Thursday, January 31, 2013


I came to BC in 1964 and found, to my great delight, that there was a paper route up for grabs. I was 15 years old and needed a job and money. In those days, there was no allowance or any handouts from 'Daddy'. I had had a paper route in Saskatchewan, delivering the weekend edition of some big paper from back East.  It netted me about $5 a month, more than enough for spending, and starting a healthy savings account.
This new "Province" newspaper route was a daily route, except Sundays, and the catch was that the last paper had to be delivered by 7 am. That meant getting up at 5 am and getting back home just after 7 am. There was a probation period and I did not want to let down the company, the customers, or my cousin who had outgrown the route and just handed it to me by his strong recommendation to the Vancouver Province.
I purchased a reliable used bike with my savings, installed a huge rack on the rear fender, with a 'trap', and I was off. I started in the summer months so the early mornings were bright and sunny, a good chance to familiarize myself with the 110 addresses. 
The winter came and the darkness and rain settled in. It was then that I had to develop some endurance and also some techniques to keep the papers from getting soaked. 
The route supervisors were vigilant and after some time had passed, I began to be recognised for my dedication and hard work. The merit was based on accurate scheduling, collection, and recruiting new customers. After a year, I had grown the route to more than 125 paying customers and it was netting me about $25 per month. 
The biggest bonus for me was that I had all my evenings free because it was after I got home from my route that I would do my homework, before breakfast and heading off for school. There was also a few extra papers every day, so my dad got his newspaper to read with his breakfast every morning. 
The company treated us like the young independent businessmen that we were. It was great training. I had some adventures and many good memories to recall.    

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Ice forming on the shores of Mill Lake
The ice remains as the temperature slowly creeps upward. It is in the shadows and sheltered bays, where the warming rays of the sun do not quite reach. Hovering around zero every morning, it just feels like I need to escape. It has been ten or more consecutive years now that we have gone south, far enough to forget the ice, and no longer feel the cold temperatures that spawn it. We have enjoyed and looked forward to each trip, and cherish the many memories. Many have asked why we are not going this year. A fair question. I have discussed with very few, our situation, but obviously, there is a reason we are not going.
Why would we not go? There are three things that enable a winter vacation to a sunny destination. Desire, time, and finances. We are in the midst of a rather large change in one of these areas. The seeds of change have been sewn in the last year, and soon the picture will become much more clear. "They" say that change is good. We will see about that.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I was scrolling through the last few weeks of posts and concluded that this blog is becoming more of a movie and book review than I had intended. I have been taking some time off work, not always by choice, so have had the time and inclination to read more than usual. Also, a bit out of character, we have gone to more movies recently.
The photo above is of me on my favourite walk. (I have also been walking more than ever) There are three places I like to walk, one of them being strictly an errand based effort, and the other two, nature walks. Above, I am at Fish Trap Creek Park. I walk here several times a week. It is, from my doorstep, a round trip of about 5 Km. and just enough to tire me out a bit and get my circulation and heart rate up a tad.
One of the joys about going regularly, is that I see the subtle changes from one week to the next. The ice forming, the ice melting, the waterfowl congregating in the open water, the variety of winter water fowl visitors and the changing behaviour of the ducks as the weather changes.
Yesterday was sunny and relatively warm. The hundreds of Canada Geese were gathering on the nesting islands and were competing for nesting spots. There was a lot of squawking and jostling and I was thinking that it was too early for this and that they were being fooled by the warmth of the late January sunshine.
I spotted a pair of Bald Eagles in the top of one of the giant Cottonwoods and wondered how many of the small Buffleheads they had eaten in the last while. The numbers are definitely down. I would prefer they take out a goose or two as they are the nasty, noisy, messy birds. But, a Canada Goose is larger than an Eagle, pound for pound, so that will not happen.
I notice too, how the fluctuating water levels, due to hard rains, has cleansed the water. The levels are up and the grunge in the water seems to have disappeared.
Soon, the buds will be popping out, both leaves and Salmon Berry Blossoms, and then the Skunk
Cabbage spikes will push up through the dead fall of winter, adding splashes of bright green and yellow as the days become longer.
The changes are often subtle, and they are changes I would not see if I did not walk there regularly. Being aware of the changes and looking for them makes the walk an always interesting and worthwhile exercise.
It is even better walking with a friend.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mystery in Seattle

The 'murder mystery' genre of literature is not something I am attracted to but that is what this book is. I decided to upload this Kindle book because of the premise and the promise of a good "hard to put down" read. 
The location is Seattle and the mystery revolves around a cache of gold that was buried in the suburbs in the mid eighteen hundreds. The burial site is now being disturbed by the construction of a huge underground tunnel that will carry light rapid transit into and out of the downtown area. 
What I like about this novel is how the main character's past is slowly revealed. At first I thought that there must be a prequel to this book, but eventually, all was revealed. The character is well developed and the plot moves along at a brisk speed, with just enough complicated twists and turns to keep me turning the pages. There is an abundance of action and suspense. The main character somehow manages to escape all sorts of calamity without being some kind of super human being. He is a regular guy who is highly motivated and has a great instinct for survival. Although the plot weakens just a wee bit near the end, the action picks up greatly and makes up for it.  
This is a very well written book and it gets 4 stars from me.     

Friday, January 25, 2013

CIA Persistence

Did I mention that there is a trend to ultra long movies these days? Is it a ploy to get the patron to buy more drinks and popcorn? Is it an excuse to raise prices? Whatever it is, I wish they would stop. 

What could have been a riveting and exciting movie, turned into an endurance test as we sat through almost three hours of false leads, extended dialogue, gruesome torture scenes, Pakistani street scenes, and endless CIA board room meetings. I knew they would eventually "get to the chase" and I could not wait. But I did, and the last half hour was almost worth the wait. 
So for those of you who do not know what this movie is about, I will tell you what I am talking about. 
For a decade after 9/11, there was a massive CIA hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind all the Islamic terrorist attacks around the world. A young lady is hired in the beginning of the hunt based on her intelligence (smarts) and her ability to sift through facts and come up with plausible scenarios. She is the one who, eventually, through her dogged persistence and tireless footwork, thinks she has found Bin Laden. She then has to convince her superiors that he is actually in the location that she has discovered, despite very little evidence. The mission is planned and the rest is history, or at least that part of history that the CIA is willing to divulge to the public. Another complaint I have is the profanity. Is it really necessary? Vulgarity is no substitute for wit, but the writers do not get that. 
I give this movie 3 stars, but only because there is some intrigue in the fact that it is based on true events.    

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thirteenth Amendment

I have had a ton of exposure to the mid nineteenth century in the last few weeks. First it was Charles Dickens "Great Expectations", and then it was the movie "Lincoln". Yes, the movie was very much about Abe Lincoln, but should really have been titled "The Thirteenth Amendment". It was not a biography of Lincoln, but a small chapter in his life during his second term of President, near the end of the Civil War. (1866) 
It is political intrigue at its finest. Although not entirely historically correct (every Hollywood movie has a bias) it is a fascinating and very well acted and scripted story. Daniel Day Lewis is absolutely superb as  Lincoln. His portrayal, even if it may or may not be  accurate, gives a wonderful sense of what the President may have been like and what is portrayed is very attractive and endearing.
It is a portrayal of Lincoln as president (Commander in Chief), father, husband, intellectual, philosopher, and leader. He is compassionate, passionate, humorous, shrewd, and a force to be reckoned with. A complex man for complex times. 
The story revolves around the Republican's (the ruling party at the time) efforts to ram through the 13th amendment before the truce was signed to end the civil war. The document had already been passed by the senate, but needed to get a majority in the house of representatives. The back room deals, the bribes, the promises, and the coercion, show that modern day politics are not that modern. There is palpable suspense,even though we already know from history what the final outcome will be. 
It is a fascinating look into the historical times, and the beginning of emancipation for the black slaves. In the context of the times and attitudes of the day, the debate of "created equal" vs. "created equal under the law" is a fascinating one. At one point, one of the speakers brings up the point that if the "Negroes" are freed, what will surely come next will be the right to vote. There were many aghast at this idea. Then he went on to say that "after that there will even be the vote for women!" This absolutely brought the entire house to utter pandemonium as such an idea should never even cross one's mind. We smile at the very thought, but it shows how far we have come in our understanding of 'equality'. 

I highly recommend this movie and give it a 5 star rating.        

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Was I Expecting?

Charles Dickens wrote this classic as a magazine series in 1860 - 1861 and it was published as a book a year later. 153 years later, I decide that I need to read it. It is a long book, and at times I got a little impatient with the Victorian language, but the plot would then thicken, or twist, or reveal, and I would be back with all my attention. 

Pip is a young lad who is being raised by his sister and her husband, Joe, a blacksmith. The story opens with a very scary encounter with an escaped convict in a church cemetery. As I read, I began to realize that everything that happens to Pip is to be remembered because there is a reason and an outcome. 
He is taken on, by a wealthy woman, to provide company for her and her adopted daughter. Pip is smitten, even at his young age, by the beauty of Estelle, the young lady. The woman also pays Joe to apprentice Pip as a blacksmith. 
One day, he is visited by a lawyer from London to inform him that he has a benefactor who will provide huge sums of money to make him a man of substance, and thus a young man of great expectations.  The person's identity is to be kept secret until such time that he/she reveals the reasons and substance of the undertaking. 
The plot takes interesting twists and turns, and startling revelations are gradually uncovered. It is a hugely enjoyable read and the themes of love, loyalty, and of course, evil vs. good are all very evident. 
The setting and time period is also intriguing as I assume that the societal expectations of the day are true to the times. Pip, the semi-orphan, suddenly, overnight, becomes "Sir". The class structure is evident in the plot as well as in the day to day descriptions of the characters as they play out the plot. 

As I read the book, I could not help but think that Winston Churchill must have been a Charles Dickens fan. His 'turn of phrase' is very reminiscent of  Dickens' writing, very clever, witty, and taking unexpected turns within the sentence. 

This book is free on Kindle. I give it 4 stars. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Little Superhero

My youngest grandson Liam had a sleepover here this week. The photo is of him fresh out of the bath tub and ready for bed. His Batman PJ's and 'Flame' housecoat are his pride and joy at bedtime. 

In the morning we had a "pancake party". We had a discussion about what the best topping on a pancake was. He was adamant that it was Maple Syrup and Maple Syrup only. He knows what he wants and is not easily persuaded, but after a 'reasoned' dialogue on trying new things, I got him to try Strawberry Jam on a small piece of pancake. I was surprised that his verdict was that Strawberry Jam was now his favourite pancake topping. 

I love it when kids are open minded and teachable. He can have whatever he wants on his pancakes, but at least he was willing to try something new. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In The Winter Sunshine

When the sun came out this afternoon, I could not help but get out there and enjoy it. In the morning I walked to the mall and picked up a few things, invigorated by the long walk. After lunch, the sun was even brighter and I decided to go check out the beaver damage in the park. There were at least 6 more trees that had gone under the tooth and some were half eaten through. The resident beaver has been very busy this past week. 

I think this Mallard was looking for the Beaver too. 

Yes, I was at Fish Trap Creek park again. The north end of the lake was frozen over and I walked to the south end to find the birds. There are some unusual water fowl visiting this winter. They are very shy and I was lucky to get this close. 

These ducks are a nice change from the usual Mud Hens, Mallards and Canada Geese. The Teals whistle with a very high pitch and both of these birds are skittish. I had to sit very still for a long time to wait for these shots, and they are at the far end of my 200 mm zoom lens. But, I was sitting in the sun and even though it was only 2 C I could feel the warmth penetrating my jacket. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Bit of Nostalgia

The marching band performing in front of the BC Parliament buildings in Victoria BC

We attended a high school basketball game tonight, something I had not done in many years. It was at my old school so I had to make a decision. Would I cheer for the team from the school at the top of our street, or would I cheer for the the school that my grandsons attend. Actually, it was a 'no brainer'. 
The game was not as well attended as in the days of old. It could be because the school is now known more for volleyball than basketball, but in my day it was a basketball purist's school and the gym would be filled to capacity every game.  
Another motivator for going was that the MEI Marching Band, 'The Screaming Eagles' was going to be in attendance entertaining during 'time outs' and at half time. 
That was worth the price of admission for sure. My grandson Chad is in band at the school, playing the trombone, but wants to upgrade to saxophone eventually, and join in the marching band. It is a worthy goal. This band is sought after for various events and rightly so. They are precise, very musical, and the choreography, while marching and playing, is something to see. The drum corpse is particularly electrifying. 
One thing that has not changed at my old school, is the competitive spirit and the striving for excellence. It was good to be back.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hang It

True to keeping with the current trends, my customers or their designers are mostly choosing black and white wallpapers. Above, we are working in a very fine home in Pepin Brook Winery Estates, installing a leather-like wall covering in a powder room. One of the most challenging tasks is to accurately paper around a pedestal sink, without calling a plumber to dismantle the whole thing. This time it turned out rather well.  

Just putting on the finishing touches, maybe cleaning up. That is my nether region you see with a towel rack coming out of it. No, I was not impaled.  My official photographer does not always warn me when it is photo time. 

Today we were at the top of Eagle Mountain. Although the view from the south side of this house was "to die for", my photographer thought this the better subject. The ceiling was 9 ft. tall and with no room for a ladder in the cramped quarters, I am standing on a granite counter top, praying that it will bear my weight. 

The black and silver wallpaper was fragile and every corner was crooked. The 'mud' on the drywall seams was inadequate, and the paint sealer was of such poor quality that it did not seal, so the moisture from the adhesive buckled the drywall tape and there were horizontal buckles in the wall right at eye level. We will find out in 24 hours if the buckles shrunk smooth after the wall dried. It will be an expensive repair if they do not settle down, but it was an unforeseen circumstance beyond my control and it will be at someone else's expense. 

Smoothing the second to last piece, I was happy when the contractor offered to remove the toilet which is near my toes. It sure does make my job easier. When I saw this photo, I realized that I had forgotten my usual deceitful practice of sucking in my Christmas belly. But you can see the wallet in my back pocket is fat from all the work we have had. Ten hours last week and so far three hours this week. At this rate, the Christmas belly will evaporate as we run out of grocery money. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I have been walking a lot lately. I believe that since early December I have walked on average, at least every other day, and sometimes twice a day. My average walk is around 5 km. 
It feels good. 
On Saturday mornings I drop in to see my dad in the care facility, but on the way there, I always stop in at Mill Lake and walk around the lake. Yesterday, it was -6C and was frosty, but that means that I just pick up the pace and try to keep warm by walking faster. The lake was frozen over except for a few tiny open areas where the ducks, geese, and seagulls are churning the water. 
The large sized lawns were all frosted over, but looking into the sun, they shimmered with jewel colours. It was not only refracted light, but the remains of the Autumn leaves catching the early morning sunlight, low on the horizon. A wide angle shot did not do it justice so I just zoomed in on a small piece of the big picture. It is amazing that an oak leaf from last fall would be still be intact, and have enough colour to break the winter grays. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

We Need Solutions

I was going to refrain from posting anything on this topic, but due to some in-depth conversations with a number of people, I can no longer hold my tongue. The 'Idle No More' movement has become front and center in Canadian news. If we do not, we should all have an opinion, and should be thinking of a solution or two in the process. Why? Because the outcome of this evolving crisis will be felt by everyone of us, eventually. 
I am troubled by the many contradictions that I observe. 

- 10's of thousands of First Nations people around the country 'round dancing' protesting, marching, drumming and obviously not working while they are doing it. I watch on my lunch break while I am working. 

- Chief Theresa Spence, who is on a hunger strike, talks to reporters, with round and rosy cheeks, and then climbs into a luxury car to go to a hotel to have a hot shower and a rest. "Her health is failing. She could starve to death", say her supporters. She and her husband pull in almost $300,000.00 per year and drive a Cadillac SUV while their people live under leaking roofs. 

- The FN leaders want to speak to our Governor General, the Queen's representative, as nation to nation. The Queen's business was all transferred to the Canadian Parliament when our constitution was repatriated. There is no reality in their request, but a denial of history. 

-Leaders are saying that this whole mess started when aboriginals were not included in the nation building process hundreds of years ago, and yet now want to stay separate as a nation with their own culture, land, resource exploitation and governance. 

-Chiefs and band leaders salaries are in the six figures, often leading small villages of only a few hundred people, while their people live in poverty with inadequate nutrition for the children.  

-FN people's connection to the land, claiming to be guardians of the lands, waterways, and forests, and yet involved in illegal fisheries here in BC that have aided in decimating the Fraser River Salmon runs. 

-Some bands such as the Osoyoos band and the Westbank Band having great success, while others are wallowing in poverty. They could learn from each other. 

-FN people paying no tax and getting free education, and yet very few of them excelling in anything but substance abuse, prostitution, and protestations. 

-Leaders such as the head of the Manitoba band councils calling for illegal actions from his thousands of "warriors" so that they will bring the economy of Canada to its knees while they depend on the success of the Canadian economy to get their monthly welfare cheques. 

Sadly, the movement is not unified in a number of areas. They cannot agree among themselves as to who should be in the talks, and they do not want to be accountable ( they reject Bill C45 207 (3) ) and yet the grassroots band members want the leaders to own up to the abuse of funding.

I would  propose that in order to address the myriad problems that plague the relationship between First Nations and our government, that everything heretofore be thrown off the table and that we start afresh with new ideas that are satisfactory to all. Anything that worked well in the past, keep, and even enhance. Likewise, discard those elements that have been contentious and did not work well. Plan with a view in mind that we are no longer living in the 1800's and we cannot return there. Reject any romanticizing and make it clear that reviving or enhancing valuable cultural traditions will be done by those that value them, and will not cost or infringe upon the rights of other Canadians. Provide mandatory education and require that there be no welfare until at least a high school diploma is achieved. Provide for the bands, both funding and non-governmental expertise in land and resource development that will lead to total independence within a limited time frame. Grant property ownership rights. 

Even if this initially costs us billions and billions, if there is an end game, and true independence is achieved as a result, it will have been worth it. 
The dependence that has been fostered and foisted upon FN peoples was a road to ruin from the beginning. With no pride of accomplishment, no reward for effort, but only a sense of entitlement, the creative juices and talent that we are all born with, are wasted and will wither away. After generations of this, it is time to start afresh.  

When will we as Canadians stop trying to be a bunch of nations within a nation? ( Quebec, and now FNs) We are all Canadians. There is room for all of us. Let us be united in our citizenship of the greatest country in the world and take equal responsibility as we enjoy equal benefits. Every people group that has come to Canada to make a new life, including my own, left oppression and depredation, but did not protest to the government for handouts. We all worked and took advantage of the unlimited opportunities that are here. Those opportunities are still available. Even to First Nations people.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Adventure Like No Other

Pictured above is a 1942 GPW (General Purpose Willy's) amphibious Jeep built by Ford for the US army. I have just read a book about Ben Carlin, an Australian, who circumnavigated the globe in that strange vehicle. It is a cross between a row boat and a 4x4 Jeep. They were useless as an all terrain vehicle in WWII and were quickly abandoned by the army. But Ben thought it would be high adventure to travel the 5 continents and the 7 seas all in one vehicle, and to this day, he is the only person to ever do so.
The book is titled "Half-Safe" written by James Nestor. That is the name that Ben gave to his strange means of transportation and it was, really, less than half-safe. It is a crazy and dangerous journey that spanned many decades, but was finally completed in Canada where it began in 1951. 
Ben was a strange character, rather dysfunctional to say the least, and there is not a whole lot of detail given as there was not much to work with after much research by the author. But it really did happen and what is told in the story is risky, dangerous, and sad, all at the same time. 
Although well written, it is too short and missing large pieces of the journey. I do know one thing and that is that one had to be crazy and fearless to even attempt such a feat. Ben was both. 

3 stars    

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Came. I Saw, I ....

I succumbed. I gave in. I buckled. I went to see "Les Miserables", the musical/movie version of Victor Hugo's novel.
There is realism (or lack thereof) in movies, and there is reality (or lack thereof). This movie has neither. To see two of my Hollywood favourites singing their lines is bad enough. I kept saying to myself, "Why are they doing this?" To see anybody, anywhere, anytime, singing their dialogue to each other is unnatural. I just could not get over it. 
I have read the novel and it is great. This movie detracted from the premise, the themes, the characters, the lessons, and just about everything else I got out of the book. In a word, it was a 2 1/2 hour endurance test for me. I don't ever recall being so restless during a movie and wondering when it would finally end. 
It was a little like having a tooth pulled while watching paint dry, and I have had experience doing both.
I mean, really. When does an aging man haul his foster daughter's wounded boyfriend through raw filth in the sewers of Paris, singing in an operatic voice. Maybe that is why the pure unadulterated E-coli did not infect the open gunshot wounds on the boyfriend. They fled in shear terror of the incongruity of the situation. 
I should have done the same. 
For Victor Hugo's sake, I will consent to a minimum 1 star.      

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Good Military School

Again, the reviews were great, almost all 288 of them. I am getting rather suspect of these reviews, but what else do I have to go on? Had I been aware of the episodes of vulgar language and speech, I would have not bought this book, but, having just finished reading this very long novel, I realize that without the graphic episodes, the impact of the story would be all but lost.
The setting is a military college in the deep south, where tradition and connections are very deep seated and all important.  The time is during the Viet Nam war, mid sixties, and during the time of racial integration. These themes play out as new recruits to the college are 'hazed' in what is known as 'the process', an ordeal for the best of them, which will break them, and then rebuild them into complete men. 
Our hero, Will McLean, finds something innately wrong with 'the process' and his sense of justice and fairness only strengthened as he finds that he is becoming one of the people he has learned to loathe.
Add to this a mysterious friendship with a disgraced young lady, connections to a very wealthy 'old money' family, a very interesting friendship with his history professor, and plenty of conflict with fellow cadets as a huge mystery unfolds, a mystery that has gone from rumor and innuendo to fact. 
The author is eloquent, poetic, and is a truly gifted writer, especially when he is writing about the bond of friendship between four room mates and the development of these characters. 
Underlying a really great story, is the transformation of a boy into a man, not the man the institute is trying to create, but a man who is true to himself and all that he values.

The language is graphic and not for the faint of heart. It is spoken by the characters, in dialogue with each other. Other than that, the writing is on a very high level, insightful, eloquent, literate, and mostly beautiful, delving into issues of racism, brutality, friendship, betrayal, social class, honour, courage, and standing up for what is right. 

4 stars      

Friday, January 4, 2013

Problem Solved

After some research, which was confirmed by a reader, I found a solution to my uploading problem. "Try a different browser" they intoned. 
I was reluctant but gave in and now am browsing with Mozilla Firefox. Like all changes, it takes some getting used to. I used to use Firfox years ago but had forgotten most of what I see in it now. For some reason it allows the little pop up on blogger's photo up loader that gives the option of selecting a photo from my computer. I am back in business.

So, to the post. I tell people that I do not watch TV and that does not mean that I watch a 'little' TV, it means I do not watch TV. So I broke my abstinence. I sat down in front of the TV the other night and could not believe that I absolutely killed three hours there. 
I watched back to back episodes of "Storage Wars" and then some "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" affectionately known as Triple D.  All I can say is "formula". Mild interest on my part, and plenty of salivating on the cooking show.  
I keep saying that I will not respect hockey when and if the greedy players and owners get going again, but I am ready for some of the only TV that I have watched in many years, my favourite sport, hockey.      

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Perplexed and Bewildered

   The New Year has brought a perplexing problem to my blogging. When I want to insert a photo onto my post, I no longer have the option of uploading a photo from my own computer. Do they think everyone on the planet has gone to hand held devices? This angers me. I process all my own photos with Photoshop and then save them on my computer. When I want one, I simply up load it. Now I can only load one from Picasa, this blog, a web cam, my device, my phone, or from a URL on the web.

    I am working on it, but if I can no longer do it my way (like Frank Sinatra did) then I am out of here and I will start a new blog on any one of the many other blog sites that are out there., what are you thinking?!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Sunday evening, 9 pm. the urge came over me to do my annual jigsaw puzzle. I set it up and an hour later I felt like I was stuck so I went to bed.

Feeling fresh and inspired, I continued on Monday morning and by noon I had completed the border and a few of the easy parts. I even got a long walk in the snow under my belt before getting back at the puzzle.  I would have to call in the recruits if I was going to get this thing done. Some kids with fresh eyes, but not crossed eyes. C'mon Nate!

They stayed for 2 1/2 hours and we were really making progress when I had to take them home.

By 9 pm it was "Mission Accomplished". Not an easy puzzle at all, but the funny thing was that I had forgotten that this puzzle was a 'hand-me-down' from the recruit's home. They had done this one last year! They claimed it was not any easier than last time but they sure did well.
I'll break this one up soon, but there will not be any icebergs involved.