Saturday, April 30, 2011


Our federal election is just around the corner. Who would have thought a week ago that anything out of the ordinary could happen to make this, potentially, an historic occasion? I first read of the election mobs being held on college campuses a few weeks ago. I thought it an interesting way to get young people to vote, to become aware of the issues and get involved. The youth vote in Canada has been historically low, around 37%. If the polls are any indication, things are about to change in a big way.
There is a slight problem here though. The push behind the youth vote is being orchestrated by left leaning groups and individuals. This translates into a surge of support for the NDP, our national socialist party. The Liberals have always been left and socialist, but not nearly to the degree that the NDP is. There is now talk among the political pundits of an NDP official opposition, putting the Liberals in third position. And Jack is talking about being Prime Minister!
This is certainly unprecedented in Canadian history. There is potential for big trouble if either the NDP form government, or even if they are the opposition. Power is what will give them the ability to push their agenda. 
The NDP stand for and indeed push for big government. As if it was not already big enough. They promise to give all things to all people, to right all wrongs and make everyone an equal. However, even a socialist eventually runs out of other people's money. And, a government big enough to give everything to everybody is also big enough to take everything away from everybody. Socialism is a failure. Always has been, always will be. If the youth vote understood the basics of political philosophy, they would not be rooting for the NDP. Their future depends on it. 
Please, someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think it was GK Chesterton who stated that if a young person is not a Liberal when he is young, he does not have a heart. If he is not a Conservative when he is older, he does not have a brain. 

One last observation. In my business over the years, I have worked predominantly for middle age to elderly folks. In the course of things, if the conversation comes around to politics, I discover that 9 times out of 10, this demographic is Conservative. There is a collective wisdom that is often ignored because it comes from the aged. With a lifetime of experience and knowledge, you would think these people know something that young people do not.    

Friday, April 29, 2011


Why have I not written about hockey? Actually, I have been too busy watching it. Anyone into the game, will have had their fill of post game analysis baffle gab. Why should I add to it? Having said that, I am very pleased that the Canucks won game one against the Predators last night. They outplayed them by miles and deserved to win. The Canucks were up against an amazing goal tender and will have to solve his style if they want to continue their winning ways.

The continuing cold weather makes the hockey watching feel like a natural thing to do. I doubt this will last much longer. We have more or less missed Spring and will soon jump into the hot summer.  We will still watch hockey, but with one foot out the door, wanting to take advantage of the long days and warm temperatures. On the other hand, if the seeming ice age is really upon us, we will be staying indoors most of summer, even after the Stanley Cup had found its new home in Vancouver. You can call that a prediction if you want, both the cup and the weather.   

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


On one of our walks last week, we came across this dandy. As near as I could figure, it was a cream coloured Buick Electra from the sixties. Note the convertible top, push button radio, rust coloured carpets, and an indoor plant in the passenger seat. I am sure it sat in some showroom in its day and was the envy of everyone who looked at it. 
From a 60 something perspective, this blogger has noticed how quickly the shine comes off of things. And that process is accelerating as time and technology progresses. It is said that, very quickly, the desk top computer was replaced by the laptop. For those of you who have not been to your local computer store lately, you will not have even noticed this. But, even more quickly, laptops are being replaced by hand held devices. In fact, head injuries are on the rise as people are so intent on texting as they walk down the sidewalks that they are running into solid objects such as light standards and telephone poles. Speaking of telephone poles, they could come down any day now due to wireless technology. 
Because I already run headlong into things, I will not be getting an iPad, iPhone, or any other i device any time soon. 
I bucked the computer revolution until 1995 when I finally succumbed. It was a good thing. But now, the prospect of reading a book, texting, phoning, photographing, blogging, facebooking twittering, videoing, surfing, movie watching, GPSing, and listening to tunes on a device the size of the palm of my hand, is just not going to happen. I can't even see the palm of my hand without my good pair of 'progressives'. 
I have a mind to buy that old Buick, restore it, and hearken back to the good old days. Now, I wonder if it is on eBay?   

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I found time to read a very interesting book on the weekend. It was called "The Imam's Daughter", written by Hannan (Hannah) Shah. It is the story of escape from oppression, abuse, depression, deception, hypocrisy, secretiveness, violence, and physical and mental anguish.

Hannah starts her own story at age 5, growing up in Northern England with her Pakistani parents in a strictly Muslim neighbourhood. It gives good insight as to how a Muslim family operates, especially when surrounded by the safety of other Muslims. It is an indictment of the immigration policies of western nations, and an indictment of the Muslim culture. 
That Hannah was able to escape her bleak future and even survive the abuse at her father's hand is miracle. 

I have read enough books on this topic to have a very good picture of the Muslim religion and lifestyle, and have some insight as to why it is a danger to western civilisation. The fact that Hannah, now 32 years of age, is under threat of death, because she escaped, and is speaking out, attests to the horrors of her culture. 
It is an easy book to read, but will have an impact on anyone who reads it.   

Monday, April 25, 2011

Downe's Flora

Scenes from the Downe's Bowl. Here is an upshot of a very tall, very old fir tree.

These Bleeding Hearts were everywhere.

This is a Salmon Berry blossom. The ripe fruit is red, sweet and resembles an anemic raspberry.

These old Maple trees are hosts to a variety of mosses and ferns.

At the bottom of the bowl is a swamp. Thrusting upward is a 40 ft. tall stump that is slowly rotting and falling apart.

The very wet soil has killed other trees too. It is wet down here all year round.

The black, rich soil is host to all manner of swampy flora. Here is evidence of a fire long ago.

The Skunk Cabbage blossoms are in their prime. They only grow if they are drenched in swamp water.

It has not rained for a few days but the little streams were running full and clear. The water table is high here as this is a drainage area for the whole Downe's Bowl area. 

The Trillium were in full force, in hues from pure white to mauve. This the Provincial flower of Ontario.

The lowly Dandelion is considered a weed, but when they bloom in spring, they bring a burst of colour to the grey landscape. We will take any colour we can get after a long and dreary winter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


We should have known that getting a little Easter Chic would result in a big basket of colourful eggs. How do they do that? So, we hid them in the garden, and Liam had a hand at his first Easter egg hunt this year. (see comments) Haha!  

He caught on instantly and was in the game from the get-go. He had a sharp eye and I could barely keep up to him with my camera.

The basket was full in no time and soon he had to get a back- up basket.

Some hiding places were  obvious.

Of course, he had to check in with Nana to get an accurate count and show her how well he was doing.

Some hiding places were not obvious at all, but he spotted a bit of colour and ....  

Victory! But the basket was getting full again.

Always time for a photo-op. Cheeeeese!

He was having so much fun that we (read 'he') did not want it to end so we took some eggs from the first basket and re-hid them. This trick will not work next year.

I don't know who had more fun, the kids or the adults. His two big brothers were great sports and let him find most of the eggs. After, he was given a lesson in sharing, when they each got equal amounts. He was good with it. We will let his mom and dad deal with the inevitable sugar highs.  

Easter Morning

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Down in The Bowl

What a glorious morning for a walk. We rarely have a day off together when we can choose what part of the day we would like to walk in. The early morning walks are our favourites. After a very large cup of freshly brewed coffee and a few slabs of Paska, we chose to walk around Down's Bowl, a change from our usual Discovery Trail walk. When we arrived at the bowl's edge, we noticed that there had been some up-grading done to the trail and so, instead of walking around the bowl, we decided to go down into it.  

Our city is blessed with a series of ravines and gullies, the result of ancient heavy runoff from the escarpment we are on, that is many hundreds of feet above the level of the river. Here, the trail starts its downward slope. This bowl is very deep, and the sides are quite steep and have to be taken at an angle.

Ever downward, as we enter old growth rain forest, right in the city! The Douglas Firs, Maples, and Cottonwood trees are massive and very old.

Nearing the bottom, the trail crosses many streams and boggy areas with the help of these bridges. The trails down here are wonderful and well maintained.

Winding ever downward, the bridges become more numerous and the terrain begins to change.

Finally at the bottom, we enter a swamp that would be dangerous to walk through without the aid of these boardwalks. It is a landscape of Skunk Cabbage, sprouting Bulrushes, Fiddle heads, Horsetail and old stumps, all in a mucky, murky bed of primordial ooze. It even has its own unique odour.  

 And then the trail winds its way upward once again, and we find out it is warmer than when we were going downhill.

A muddy spot in the trail that is helped out with some old lumber.

Near the top once again, where the trees are much larger. Here are conjoined Maple quadruplets.

As we are once again on the top edge of the bowl, the trail crosses one last creek and exits onto a main road. Spend an hour or two in the bowl and it feels like you have been in a different world with only the sounds of gently gurgling streams, a cacophony of bird calls, and woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting.
Next post will show some of the things one finds in the bowl in early Spring.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Jesus, Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, humbled himself. He who knew no sin, became sin for us. He, the creator of life, who would conquer death, had to first experience death. He who died would live again on the third day. The day of crucifixion named Good Friday. Paradox!   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Blossoms and Things

Can this be Spring? The blossoms are thick, but are already falling off the trees due to wet and cold wind. Where is the warmth of the sun, the song of the birds, the drone of the honey bees, the Robins on their worm patrol? Yes, the days are longer, some stunted dandelions are bravely pushing their way through the lawns with their bright yellow heads and milky stalks, and the Crows are gathering those little twigs with which to build their nests, but even they know that their eggs will not stay warm enough for incubation. Maybe we can have one year without Crow babies and would that not be wonderful? 
I know what will happen. The cold wet weather systems will suddenly have run their course, the temperatures will turn seasonal once again, and we will have missed Spring altogether, and will have jumped right into the heat of summer, and then all the David Suzuki fans will scream, once again, "Global Warming!" And how quickly they will have forgotten the very cold winter and spring that we just shivered through.   

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chad and the Big Ten

Today was Chad's birthday and he turned ten! busylizzy asked him what his favourite menu would be and then she made a birthday dinner for him. Meat Pies, Salads, home made buns and fizzy punch. Good choice Chad, it was delicious. We had invited his other grandparents and his uncle so there were enough people for a party.

Chad and I are both big on desserts and his request was Napoleon  Torte. He missed one candle on the big blowout so we got to tease him about his girlfriend. He got so red that I just knew he had one. A little bird told me that all the girls like him. I cannot blame them. He is a cool guy.

Liam got in on the fun too and was instructing Chad which gift to open next. Is it any surprise that he got more Lego, among some other very neat gifts?

busylizzy then brought out a most beautiful gift, just what a ten year old boy dreams of owning, a homemade quilt. As you can see, it is a masterpiece and something Chad will appreciate more with age, not that he did not like it already. He was very grateful.

And what birthday is not complete without the Royal Bumps? And the obligatory pinch to grow an inch and a slap to grow fat. He is a good sport and likes the attention.

Chad, you have come a long way.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Elections, But No Fever

One cannot help but notice all the flags these days. The above photo was taken Sunday afternoon by yours truly, out looking for signs of spring. The odd patch of blue was a good sign, a few cherry blossoms heartened my soul, but as you can see, the wind was strong and it was more than cold. I soon let the camera dangle and thrust my cold fingers into the pockets of my fleece lined jacket.

The flags remind me of several things going on here these days. Being out and about in our town, one can hardly miss all the blue and white flags, attached to almost every vehicle, fluttering wildly like dogs ears out the windows. Hockey playoff time does strange things to people. Even now, an hour past game time, we hear honking from the speeding cars as they race to their rendezvous with other rabid fans to celebrate yet another Canuck victory. We are one game away from a sweep and a birth in round two of the playoffs. 

The flags also remind me that today we have a new NDP leader, elected only minutes ago (I am writing this on Sunday night). I do not know much about this fellow, but I am sure I will soon find out as he gets out the sparring gloves to take on our new Premier. Then, soon, there will be the by election where the new Premier will attempt to win a seat in the legislature. Soon after that there will be a Provincial election and that is when we will get to know Adrian Dix, the new NDP guy. Meanwhile, we are in the throes of a National Election, the outcome yet to be revealed as the polls do not show any substantive indication as to who will win and if it will be a majority or a minority government. Oh, the drama and suspense. (I jest, of course) 
Until all these issues are settled, we will continue to look for spring.  

Friday, April 15, 2011


Thursday morning I thought I had slept in. When I awoke, it was very bright in the room, but the alarm had not yet gone off. I got up to check the time and then split the blinds to get a shocking view. The snow was coming down in huge clumps and there was a blanket of it on everything. That explained the brightness, but does not explain Global Warming.  :)

True to form, Blogger is acting up again. It has now tilted a photo of mine on its side. Don't bother putting your neck out, it is just a bunch of trees with snow falling .... in April. This has happened before, but the last time, at least the Daffodils were up to collect a layer of the white stuff. Friday morning it was -2C at 7:30am. I checked my calendar, again.

By the time the snow squall passed, we had an accumulation of about an inch. It took most of the day for it to melt, even though the sun peeked out for a while. Late Friday there were still little mounds of snow in the shady areas. If man-made carbon really does cause Global Warming, we should all consider pumping a bit more up into the atmosphere. We are missing Spring altogether.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OK. So I'm a Junkie

If the broadcasting time of last night's political leadership debate was meant to irritate western Canadians, it succeeded. I had to rush home from work early to catch it on TV, while those out east were able to have a leisurely dinner and then settle in for an evening of politics.
I always look forward to these debates because I want to see a 'defining moment', when one leader falters badly, or one rises to the top like the cream on whole milk. I want to see drama, suspense, and a turning point in an otherwise dull and predictable campaign. We got none of that tonight, but I do have some observations. (You just knew I would) 
Let me get my conspiracy theory out of the way first. CBC, being obviously biased to the Liberal side of things, probably did not let the Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, in on the debate because they knew it would help the Conservatives. She would have pulled votes away from the Liberals and the NDP. 
Having said that, what on God's green earth is Mr. Gilles Duceppe doing in this debate. His is only a provincial party, he runs no candidates outside of Quebec, his chief aim in life to break up our country, his mother tongue is French and as such is very difficult to understand, he knows nothing about the ROC (the rest of Canada), and he is not listened to by the people who vote for him who are primarily francophones, and they will only pay attention to the French debate tomorrow. I think most people tuned him out every time he spoke. He is irrelevant, totally. What separatist in his right mind would not vote for him, and who of those who are not separatists would ever go over to him. Again, there is this insatiable desire in our country to appease the spoilt child. I say call his bluff, let him separate, and see how long he and his country can survive without the billions in transfer payment from the rest of us. 
But, I digress. 
My take on the debate is that it will not be a game breaker. If anyone scored any points, it would be Mr. Harper who really kept his cool under constant bombardment from all three opposing leaders. 
It was interesting watching the interviews after the debate. The press was hard on Mr. Harper and was all gaga over Iggy and were easy on him with their questions. Except for right at the end when one very brave soul asked if it was embarrassing to be brought to task by Jack Leighton for his frequent absences in the House. Did you notice that Iggy suddenly ran off stage with his handlers and wife in tow? Very interesting indeed. The very man who would be Prime Minister and who touts democracy, Liberal style, was absent for more than 50% of the votes in the House of Commons. Like Jack said, and I loved his line, "If you want a promotion, you have to show up for work."        

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April Highlights

We all have our favourite months, and our least favourite months. Every one of the twelve months conjures up some memory, event, or red letter day for each one of us. For me, April is one of the 'big' months because of all that is crammed into just 30 days. Here are some of the highlights for me, both good and bad. You be the judge as to which is good and which is bad. 
  1. It starts off with a bang on the first day, when, every single year it is my birthday. (Go figure!)
  2. It is the month in which I have to meet with my accountant and get what is usually dismal news, and then by the 30th at the latest, I have to write the big cheque.
  3. April is the month when there is a distinct turning point in the weather and many tree buds break out, and the Daffodils and Tulips open their colourful faces to the sun. We try not to miss the big Tulip Festival in La Connor WA. 
  4. It is the month when the Master's golf tournament is on TV and I watch it, rain or shine. (Most of the time)
  5. It is the month when the NHL hockey playoffs start, and this year is particularly special as 'my team' ended up in first place overall, and goes into the playoffs with a very bright outlook. 
  6. It is the month when, at times, we can actually spend some time in the outdoors without a winter jacket. 
  7. This year, there is a Federal Election campaign and although the actual election is not until May, all the action happens in the month of April. (Tonight is the debate.) 
  8. April is the month in which we open our summer vacation property and travel to the interior for the first trip of the new year. 
  9. This is the month when work really starts to pick up, and often scheduling becomes a problem. It seems to go hand in hand with spring cleaning. 
10.  And lastly, but most importantly, it is the month of Easter. We have some special times planned around Easter, as we do every year, and it is always memorable.

If we had to scale back the calendar by one month, I would have a very difficult time choosing the month to eliminate, but it would possibly be November. (My apologies to all you people who have a birthday in November)