Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I pulled into my bank a few days ago and spotted the only available space in the parking lot.  At a glance I saw that the car next to the spot I had my eye on was too close to the building and in fact had humped over the retaining curb, gone over the space next to the walkway, and was tucked up against the building. I then saw that the lady driver (I had to mention that the driver was a woman) of the brand new Nissan was inspecting her car while she was on her cell phone. She had lightly bumped the building, which has just been totally renovated from the outside with plate glass, and two of the panes of glass, about 3 ft. square, were shattered. There was another person on his phone a few feet away and I surmised that everyone was OK except for the glass. A minor mishap, so I proceeded to do my banking. When I came out of the bank, it was like a terrorist attack had just taken place. The complete parking lot had been blocked off with emergency vehicles. There was a fire truck with four firemen in full gear, an ambulance with paramedics about to pull a stretcher from their vehicle, and four police cars, one of which was a ghost car. I stood beside my truck for a moment, surveying the situation, and could not help but burst out laughing. I then approached the policeman nearest the ghost car and asked him to kindly remove his car so I could back out and get on with my day.
I have witnessed overkill similar to this too often to think it is unusual. Is there no common sense left? Is all this equipment and manpower brought out just because it is there and can be used? Are these people bored? Did someone send in a false report of supposed mayhem? Really, all that was required was a tow-truck and an insurance adjustor for the damage done to the building.  Perhaps a police report for insurance purposes.
As I drove away from the building, people were flocking down the street to see what all the commotion was about. Imagine their horror when they discovered two broken window panes!  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

It is fair and square. We democratically voted and we will now go back to our old tax system of PST/GST to replace our present HST.
The big plus to all of this is that the referendum legislation of BC, which was designed to fail, but has never really been tested, has  shown us voters that if we really are disgruntled about the direction our leaders are taking us, we do have recourse apart from a provincial election every four years. This should help to stave off any more stupid moves in the future.
But now what. It is interesting that a new tax can hit us over night, but getting rid of an onerous tax will take 18 months. This is about how much time it will take to gather enough money to pay back the feds the incentive money they gave us to get on the HST bandwagon in the first place. Why are we squawking about paying it back? There is only one tax payer, the worker. There is only one government, but divided into federal, provincial, and municipal. If my tax dollar, that I gave to the provincials, is now being given to the federals, it is still my money going to government. So lets get over that aspect of it. What remains to be seen is how the old system, after 18 months of set-up will eventually change to reflect the much needed, but lost revenue of the HST. It will be political suicide to handle this issue badly. And then it will be the downfall of us all if the NDP get in because we are still angry about taxes. Let's be smart here. We all know that as us 'boomers' are aging, the implications to government spending are huge regarding health care and the fact that we will collect pension and will no longer pay into the CPP. As selfish demands for more services keep coming, it will have to be paid for, either with more taxation, cuts in other areas, or with debt. None of these options is palatable. Had we kept the HST, at least it would have been streamlined, and streamlining is all about efficiency, something that is sorely missing in all levels of government today.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Get Rich?

This is one of the books I was reading on my recent vacation in desert country. Normally, I would never even pick up a book like this, for several reasons. I did, because a trusted friend recommended it to me, and told me he was following the formula and it really worked. Being on the verge of retirement, I consented, more out of curiosity than anything.
It was written in 1977 and the edition I purchased (1988) had some up-dates and testimonials which make it rather interesting. The nature and purpose of the stock market never changes so the formula for success is really timeless. The idea is that there is a dynamic energy in the ups and downs of the markets and Mr. Lichello has come up with a mathematical equation that lets the common investor take advantage of the swings. The key to making money is not in the up swings, but in the movement, so the investor is making money in both directions. It is very interesting and it works. And it only takes a bit of time once a month. There is no watching and fretting over rising and falling stocks. Everything is good.
Knowing someone who has had success over many years with this system is helpful, but I have quite a few questions before I take the plunge. Actually, one can test the theory with a phantom account, imaginary money, and test flow sheets. It just may be worth my while because what we have seen lately is volatile fluctuations on the stock market, and that is exactly what one needs to succeed in this program. You can pick up a copy on for $5.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Last Goodbye

The media hype was building all week so I, like millions of Canadians, watched as Jack Layton, the leader of the Opposition, was memorialized yesterday, after his passing last Monday. How could one not watch when one commentator on Thursday declared this event as "Just like the death of Princess Diana." Now that is a tall order to fill and as it turns out, only a 'died in the wool' Canadian was even aware of this event as opposed to the whole world being fixated on the death of a Princess. Having said that, a state funeral is no small thing, and it was done up in a truly Canadian fashion.

What do I mean by that? For starters, in the true spirit of the CRTC, the media watchdog for Canada with a decidedly socialistic bent, Canadian content was a prerequisite. Steven Page of  'Bare Naked Ladies' fame, sang a familiar piece, 'Alleluia', which has a token churchy sort of religious sound but for the fact that it is a shout to life as opposed to a praise to God. The lead singer for 'The Parachute Club' also gave a contribution but singing in the same key as her band would have been a nice touch. 
And no state occasion can begin without a ceremony lead by a First Nations elder, complete with feathers. If Jack had Indian status, I was not aware. 
Of course, all dignitaries and the who's who of Ottawa were in attendance. When Stephen Lewis, the epitome of Canadian socialism, gave a tribute, there was a standing ovation and the Conservative ministers of the government were put in a tight spot. Dare they stand and condone the statement that Jack's dying words were a manifesto of Canadian Justice and fairness? Jack's ideals are the ideals of everyone in Canada, but there are differing opinions on how to achieve those goals. With the lead of Prime Minister Harper, they all finally stood up. It was the decent thing to do. 
And who would a true Canadian socialist choose to give a sermon at his memorial? Think hard. How about a gay, yet married man of the cloth.  The reverend Brent Hawkes stated that Jack was a very spiritual person and came to church every Christmas, and always asked about his husband. Mr. Hawkes was very articulate, sincere, and his message was well crafted, but his world view is certainly not the same as mine. "It matters not what spiritual journey you are on, but that you are on one." That is an all inclusive statement that precludes any absolute truth. But that is really the way the whole world is going and Mr. Hawkes has legitimized that idea for undecided Canadians at a very high profile and dignified event. We will all know absolute truth when we pass from this life to the next, and that is something that Jack is dealing with at this very moment. 
Judging by all the accolades, Jack was a perfect man. Well, we know that to be untrue, just as it is in our own lives. He has skeletons in his closet, as we all do. How easy to idolize a man after his passing. 
And what about his legacy? He will enter the history books as the only NDP leader to take his party to Official Opposition status. He was a very likable and charismatic leader and friend to many. He was responsible for the demise of the Bloc Quebecois, but time will tell if the NDP becomes the new voice of the self described disenfranchised French Canadian. One of Jack's last tasks was to appoint his successor, and he cleverly chose someone who has ties to Quebec separatism. He will be remembered  very favourably by his family. He will be an inspiration to aspiring social activists and will no doubt be declared a saint by his party. We can only hope that the remembrance of his style will bring a bit of lacking civility into the House of Commons. He galvanized his party in life, but will his death now have the same effect?  

No doubt, Jack will, in the end, have done some good for Canada.        

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just One of the Gang

My favourite photographic subject. He is a happy, cheerful, willing boy who just loves to be part of the action.

Dry land canoeing so his mom does not have to worry.

Hurry up dad, I've been ready for a long time.

Ferrying back and forth to shore.

Canoeing is for sissies but I still like it.

Psyching himself up for the big tube ride.

It's been a long hot day, but worth every minute. I need a nap.

Friday, August 26, 2011


We are not used to seeing a lot of sky where we live, so what some people might find strange, staring at the sky, I quite enjoy. Early morning and late evening are the best sky gazing times, and I got a good eye full of God's artistry on more than a few occasions. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Random Fun

Eech .. Oooch .. Ouch! These rocks are sharp.

Waiting his turn for the water sports.

Waiting for all the ducks to get in a row so they can haul the next body around the lake.

Nathan's valiant attempt at getting up on the skis. He was oh so close as you can see here. In the next few seconds he was ploughing water with his face.

Ready for the next victim with Liam shouting encouragement.

Nana (busylizzy) making sure she keeps an eye on everyone so there are no drownings.

Isn't there a law against three year olds driving?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chad in His Glory

Chad does not care for the water one little bit. He has had swimming lessons, and is relatively comfortable in the water, but he just does not like it. Forget tubing, and even the thought of trying to water ski gives him the willies. But getting on the Seadoo with Uncle Andrew .... now that is another story!

His fear and healthy respect for the water is put behind him and his total trust in his beloved Uncle allows him to forget that he is on the water, and he just enjoys the ride.

Getting to this daredevil stage of Seadoo tricks did not come immediately, but through many gentler rides, each building on the success and thrill of the last ride

Soon, nothing is too wild and wet. Bring it on!

Near spills, severe tilts, submarining, getting soaked, are all just part of the thrill.

There was nothing that would deter him from asking for another ride an hour later.

Coming into shore, the tense and nervous look on his face totally disappears and what is left is a satisfied, happy ten year old boy who has just run out of adrenalin.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Being Cool

This is Keith, showing Nathan how it is done. This is his first attempt in many years to get up on water skis. There is a lot at stake here because he was giving Nathan some detailed lessons on how it is done.

It was a bit wobbly at first, but he was up on his first attempt and skiing like a pro. When all eyes are on you, you just have to be cool and pull it off just as smoothly as you can.

After a few runs around the lake, he was looking rather like he was in his element. We were all cheering him on.

And then came the more difficult challenge, the knee board. Much to the amazement of all of us, he was up on his first try with hardly a wobble.

He was soon skimming over the water and through the boat wake, like child's play.

The grimace on his face showed that he was struggling, but just a bit, and he soon glided to a graceful conclusion only a few feet from the beach. What a cool operator in the water!

He just has to work on his land presence a wee bit.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lazy Daze

By early afternoon, as you can see by the thermometer, it was good and warm and then it was either in the water or in the shade. There was usually a cool breeze up on the deck so we spent a lot of time up there reading and just hanging out. Nathan always has a book on the go.

Just below us, Keith, Rachel and Liam have found a bit of shade.

Looking south to the Canadian border, we can check up on our immediate neighbours, all Canadians, except for the house on the top of the rock.

These are 'prairie like' clouds and they reminded me of my childhood when the summers were all about blue skies and fluffy cumulus clouds.

The hammock hanging from the big old shade tree was well used and even fought over a few times.

Chad and his Uncle Andrew are resting up from some pretty wild riding on the Seadoo.

An ancient mariner, ever ready with his safety gear well fastened, staring out to sea, dreaming of future exploits on the tube.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Water in the Desert

We have returned from a wonderful week at the lake. The weatherman was bang on and we had meteorological perfection the whole time. We were immediately greeted with a very pleasant surprise when our sibling/property partner, Will, informed us that he has purchased an up-dated boat. It is newer and better than what it replaced and he graciously allowed Keith to use it.

This now meant that all water toys were 'on the table' and Liam was one to catch onto this quite quickly. He quite adamantly announced one evening that his plan for the next day was to go 'tubing', then for a ride on the boat, and finally, a ride on the Seadoo. Thinking this might be just 'three year old talk', we were surprised to see him so gungho the next day, with not a single hesitation.

Here he is, patiently waiting his turn, getting familiar with where the handles were situated.

Seeing that he was such a keener, I went along and gave him a serious lesson in signals to give the 'spotter' in the boat, so his wishes could be passed on to the boat driver. "Thumbs up for 'go' or 'faster'" He thought the fingers would work just fine.

"Thumbs down for 'slower' or 'stop'".

And then he invented this one for 'just right' or in nautical parlance, 'steady as she goes'. He was ready to get rolling and could hardly wait.

With mom holding him tight, what could be more fun? There were no 'sideslips' 'wake jumping', or 'flips'. He is not even three. Those adventures will wait for next year. He did get the boat ride and the Seadoo ride many more times that week, and believe me, he is hooked on motorized water sports. Now, if we could just get him in the water and teach him to swim.