Friday, September 30, 2011

Are We Afraid?

The Federal Government recently commissioned a report by the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy to tell us what the impact of climate change will be. They looked at several different scenarios ranging from high immigration with accompanied economic growth, to low immigration with a stagnant economy. The costs range from $21B per year by 2020, to $91B per year by 2050. It seems that the biggest expenses will come from increased forest devastation, flooding due to rising ocean levels, and increased health care cost due to poor air quality in the excessive heat.
This is all pure conjecture. For example, the rise in ocean levels was predicted to have started already, yet there is no evidence.
What really irks me is that there is no mention of the possibility that costs will be offset by advantages of a warming trend. (note that there is no longer talk of 'Global Warming', but only climate change) Here are three economic advantages of  a rise in overall temperatures in Canada.
1. A longer tourist season.
2. Better and more food crops due to a longer growing season.
3. Reduced heating fuel consumption and costs and thus reduced emissions, thus reduced pollution, thus reduced greenhouse gases, which will in turn cause less heating of the atmosphere. (Which will cause a cooling trend, which will bring us back to a cold Canadian climate.)
Do you see how convoluted it can get when studies are based on pure conjecture and computer models? When the sunspot activity returns to normal levels, and the ocean currents once again find their equilibrium, we will be fine. The problem is the 'Climate Change Industry' will not leave this alone. It is a Goose who laid a golden egg and they will do all they can to perpetuate fear and uncertainty. For the government to use our tax money to commission a study such as this, in a time when the economy is shrinking and the money could be better spent elsewhere, is reprehensible.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A New Addiction

Admit it, we all have addictions.

In the docu/movie "Super Size Me", a drug addiction therapist talks about a drug given to heroin addicts that prevents the brain from 'up-taking' the stimulant and soon the heroin has no power over the user as it does nothing for him/her. Apparently, they can give this same drug to chocoholics and they soon lose their taste for chocolate. This therapist has not experimented with the latest creation from Herhsey's, the Oh Henry Peanut Butter chocolate bar. There are now three Oh Henry bars to chose from, the regular, the fudge, and the peanut butter. Why do 'they' keep coming up with these saturated fatty calorific inventions that I have such a weakness for? This stuff is so good you cannot eat one, but rather you must devour several. If you have no will power, you must eat many at a time because one just cannot get enough of this yummy goodness.
I opened the above photo to import it to my blog post and the mere visual image of it brought a wonderful aroma to my olfactories and I immediately began to salivate. I think it was just the photo that did that, or maybe it is the bag of bars on my desk, and the pile of wrappers lying at my feet. I cannot be sure. I am conducting my own experiment here. All in the name of science, you know. I want to, no, I need to find out how many bars a chocolate addict can eat at one sitting before the mere thought of any more makes it inconceivable to eat even one more. I'm not even close yet.
My next post may be from a recovery house where I will be in the throes of a 12 step program.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Albert Camus, French philosopher and author, wrote this: "Don't walk in front of me, I might not follow. Don't walk behind me, I might not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend."
I was thinking about friendship this week as my customers were telling me of their enjoyment when they took holidays with friends. We have done the same thing, many times, so I could identify with what they were telling me.

I realised that I do not appreciate or value friendships as much as I should. There have been times when friendships were hard to come by for me, due to circumstances. Other times, there were so many friends we could not do justice to them and many had to fall away. There is the old saying that the older we get, the more we need friends who knew us when we were young. We are finding great wisdom in this. It also follows then, the longer we foster a friendship with someone, the more valuable it becomes. We are finding this to be true also.
So, to all my friends out there, and you know who you are, thank you for being a friend. Thank you for putting up with my quirks, my inconsistencies, my times of absence, my thoughtlessness at birthday or anniversary times, and my tendency to 'spout off'.

The photo above is my portrayal of friendlessness. A beautiful path to walk on, but nobody to walk with, a new adventure just around the corner, but nobody to share it with, and a park bench with a view, a place to sit and enjoy conversation while basking in God's creation, but nobody to sit with. And, worst of all, colourless.  I do not want my world to look like that, and thanks to my friends, I do not have to have it that way.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lost and Found

My son went on a hike in the Coquihalla mountains on Saturday and one of his hiking buddies took a bit of a detour to a small waterfall and made an interesting discovery. They found a cylindrical canister with a parachute attached. With only a small amount of mildew on the fabric, it looked like it had not been there too long. There was a notice on the canister that said to report the discovery to the police or the military. Andrew had his camera and his GPS with him and recorded the item and location. Not wanting to get involved with police red tape and paperwork, he came up with another solution. His Brother-in-law's sister's husband is in the Canadian Air Force based in Comox and he considered reporting it to Tyler on a long shot. That was yesterday, and today we find out that Tyler's friend is in charge of such things and he will take care of it shortly. Tell me? Have you ever seen anything regarding government moving at the speed of light like this has? Makes me wonder what is in the container labeled "Do Not Handle".

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Not Again!?

I recently wrote about the car that bumped the side of the bank and the reaction of emergency services that resulted. The blame lies both on the respondents and the 911 caller. How often have we heard about the 'bomb squad' being called out because of a mysterious package which in reality was a left over sandwich in a brown bag?

This morning we read about the latest incident of this nature. It happened in Saskatoon where the city police responded to a 911 call regarding guns in a vehicle. It was a family, mom, dad, three kids and a friend, on a trip to the mall. They were stopped, the parents were forced face down on the ground, and the kids were traumatized with the cops guns being pointed at them. As it turned out, the kids had a toy gun, an over sized white, orange and green dart gun.
The 911 caller should be taken to task, perhaps given a crash course in what a real gun looks like. The cops could have used a bit more discretion too. Incidents like this are another reason for us to mistrust the judicial system. Everything is an overreaction, another example being the delays in charging any Vancouver Hockey rioters.
If this kind of thinking is a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, which we just recently memorialized, and I think in large part it is, then perhaps it is time to put that tragedy behind us and move on instead of letting it slowly erode our common sense and our freedoms. Ten years of remembering is perhaps enough and maybe next year there could be a huge celebration to announce that we are now taking a new direction. We are no longer going to let paranoia rule our lives. There is no way to eliminate all risks at all times, but instead we will move forward with confidence and common sense. Don't worry. It will never fly.   

Friday, September 23, 2011


This book is the true story of a most amazing man and his almost unbelievable story of survival, resilience, and redemption. I have read countless books in my day, and as a youngster, read many stories of the experiences of war veterans. This book tops them all by a mile. I had a most difficult time putting it down as one exploit led to another and the story escalated to an incredibly satisfying surprise ending, made all the more amazing because it is all true and well documented. This story truly has it all and is written by award winning Laura Hillenbrand. She knows how to keep the reader on the edge of his seat, all the while simply stating the facts.
The saga of WWII has within its fabric, a limitless number of personal stories, many never before told. The stark realism and tragedy of war comes to life under Laura's pen and the reader is awed by the scope of the suffering and loss of life. How one man endured, survived, and redeemed his broken life is a testament to the human spirit and the work of God in an individual's life. This is not a 'Christian' book in any sense, but the story of a man who made a promise to God in his most incredible time of need and only remembered that promise many years later, when he had come to the end of his rope.
If you only read one book this year, read this one. It is simply too good to pass up.   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blackberries and Deception

It was and still is a good year for wild blackberries. Just the right amount of rain and sunshine put a lot of sugar into these little guys and they are bursting with flavour. busylizzy makes juice with them and we now have 16 quart jars of concentrate that we mix with Ginger Ale for the most delightful beverage.
My work has been picking up as the annual Fall rush is under way. After considerable time off this summer, I must conclude that getting up early is good for me. Not having coffee with friends in the middle of the day is good for me. The physical exercise of work is good for me. Coming home exhausted after an eight hour day is good for me. Doing estimates and paperwork in the evenings is good for me. Stressing over my schedule and whether I need to adjust it is good for me. Watching a beautiful day from inside is good for me. Collecting 12% HST for the government is good for me. All this lying is good for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Old Friend

Even Great Blue Herons have been anxiously waiting.

The sun is warm and the days are still long so why am I watching hockey? It has not been that long since the Stanley Cup final and the riots. It seems like hockey should not be starting already, and yet, there I was last night, sitting in front of my TV, watching an exhibition game between Calgary and Vancouver. It is a bit like seeing a good friend after a long absence, and the best part is, I will see him about 2-3 times a week for the next 10 months. I hope he will not disappoint me this year like he did last year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Just ducky at sunrise.

Do you know who Pat Robertson is? He is the president and host of a very long running Christian TV program called "The 700 Club" He is a baptist minister with 50 years experience and once was a US presidential candidate. He fields questions from viewers of his show and was recently asked if a person, whose spouse had advanced Alzheimer's disease, could in good conscience divorce and re-marry while the patient was still living. His answer was a bit shocking. He acknowledged that it was a difficult situation to be in, but the patient was, for all intents and purposes, not the same person and was not going to live long and the healthy spouse should divorce and re-marry if he wanted to get on with his life, providing that the patient would be cared for.  
National media picked up on this quickly and condemned him for his stance.
How do you feel about this question?
One of the free services this blogger provides his readers, is his opinion. Oh, you had not noticed?
First off, I disagree with Mr. Robertson. I doubt he would find Biblical backing for his belief on this one, and usually he does back up his opinions with Scripture. This flies in the face of what marriage was intended for, and, indeed, contradicts the vows that most married folks take on the day of their wedding. Of course, the vows rarely stop disgruntled spouses from divorcing, but for committed couples, 'until death do us part' is taken completely seriously. Does love and commitment stop at failing health? Do we abandon a spouse when they need us the most?  Doctors say that the last thing to go with an Alzheimer's patient is the feeling of connectedness. When recognition and communication fail, surely love can still be sensed and valued at some primal level. Leaving your spouse under these circumstances is self serving, not at all a noble thing to do.
As for the media's response, it is quite hypocritical. Always ones to criticize Mr. Robertson for this and that, suddenly he is given all sorts of credibility and then given a slam dunk to the canvass by condemning his answer on this question. Where are the national media when the national divorce rates come up in a story. Are they critical then? Suddenly love and fidelity are all important and Pat Robertson is a low down dirty son of a gun. Oh, they like to have it both ways, but their hypocrisy shines through clearly. If you are against divorcing an ill spouse, then you should be against divorcing a spouse for most other reasons too.   

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baby Boomers

Mount Baker at sunrise.

Us 'boomers' sure are a pesky bunch of people. We have been causing trouble all our lives. It all started when we began filling up the schools and there was not enough room for us. Then we started taking all the jobs, but on the bright side of that, we started paying a lot of money into CPP so that our parents could have old age security. Then we became big consumers and drove the economy for most of our working lives. We borrowed, we spent, we worked, and now we are being demonized. We are now starting to wreak havoc on the medical system.
But that is just the tip of the boomer ice burg. In North America, over the next eighteen years, there will be 10,000 of us per day retiring! And what do we do when we retire? We cash in our stocks and RRSPs. Imagine what this will do to the status quo in the markets. Old men do not spend when they have lost so much of their wealth in the last few years, and going forward, dead men do not spend at all.
Take Japan. They have a declining population and in the next 30 years, some 20 million Japanese are going to disappear. Today, there is a 4 day waiting list to get a body to a crematorium.
One thing is certain. The generations that follow us will have to do something different. I believe we have lived in an unprecedented time in history. Nothing will ever be done again, the way we did it. Those methods, on so many different levels, will simply not work in the future. How will we be remembered? We may care now, but when we are stacked 4 high in the cemetery, we will not care.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I fail to see the attraction of fishing. In today's photo, you can see that there are a number of fishermen on the floating dock on Mill Lake. The lake is stocked with trout, but I have yet to see anybody ever catch a fish there. If they do snag one, do they take it home and eat it? There are signs everywhere warning would be swimmers about the poor water quality. Does this make the fish more palatable?
When I was kid, I went fishing with my dad, and it was more about spending time with him than it was about fishing. I enjoyed eating the freshly caught Northern Pike, fried in butter over an open fire on the beach, but catching them was another matter. I always secretly hoped that a fish would not bite my lure.
On one fishing trip, we were walking along the rocky shore of Long Lake in Saskatchewan, searching out a good place to cast our lines. That would be a place where the weeds were not so bad as to tangle the hooks and leaders to the point that you had to cut the fishing line. We came across a large Pickerel, half in and half out of the water, bloated to the point of bursting, but still barely alive. As we got closer, we saw the cause of its distress. Its mouth was gaping open and sticking out was the tail of another fish, about half its size. With his rubber boots on, my father walked into the water and stepped on the bloated fish with his heel on the tail and the toe of his boot near its head. As he put downward pressure on the fish, the dinner of the greedy Pickerel slithered out, half digested. Then to our amazement, the Pickerel rallied and after a minute or so, wagged its tail at us and swam rapidly out to deeper water, wisely leaving his dinner behind.
After witnessing that, as a small child, perhaps that is the reason I am not a fisherman.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's Tough Out There

If you have a job, a thriving business, a reliable income, some hefty savings, or all of the above, be thankful. If you were an American, one in five of you would be unemployed.
This from the Wall Street Journal:

 The income of the typical American family — long the envy of much of the world — has dropped for the third year in a row and is now roughly where it was in 1996 when adjusted for inflation.

The income of a household considered to be at the statistical middle fell 2.3% to an inflation-adjusted $49,445 in 2010, which is 7.1% below its 1999 peak, the Census Bureau said.

The Census Bureau’s annual snapshot of living standards offered a new set of statistics to show how devastating the recession was and how disappointing the recovery has been. For a huge swath of American families, the gains of the boom of the 2000s have been wiped out.

Earnings of the typical man who works full-time year round fell, and are lower — adjusted for inflation — than in 1978. Earnings for women, meanwhile, are a relative bright spot: Median incomes have been rising in recent years and rose again last year, though women still make 77 cents for every dollar earned by comparably employed men.

The fraction of Americans living in poverty clicked up to 15.1% of the population, and 22% of children are now living below the poverty line, the biggest percentage since 1993.

The article goes on to say that 46.2 million people are below the poverty line, more than any time in the last 50 years.
Around 70% of the USA economy is driven by consumer spending. How can these people be big consumers so the economy can get back on track? It just cannot happen. We are in uncharted territory when it comes to economics. The numbers show that we are not in a recovery, a slump, a recession, or a depression. I believe the correct word would be "a correction", where we have to re-think how to do economy. The old ways will no longer work, that is expansion through spending and borrowing. As soon as our leaders recognise this, we might be able to stop the free fall.

Friday, September 16, 2011


This is another book in my latest series of reading about the world of Islam. This is an autobiography of a wealthy and highly placed Pakistani woman whose husband abandoned her in middle age. She retreated to her family mansion to live out her life in tranquility and luxury with her grandson and her fourteen servants.
A series of incidents happen and she begins to question her Muslim faith and begins to explore Christianity when John the Baptist appears to her in a dream and she has to go to a local Christian missionary to find out who this John guy is. 
Leaving the Muslim faith is no light decision in that culture and she began to feel the alienation from her very large extended family and circle of friends, even to the point of finding that her life was in great danger. 
Her journey of faith is very interesting as she struggles to know what God would have her do in her relationships and with her former life. There is great emphasis put on 'being in God's presence' and she develops an amazing sense of how do that in all circumstances.
It has always intrigued me how Muslims are lead to faith through dreams and miracles. They certainly put more stock in these sorts of things than we do, but when I read the book, I get the sense that very many of the 'miracles' that happened in her life, happen to us also, but we do not recognise them or give them credence as messages from God so that they can guide our lives. 
The book is a bit of a wake up call for any Christian who is being casual with their faith and wondering why they do not feel that God is near to them.     

Thursday, September 15, 2011

MCC Follow-up

What do you do when the local newspaper makes a liar out of you? I read that the proceeds from the sale were just over $600,000.00 which was short of the goal. But then there was a paragraph on the symbolic loaf of bread, which, they said, sold for $100,000.00. Just a minute. I was there. I witnessed the bidding and final offer of $2000.00! There can only be one explanaition for this.
At the sale, there a number of booths where one can simply donate money to MCC with cash or cheque. Perhaps they total all these donations and put them under the 'loaf of bread receipts'. If this is the case, then the announcement of the auction price is very misleading. The way they play it up, it sounds like one person bid the large amount and paid, out of his pocket, the total sum. That would indeed be one very generous person.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Last night was movie night. It was Toonie Tuesday, what can I say. We can't even stay at home and twiddle our thumbs for that price.
"The Help" was recommended to us by at least six people over the weekend so, not wanting to be the only ones in our circle of friends to have not seen it, we relented.
I was tempted to walk out after the first fifteen minutes, but a while later I reluctantly admitted that it might be a good idea to stay. It was finally starting to get to the point.
The time is the early sixties, and the location is the deep southern USA, Mississippi to be precise. The whites and the blacks are miles apart, but are under the same roof because one works for the other. It is an interesting and often amusing study of varying degrees of racial prejudice. It also gets heart wrenching at times to see the way people can treat each other. The attitude towards blacks in the south was deeply ingrained over many generations, and the ugly cycle was only beginning to break during this time in history.
The movie is well done, once the myriad of characters are straightened out and the viewer gets a feel for the developing story line. In the end it is satisfying and knowing history, we have hope because we know how the battle against racism was fought and how it is still being won today.

But I must say that at any moment I was expecting Oprah to make a cameo appearance and urge each and every one of us to go out and buy the book ( the title of the movie is also the title of a book being written in the movie) so we could change America. Oprah got her big career boost from the movie "The Colour Purple" and I could easily see one of the black maids in this movie make a big leap forward from this platform. A final note. I have always been a huge fan of chocolate pie. I was cured last night. I'm stickin' to apple.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Butter Story

My grandfather had a general store in the prairies back in the 'good old days'. There was a story, one of many, about a butter incident that has always intrigued me. Apparently a customer from the farm, one of many, would supply my grandfather with butter, milk, cream, and eggs and would exchange those products for such things as flour, sugar, salt, etc. . One day she brought in a batch of butter, but told my grandfather that she actually needed it for herself. The reason she was bringing it in was because a mouse had dropped into the churn and although she fished it out and the butter was perfectly clean, she was horrified by the thought of eating it herself, even though she was sure it was just fine. She pleaded with my grandfather to simply exchange it for other butter that he might have in stock. He gave her his business man's smile and assured her that he could accommodate her wishes. He disappeared to the back of his store, re-packaged the ladies butter, and brought it back out to her. With eternal gratitude, she clutched her 'new' butter and scurried off home.    

Now, fast forward to Saturday afternoon. While visiting with my father in the care home, he got a visitor that I had never met. We introduced ourselves and I asked what his connection to my father was. He told me that he grew up in the same area as my dad did, and indeed he knew my dad's family. Then he told me how his mother used to bring butter to my grandfather in exchange for other grocery items. Of course, that triggered a question. After relating the butter story to him, I asked if he thought there was even a remote possibility that his mother could have been that woman. He said he doubted it because his mom was sharp. I let him think that, and did not challenge him. After all, how would she know she had been duped. As sharp as she was, I believe my grandfather was even more clever. Besides, these stories lose their intrigue when the mystery is solved.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menno is my Homeboy

The famous MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) sale was this past weekend and for the fourth time in my life, I attended. There are very few changes over the years, but there are some: The people you meet from your past are much older looking. The venue. They now sell Sushi, although what that stuff is doing at a traditional Mennonite event is beyond me.
Pretty much everything else stays the same. For those who are not familiar with this event, or are, but have never gone, this is the deal. First off, you buy your food tickets because food is king at the MCC sale. You then line up for the sausage and pancake breakfast. With Aunt Jemima syrup running off your Styrofoam plate, you find someone you know at the endless rows of tables and chairs and join them for breakfast. It will be somebody you have not seen for many years but have some sort of connection with through a church you once attended.

After the last gulp of so-so coffee, you start wandering. With one eye on the booths and their wares, and the other eye on the lookout for familiar faces, you do the rounds. The rows and rows of food booths can take a back seat now that the pancakes are digesting, and you look for the quilts. At least that is what we did because busylizzy is into quilting. Even a novice has to admit that the quilts are amazing! At this point, you part company with your spouse because she knows a whole set of people from her past that you do not know, and vice versa. It is just more efficient that way.

I wandered to the Auction area and watched the proceeding there for while. There are boats, cars, and three brand new RVs this year all sold at auction. Something I saw at the auction shocked me. They start the proceedings off by selling a loaf of bread to the highest bidder. Of course, it is a donation and the bread is only symbolic. In past years, this loaf has sold for $100,000.00 to $200,000.00. With the economy being down, I was really curious to see how much this loaf would fetch this year. The bidding bogged down at a mere $2,000.00 and that was the final offer. This is unprecedented and does not bode well for the lofty goal of raising at least $700,000.00 at the sale for this year. It also says a lot about the financial well being of our community, or maybe just the fear of letting go of money in a bad economy. There were few bidders and the prices on all the items were very low. It was getting depressing so I began to wander again.

There was no shortage of familiar faces. I could not walk a few yards without making eye contact and then saying hi, or stopping to chat. I even picked up some business when I bumped into an old client from 10 years ago. I spoke with the 92 year old pastor who married busylizzy and myself 41 years ago.  He was so thrilled to see that we were still married. Isn't that a sign of the times? 

We then decided on what to have for lunch. Because we eat all the traditional 'Menno foods' at home, the usual fare did not appeal to us so I had a Bison Burger heaped with fried onions. We found a retired pastor couple from our church and ate with them and what ensued was an interesting conversation regarding their recent trip to Peru. A bit more wandering and meeting and greeting and then back home to get on with our day. 

In the next few days, we will hear how much money was raised for HIV/AIDS as well as clean water wells, all for Africa. I sincerely hope they reach their goal, but it will surprise me. We usually leave a big donation, but because my work situation has been abysmal this year, we too are being careful. If we are typical of the average attendee, there will be a downturn. Let's hope not. 

busylizzy's mom and dad together with Reverend Erwin Cornelson, the pastor who married us. He crafts beautiful wooden dishes and busylizzy purchased a bread plate. He tells us it will be his last MCC sale. If my mind is half as sharp as his when and if I attain his age of 92, I will be thrilled. (And will still be blogging) 

We actually had two pastors marry us, and the lady on the left is the wife of the other one, together with two of her daughters.

Here is me with a real 'find'. This woman, together with her now deceased husband, were witnesses at the signing ceremony of our wedding 41 years ago. She also happens to be one of our neighbours in Oroville.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York City. There will be memorials and tributes, and it will be very difficult for the thousands who lost loved ones. For most of us, it is at a distance and does not not create sorrow or grief, but just perhaps a longing for the way things were 11 years ago. There were many knee jerk reactions by the leaders of all nations at the time, and unfortunately those actions have had a profound effect on our lives in many ways that we do not even blame on that incident.

The purpose of terrorism is not to overwhelm, but to undermine, and in that sense, the attack was successful. We have given up many civil liberties in exchange for a perception of safety. Do you remember colour coded terrorist alerts or suspicious paper bags in hallways or garbage cans before 911?  How about airport security or fear of anyone that even looks Muslim? Our governments are spying on us more than ever before and do we complain? We now take for granted the excessive scrutiny we endure while crossing the border for a bit of weekend shopping.
Another and bigger tragedy is the 4,683 US soldiers, 100,000 soldiers and citizens of Iraq, and many more Canadians and others who lost their lives fighting a war that in the end will only accomplish what Iran has wanted for many generations, and that is Iraq out of the way for control of the Gulf.

Brown University recently did a "Cost of War" study for the decade and came up with the figure of  $4 Trillion. So we can conclude that even our financial woes are in great part to be blamed on 911. War is for the most part, a very unproductive undertaking, and even more so when it is done with borrowed money.
I am afraid that we have let the terrorists win this one. It is difficult to imagine how they could have done us more harm than what we did to ourselves in reaction to their attack. Much more than they had hoped for, I'm sure.   

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's OK To Be Blue

Due to the cold early summer we had, all fruits and produce were late in arrival. We could not wait for our Blueberry feed so we bought some of the early variety berries and enjoyed them, but found that just a little handful would leave a sour feeling in the stomach. They tasted a bit tart and certainly had a very high acid content. We are now at the end of the Blueberry season and brought home 25 pounds of the delightful little things yesterday. In a word, they are amazing! I am eating them by the handful and finding that they leave a peaceful, contented feeling in the stomach. It is one of the rare fruits that one can eat 'tons' of at a time and have no ill effects. At least that is true for me.
I had a banana blueberry smoothie for breakfast this morning and it was wonderful.
No this is not "Mennonite Guys Cannot Cook" blog, but I will give you my version of the best smoothie ever. One ripe banana, at least a cup of blueberries, three tablespoons of plain yogurt, and two ice cubes. Put them in the blender and there you have it. If your blueberries are not really sweet, you can add a bit of honey to tasteIt does not get more healthy than that, and I have no idea why my font is suddenly in Italics. Is this what happens when one eats too many blueberries?  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

There is a time and place for drugs, and this morning was the time, and the breakfast table was the place. I am loathe to take any kind of medication, but I had a bottle of Ibuprofen from the sore hip days, and it was just sitting in my medicine chest getting closer to the expiration date. At the time, I bought a large bottle, thinking that my hip would never get better and I would simply manage the pain when it became unbearable. Since my hip was fixed by Dr. Dan, I have not opened that bottle, until this morning. I could hardly get dressed and I had an important job to do that had been arranged many weeks ago. By 9 am the pill kicked in and after the second one at noon, I was about 90% good to go. The job got completed and I did not scream out even one time. I am now waiting for the inevitable digestive problems that I am prone too when I take this stuff. But that is something I will not blog about. I have few enough readers as it is.   

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Hurtin'

I did something at work today that was very physical. I was at it steady for more than three hours, yet I knew after the first twenty minutes that I would be paying a price. My body is yelling at me, "Retire, already, you fool, before you break!"
My form of retirement is to ease out gradually, and actually, that is what I am doing. I had not worked for while, I worked an easy job for an hour in the morning, and only for three in the afternoon. What more does this body want from me? Had I done what I did today for eight hours, I would not be typing this tonight, but would be filling out an application for the after life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I have added another book about Muslims to my list of "Books I Have Read." This one is a little different in that the author never was a Muslim, even though he was a Palestinian and later in life married an Egyptian. He grew up in Jerusalem and was farmed out to a Catholic orphanage, and had most of his early schooling in a French Catholic private school. He later went on to get many different degrees at various universities, and lived in Beirut, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and Morocco.
As a young man, he questioned his Catholic up-bringing when his older brother invited him to a Baptist church in old Jerusalem. The book is about his journey of faith and eventually the calling he had to become a radio broadcaster, telling the Arabic world about Jesus. His mantra is that talking about religion never goes anywhere. Talking about Jesus is what gets results. He learned how to appeal to the Muslim culture and mind and became successful doing so. From that point of view it is interesting, however the book is poorly written, feeling disjointed and incomplete.
My quest in reading all these books about Muslims is to discover the nature of the dichotomy in the world of Islam, the division, if it indeed exists, between the radical and the peaceful aspects of that religion. I am making some progress.  

Monday, September 5, 2011


What a spectacular evening it was last night. We decided to drive to Mill Lake and then do the stroll. I finally remembered to take my pedometer and discovered that it is what I thought it was in distance, a bit over 3Km. I guessed that because it takes me 30 minutes to walk it and my pace is around 6 Km. per hour. The air was balmy like a soft blanket, the sun was just setting, the light was warm, and the air quality was rather good considering it has been warm for so many days now. The orange glow on Mt. Baker made me sorry I did not bring my camera. The path was almost crowded and we met very many people we knew. A quick "hi" and we carried on, except when we met a friend from the past, someone we had not seen but once in the last twenty years. By an amazing coincidence, I had just seen her husband the day before and we spent a couple of hours catching up over a cup of coffee. They were in town together for a change and usually go their separate ways once they get here, in order to cover all family members on their rare visits to their old home town. We made a date, and promised to get together twenty years from now when they are both in town together again. Our grandchildren can push us around Mill Lake in our wheel chairs, while we catch up, and wish we had gotten together sooner. Then we will all go back to the care home for a warm glass of milk and diaper change.   

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Monster Houses

I took a stroll around my old neighbourhood on Saturday morning. It is not what it used to be. It was first developed in the 50's and 60's when there was an abundance of room and lot sizes were large.  

Today these lots are sought after because they are the only properties in town that can accommodate monster houses.

I suppose soon this is the only type of house we will see, but right now, the old 1200 Sq. Ft. homes are dwarfed by the massive houses on every street.

There are no front or rear gardens, and limited landscaping. The houses take up the whole property.

Absolutely every one of them is built and owned by East Indians. It is their culture to house many families in one dwelling, enabling larger and larger numbers of family members to come to Canada.

It may be a clever thing to do, but it changes the neighbourhood. There are parking problems, and when the houses have lost their polish, they are generally poorly maintained and the landscaping is neglected.

Personally, I would not want to spend that much money on a house in a neighbourhood without underground wiring. It is ugly.

These homes are causing controversy in our town, not just because they are so huge, but because there are illegal suite issues and huge revenue losses to the city. Our mayor is one to turn a blind eye, however, because he knows on which side his bread is buttered.  

Here is a rare one that borders on the tasteful.

This one is on my old street, about a block from where I grew up. At that time, we had the nicest house on the block.

And, finally, a photo of an original home on my old street that shows what really should be happening in the old parts of town. A tasteful up-grade is not all that expensive and maintains the character of the subdivision. Of course, if this owner is offered above market value for this home, to be pushed over for a monster home, can you blame him for selling out?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sticking To It

One of the many delights one will encounter on the Mill Lake stroll.

On my May 9th post, I made a prediction that the NDP and Liberal parties of Canada would merge. They have just taken one step closer to that reality. The NDP Mp Pat Martin is making noises that he is going to run for the leadership of the party with a platform of seriously starting a dialogue with the Liberals with the view in mind of working closely together or merging. He has a powerful endorsement from the big union boss of the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers), Ken Lewenza. They both give the example of the Conservative alignment that met with great success, namely the Reformers and Conservatives, both parties frustrated with splitting the anti-Liberal vote for so many years. 
For the NDP and Liberals to now do the same only makes sense for both of them. The Liberals are decimated and floundering, the NDP have gone as far as they can go, and they did that with a charismatic leader who is now deceased. 
The fly in the ointment here is that there is a perception that a two party system is an evil thing. Why? Because, of course, the USA has a two party system, and every good Canadian citizen knows that we do not want to be like the Americans. It is a big part of our identity to 'not be like the Americans'.
If the two parties do not merge, we will have Conservative majorities for a long time to come. And that is why I think the merge will happen. Conservatives are so evil in the minds of the left that we can easily risk being like the Americans in order to prevent the insidious Conservatives from forcing their right wing agenda down our wimpy throats. Don't you love politics? I am sticking to my prediction, and if I am wrong, all the better. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

What The?

I cannot believe I went to see this movie! However, when I was invited to tag along, I thought there was a certain appeal based on the fact that I love westerns, I like action/adventure, and I like Daniel Craig (James Bond) and Harrison Ford. There must be something of value here, I thought.

I was lured in by the opening sequence and was duped into thinking that this was going to be one awesome western. Gritty, mysterious, rugged, and two fisted down and dirty is what it was. But it soon got weird, and when Harrison Ford's character came on screen, I was disappointed. But hey, what can you expect with a title like that. The plot thickens and the object of our interest turns to a mysterious bracelet worn by Daniel Craig. We soon get to see some Steven Spielberg monsters from outer space with all the attendant scare tactics. Why do an alien's eating utensils always come out of their chest? And if you came for explosions, you will not be disappointed. Six shooters do not do well against alien technology, but somehow they, together with bows and arrows and a few sticks of dynamite, save the day. And even Harrison Ford and his whiny snot nosed kid come around to our liking at the end of the movie. This movie was in the middle of the pack for me. Seen better, seen worse.   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Awesome Book!

If you are a reader like I am, you will have a long list of books that you would someday like to read. You know, so many books, so little time. "The Kite Runner" has been one of many on my list of must reads and I finally got around to it. I must say that it is one of the very best books I have ever read. The craft of writing is at its finest in this novel. I have often misjudged a book by its cover or its theme, but the danger in doing that is, of course, that I might miss out on a treasure, a genuine diamond.
This is a story that is totally captivating. It is about Afghanistan, then and now, culture, immigration, friendship, loyalty,fathers and sons, friends and enemies, betrayal, secrets, redemption, and most importantly, restoration. The themes and plot twists weave in and out like a brilliant Persian carpet pattern, each turn of the page revealing more of what lay in the past, and what might be in the future. The foreshadowing always becomes clear after the fact and almost always takes the reader by surprise, yet, we should not have been surprised. The tapestry of wonderful imagery is interspersed with action and suspense and we find ourselves at once loathing the protagonist and then totally sympathising with him, all the while hoping he can rid himself of the deep guilt that forever keeps him from being whole. And how satisfying to discover that in the end, our 'hero' has, indeed, "found a way to be good again".
If I had three thumbs, they would all be 'up'.