Friday, June 26, 2015

Photos and Food

I was treated royally on Father's day last weekend. Andrew had just returned from Victoria and brought me a bag of chocolate goodies. The photo is a caramel and chocolate covered apple with a spray of white chocolate and marshmallows on the top. There was more.
I got a nice shirt and some monster cookies from Rachel and her family, plus a nice drop-in visit in the afternoon.
busylizzy took me to a Tuscan Garden in Mt. Lehman and told me to bring my camera. The garden is only open in the middle of the day when the light is at its worst, but I still got a few worthy photos, as you can see from below.
I have treasured my roll as a father throughout the years and without taking any credit, I am more than thrilled to see and experience the wonderful family I now have. I am proud of each and everyone of them and love them all to bits. And, because I also had a good father, this day is a good day for me, something that not everyone can say.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cherry Run

A last minute decision was made and off we were to the interior for our annual cherry run. We heard that the cherries were very early this year and we did not want to miss them.
We went to Cawston and found the fruit stand where we purchased the Christalina variety two years ago. They are so much better than the Vans of last year. We missed them by three days, but the Lapins were coming on strong so we purchased 100 lbs. of them and then it was back on the road.
We had only left home at noon so we did not have too much time to dally, however, we did stop in at our friend's in Hedley. The 'good' restaurant was not open Mondays so our friends graciously invited us to share a meal with them. We also had a box of cherries for them.
We noted how much greener it was in the interior than in the Fraser Valley. This is a reversal of the usual pattern. We drove through numerous showers on the way home.
The next day we canned all the cherries we kept for ourselves, 42 quart jars. Of course, we still have a good supply of fresh ones in the refrigerator. These Lapins keep really well and are very firm and juicy. One of the best things about summer is all the fresh fruit and produce that comes on stream. We have certainly got off to a good start with the strawberries and now the cherries.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bringing Morality

The environment was in the news again today. That is not new, but what is new, is that the pope has stepped up, wearing his scientific hat, and proclaimed that we must collectively put an end to anthropogenic climate change, a.k.a. global warming. You can read the article here.
What I find fascinating, no, make that predictable, is the response he is getting from the generally liberal media. They are praising his words and thoughts. "He is putting 'morality' into the climate change issue", as if the pope had a corner on morality and there were no moral issues already present in the ongoing debate.
Is it not interesting that this man is suddenly given credibility when in the past he and his church were denigrated for their stance on abortion? Was he not putting morality into that issue? And how about the issue of the sanctity of marriage? Was he not denigrated for his old fashioned views? As I see it, he has been given token respect, but his views, even though they are becoming quite liberalized, are still demonized because society in general is becoming more averse to religion in any form.
Most recently, he got a lot of publicity by stating that capitalism is the bane of the world and the wealthy should share, in order to alleviate poverty. Nobody took him to task on the fact that the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church is the wealthiest entity on the face of the globe, and as a church, whose mandate it is, to help those less fortunate, is hording its wealth as never before.
We are certainly getting mixed messages from our media outlets. What I would like to see is a bit of consistency in those messages.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Far and Away

It has been a few months since my last Charles Dickens novel so I thought I would tackle something similar but by a different author. I do love reading the classics.
Written in the late 1800's, the setting is rural England and the subject is a young girl's struggle with the three men in her life who are pursuing her. Yes, it is basically a love story, but the reader gets a good feel for life on an English sheep farm at the turn of the century.
The character development is excellent, and unlike a Dickens' novel, we are made aware of the place in the story of each character as they are introduced.
Bathsheba Everdene has inherited a substantial farm from a dying uncle and being intelligent and head strong, she attempts to run it on her own. She has already been sought after by Oak, a young man from her past who now becomes her foreman. The neighbouring farmer, a handsome yet stoic bachelor by the name of Boldwood, is drawn into Everdene's life as a result of a foolish and girlish Valentine's prank. And then there is the dashing and romantic, but somewhat evil Troy, a soldier, who chances on Everdene one evening and sweeps her off her feet despite the protestations of almost everyone in her life.
There are some good plot twists and an ending that satisfyingly ties up all the loose ends. Hardy is an excellent writer both in his descriptions, humour, and his ability to draw the reader into a somewhat emotional involvement in the story.
I give this one 4 1/2 stars.   

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Changing Perspective

                                                                 Central Washington State

Life tends to catch up with us.

We often make decisions in our youth which give no indication that there will be long term consequences. This comes about partly because of ignorance and partly because of the eternal optimism of youth.

This can happen in all areas of life, in our relationships, our health, our finances, our occupations, or our spiritual development. We are flawed beings because of this. Few of us have the wisdom throughout our lives to determine what is ultimately best for us. And if we did, would we have the fortitude or discipline to do the right thing. Most of us just learn to deal with the fallout.

We need not look any further than our own lives to see how this plays out, although it is more obvious and less painful to discern it in others. Who has not said at one time or another, "If only I could do that over again"?

None of us wants to live life with regrets, but it is inevitable that there will be some. We cannot live our lives over, but we can make new starts, even though the consequences of past decisions will always hang over out heads.

As an 'older and wiser' person now, I would love to dispense my wisdom among the young people I meet, but I am nagged by the memory of how it was when I was young. Part of youth and integral to the maturing process is making rash and rapid decisions, often resulting in mistakes, and ultimately that is how we all learn. It is the long term consequences that I would want to save them from. Not being able to see any further into the future than a year or two, most young people would say that it will just all work out. And, to a degree it does, if lessons are actually learned and acted on.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Media Room

After spending more than an hour measuring and consulting, we were anxious for this wallpaper to arrive so we could get at it. It took almost a month, and we arrived 10 days before the big wedding. The very large addition to the already huge house was for the purpose of viewing movies and only viewing movies, although it would also make a great social gathering place.

We started in the washroom because the countertops and plumbing were on hold until the wallpaper was installed.

The poor lighting does not do justice to the rich texture and shimmering gold of this product.

This is the theatre and that is the screen at the back of the room, looking north. That is a normal 6'6" door beside it. This is a house, not a new Cineplex Odeon. Those strips on the right are treads for sub trades with mud on their shoes.

Looking south gives scale to the enormity of this media room with the luxurious commercial grade carpeting. The beverage and popcorn center is at the rear as well as a stairwell going to the top floor of the addition.

After completing the powder room on the first day, I did not want to leave until we hung the two first pieces of the theater wallpaper. This way, I could either lose sleep over it, or look forward to working with it in the morning. As it turned out, the only challenge was spending so much time on the ladder as the highest sections were 12' from floor to ceiling.

It slowly took shape and by the end of the second day it was done. I had estimated for 2 work days and I was right on.

Kudos to Andrew for keeping me going with the next piece just when I needed it. It was a bit of panic getting the paper on without losing the 'wet edge' on the adhesive because of the warmth of the day.

I have done a few media rooms in my day, but never anything quite on this scale before.

Monday, June 8, 2015


This job was close to home, about three minutes away. It involved painting a feature wall in the main bath, and wallpapering a feature wall in the ensuite. But it was not too straightforward. The new heat registers had to come off as repairs had to be made under and around them. It took a while to figure out how to do that. Also, the towel bar was dangling on the wall so we had to place new anchors and re-attach the bar solidly.

The wall was deep purple in a mauve bathroom. We also did fills and touch-ups in the kitchen which had the same colour. The previous painters were not very good at all.

Meanwhile, in the ensuite, I got the paper hung, and it was beautiful stuff. There was enough left over to do a small wall in the entry too. The lady of the house showed me the silver peel and stick tile splash kit she had bought. I asked her if she wanted me to install it and she jumped at the offer. I told her we running ahead of schedule on her job and I would just throw in the extra little bit of work. I had never done this before but I thought that the principle was the same as paper hanging. It was and it wasn't. She would have had a terrible time, and there was no second chance with this product. But it turned out great and I had a 4" strip left when I was done, just barely enough! It was fun to have a bit of variety on this one, and, as always, meet another wonderful person.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Mornig

A beautiful Sunday morning and busylizzy beside her Mother's Day hanging basket and our Begonia BBQ. No, we do not BBQ Begonias, but we do use some old things as planters on our property. The big vine is a Hops Vine, which provides wonderful shade on hot summer afternoons and provides busylizzy with Hops Tea in the winter time.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Before the Baby

About a month ago I got a call from a fellow in Mission who wanted to book me for the end of May. He said he would have his paper by then and he needed to get it hung before his wife gave birth. I told him to call me the minute he got it in and was surprised to hear that it actually came when it was promised. It was the feature wall in the master bedroom. It was a plain paper but was what they wanted.

It had little rigidity to it so it was stretching and wrinkling a bit. Any warping becomes a big problem on a long wall as the problem accentuates with each piece. I managed to hold it together without any wrinkles or splicing

Here you can see the shiny wet adhesive and also all the 'orange peel' texture from a bad paint job.

In the end, it was an elegant and understated look, and the last thing I heard was the expectant mother squealing with delight as we walked out the door. Apparently she was too self-conscious to show herself while we were working, and we never did get to meet her.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cleaning Things Up

We were called to a very old farmhouse on Sumas Prairie. The basement office was in bad need of an overhaul. We primed the walls in this case because of the patches and the different colours on the wall, and then hung this very plain textured paper. The photos do not show what a big difference this made to the appearance of the room.

It was not really decorative, but more or less just cleaning things up. It had been a very dark and dingy room before, with dark walls and chocolate brown shag carpet on the floor. The owner was amazed at the light and airy feeling and was very pleased.

As you can see, it was not much of a pattern, but it did the job. It was rather stiff and hung like cardboard, but that went a long ways to hide all the small flaws on the surface of the walls.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Friendship Garden

There is a beautiful little garden, only two blocks from our house, that was built as a token of friendship between our city and a sister city in Japan. It is called the Friendship Garden. The price tag was over $1 million and because nobody uses it, it seemed like a waste. It backs onto our public library, which just recently also became a mini-campus for our local university. So, there is a bit more use, but when we go there, and we go often, it seems like it is our own private garden because we rarely see anyone there. It is a truly beautiful and tranquil escape from the noises and bustle of the city just outside its high walls. The waterfall adds a natural background sound and you can easily imagine that you are far from the city. Few people know of it, although we did meet a couple from Nova Scotia just yesterday, who were exploring it for the first time. Maybe we need to be tourists in our own town and discover other little gems like the Friendship Garden.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Room With a View Part 2

Here a few more photos that should have been included in the post below.

This was the fancy stone fireplace mantle in the master bedroom.

There was barely enough material to go around the corner so the customer got a bonus wall.

Room With A View

My Google map showed me that the address was on the top of the north side of the mountain, but I was not prepared for the spectacular view when we got there. I thought I had explored all the nooks and crannies of our valley, but I had never been here before. The windows and the deck in this master bedroom were a step away and I had a difficult time keeping my eyes on my work.

The wallpaper was a non-pasted product and was a replica stone wall. It was amazingly accurate, right down to the reflective bits of mica in the stone. It was a joy to hang and the end result was exactly what the owner was trying to achieve.

The pattern was easy to match, and here is my partner, Andrew, doing the work while I take the photos. Usually it is the other way around.

And this was the view. The Fraser River is near flood stage so there is more than the usual amount of water in the valley. You can also see the air quality is not great. It has been many days since it has rained and the smog from Vancouver is building up in the eastern valley. Still, the view was great and I would love to wake up to this sight every morning.