves out the girls in the land. This is just not right, of course, and something MUST be done. How could this have been overlooked for all these many years, throughout our history?
When you closely examine the lyrics of our anthem, there is room for much politically incorrect interpretation. Even "with glowing hearts" seems to have been usurped by the Olympic committee and can we now even use it in our anthem without treading on copyright laws?
I suggest that if this proposed change takes place, then nothing is sacred and our famous Tim Horton's will become Kim Horton's.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


My Dad's side of the family is blessed with good genes. They tend to live to ripe old ages, and many of them are still going strong in their nineties. My Uncle Jack, who is almost 90 himself, came over the other day with documentation that showed that he, (therefore my father and me also) was related to Canada's oldest living person, one Elizabeth Unger Driedger, who turned 111 years old on Feb 8, 2010. She is related on my father's mother's side. Did any of this trickle down to me? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Maybe our provincial government is hoping that in the afterglow of the Olympic Games we will not notice that as things get back to business as usual, that they are telling us a big fat lie. The announcement on the morning news today (March 3) is that BC Hydro, our electrical utility here in BC, is applying to the utilities commission for a 9% increase in rates. The news release states that the additional revenue is required for 'infrastructure'. What a coincidence that our provincial government tabled a budget just yesterday with zero tax increases. I heard a government 'insider' say on the radio this morning that BC Hydro was called by the minister in charge and asked to increase its revenues to the general budget of the province by $250,000,000.00. Not only that, but the expected increase for next year will be 10%! So, my friends, when you pay your hydro bills in the future, you are not just paying for the electricity you use, you are paying a huge hidden tax.
There is only one source of revenue for any government, and that is you and me. Why can they not be honest and just call it a tax? It is a lie on top of a deceit.

Have You Noticed?

As spring approaches, we notice every morning how the days are lengthening. Actually, the days are not getting any longer, only the amount of daylight changes for the better. But just one minute. It has been calculated by NASA that the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile has actually shifted the axis of the earth enough to shorten our days. You will now have less time to shop, nap, work, eat, go out for coffee, or whatever else you do every day. Have you not noticed? I am not surprised if you have not, because our days now are only 1.2 microseconds shorter. By the way, a microsecond is one millionth of a second. You don't have to rush after all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Working Out

As I do several times a year, I hauled out my blood pressure monitoring kit a few weeks back to see if I was still alive. Yes, I have blood pressure, and it is still very good. All last year it was in the optimal range. It crept up into the low normal range this time and I thought I would do a little experiment. I have been on the treadmill every day for the last two weeks with the exception of yesterday. I walk at 3 mph for twenty minutes (1 mile) and it leaves me with an elevated heart rate and a revved up metabolism. I find walking on the treadmill is more of a workout that just walking down the road. I do not hold onto the bars as they are too low for me so I watch TV and walk. Maintaining a pace and position that keeps me from falling off the back, as well as the extra balancing that is required, warms me up pretty good.
Yesterday I put on my pedometer in the morning to see how many steps I walked. The benchmark for good health is 10,000 steps a day. In the morning, we did our shift at church, running around in the kitchen making sure 250 folks got their coffee and bagels in the 'drop in' center. Then, after the hockey game, busylizzy and I went for a good long walk. At the end of the day, my total steps were 10,750. Now that was a work out. I do not think I could do that every day without a deliberate attempt. I will test a normal work day to see where that brings me. I might be surprised. In another week or two, I will again test my blood pressure and see if the regular exercise will make a difference to my blood pressure, which is already good. If it does not make any difference at all, I will have to find a really good excuse to keep on exercising, apart from work. :)

In Retrospect

I am writing this just after having watched the closing ceremonies. Maybe I am suffering from Olympic burnout (this is a logical consequence of too much Olympic fever) but I did not enjoy the closing production as much the opening or the games themselves. For me, the highlight of the finale was the opening scene where the failure of the torch in the opening ceremonies was made fun of. I thought it was a brilliant strategy, and well done.
The theme was an attempt to poke fun at all the Canadian stereotypes, you know, the red serge of the RCMP, the beaver, the birch bark canoe, the maple leaf, etc. I thought that it only reinforced the stereotypes. The comedic routines fell flat (I was hoping somebody would beam up Captain Kirk) except for one snippet of brilliance when it was explained how the Canadians are polite and are always apologizing. The background graphic showed a Canadian athlete on the podium receiving a Gold Medal and saying, "I'm sorry. I will have it bronzed."
The staging for the various musical artists (I use the term loosely) was brilliant, but not so the bands themselves. Maybe it was just not my style. And did I mention that I am totally done with all those commercials that kept interrupting the proceedings?
Brian, the CTV host through most of the two weeks, had a good editorial after the last bit of fireworks signaled the end of everything. He went on about the unifying effect of these games on all of Canada. If what we saw on TV was any indication, he is right and it may be a historical turning point in our nation's history. It occurred to me that if it is true, it is in great part due to the flavour of the coverage that CTV gave the games and everything surrounding them. They definitely emphasised the positive aspects of everything and did not dwell on or make stories of anything negative. How easily the mood of the nation could have been influenced if the network poobahs had decided to give these games and Vancouver, and BC a rough ride. And they could have. It was not all roses, but putting a positive spin on almost everything elevated the mood of the nation and what resulted was an outpouring of patriotism that had not been seen in this country in my lifetime.
Before the Olympics, I made comments on my blog that I was neutral to these games, not a booster, nor a protester. I have changed my take on that. I suppose I have been caught up in the excitement, the drama, the pride, and the patriotism. I also now have a brighter outlook for the future of my country. May the effects of these games linger on and become a focal point for what we can do together.