Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Father (1924 - 2007)

If there was anyone I knew who had a most difficult life, it was my father. Born in India in 1924, he spent most of his life in boarding schools as both his parents passed away when he was very young. After a short stint in the Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force, he married my mother and soon immigrated to England and, after "picking up" my sister and I, moved to Canada.

Today, he passed away.

I often wondered what my biggest regret would be upon my father's demise and I decided that this one regret would be that we never bonded like a father and son should have. Since then, I have become very aware of my own son's and my relationship and have strived hard to ensure that our relationship remains intact.

Fortunately, I can say that this regret regarding my father, though it is still there, isn't as large a regret as it could have become. In the latter years of our father and son relationship, we found a way to respect each other and, over time, learned to find a way to somehow get along and show love for each other

On Monday, New Year's Eve, I will stand by my father's grave site and know that I did my best to repair a once broken relationship. I will miss my father for he was a good father. I am also proud of him and will always think highly of him.

My father was a good man, a good provider and loved and appreciated by many people. He will be sadly missed by those who love him. He will always be loved and missed by me.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Nativity Scene

Growing up as a young lad, my parents always spoke to me about the birth of Jesus Christ found in Luke 2 of the Holy Bible.

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:1-7

Now most of my life, I have always pictured the nativity scene as these ceramic statues of the three wise men, the kings, the shepherds, the sheep, the angel, the star, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus all in the wooden manger. It wasn’t until recently that I really gave thought as to how it really might have been. Looking at this photo from the movie “The Nativity” (2006), it occurred to me that all these “spectators” in our average manger scenes were more than likely no where to be found and that the only ones there were Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.

If you have ever given birth before or have been present during the time of a birth, you can very easily imagine the intimacy and joy that must have been shared between Mary and Joseph as she gave birth to their child in that small manger. Whether it is God’s son or simply their first born, the emotion they must have shared was nothing short of extreme joy and love. The awe that must have been seen on Joseph’s face and the pride he must have felt would have been evident as Mary looked upon him. The pain that Mary went through as she gave birth to her first born was the same pain that every other expectant mother through the ages has experienced to give life to something so wonderful and blessed. It was a pain of labour… a labour of love… a love for her child, for her husband, for her God.

So, as you think of the Manger scene, remember that Mary and Joseph are not just characters in movies and in ceramic manger scenes, but, in fact, real people who risked all to give birth to this wonderful real life child named Jesus whose birth millions of Christians celebrate every December 25th .

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Greeting Cards and Relationships

Have you ever gone to the local Hallmark store to pick up a greeting card and realized that you are having a very difficult time finding one that wasn’t too intimate or loving? Maybe last year you didn’t have this problem but now things seemed to have changed. You continue to scour the card rack when all of a sudden it hits you that maybe the difficulty isn’t in the fact that the card you need doesn’t exist but in the fact that your feelings have changed for that person over the past twelve months.

A number of years ago, I realized this while looking for a card for my father. Over the years, my father and I never really bonded well and as I got older I had a more and more difficult time in selecting a card that said how great a father he was. There was also a time when I realized that my feelings had changed for a former girlfriend once I started having great difficulty in selecting a Valentines Day card for her.

The unfortunate thing about relationships is that we all too often fail to nurture them. Instead of that needed nurture, we often take them for granted and thereby slip into a state of complacency to the point that the relationship is all but dead save for the fact that they are still there merely because out of habit. At this point, the only thing that makes us aware of the problem is when we have to actually come right out and tell them that we love them. Buying a card for them is one of these times. Nothing is more awkward then standing there watching them open a card and read words that you don’t really mean.

Upon this realization, we go to the “general section” of greeting cards and buy a blank one or one that says as little as possible. Now all that does is further the obvious as you have basically told this person how you really feel by allowing them to read between the lines.

How unfortunate to be in this position in a relationship!

At this time of the Christmas Season, take the time to look at those around you and see if there is anyone in this category in your life. Before picking up a card for them, try to take the time to try to mend what has been broken between the two of you and then when things have been patched up, buy them a card from your heart. Only then, will the card be truly appreciated.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The B-52 Coffee

Now, I am not a real drinker at heart but when it comes to Christmas time, I find myself taking in a bit more alcohol than I would during any other time of the year. Now don’t get me wrong… I have never been plastered nor have I ever had too much to drink but I do enjoy the warm feeling of the alcohol slide down my gullet from time to time.

Now one of my favorite drinks when out at a restaurant for a meal with friends is the B-52 specialty coffee. The only problem with the drink is the cost of it… a cool $6. Now I know that if I were to make this drink at home, it would not cost that much and thus my trip to the liquor store this weekend!

I have already purchased the coffee, I have secured the glasses needed and the sugar for the rim is already on the kitchen shelf. I have also placed maraschino cherries and whipped cream (the real stuff!) on the grocery list. The final task is to head to the liquor store and pick up bottles of Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua and Grand Marnier.

Below is a copy of the recipe…

Make enough coffee for as many servings needed.
Wet the rim of the glass and place upside down in a plate of sugar. Be sure to coat the entire rim of the glass.
Place the following amounts into the glass. Be sure to keep the ingredients off the glass rim.
1/2 ounce Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 ounce Kahlua
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
4 ounces hot coffee
Top with whipped cream and one maraschino cherry

Now hopefully you will be blessed with a few Christmas visits from loved ones during this festive season and will be able to enjoy their fellowship and friendship throughout the next couple of weeks. During those times try a b-52 coffee and stay warm! Enjoy! Please just don't drink and drive.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Mum's Sterling Typewriter

Looking like a set of weathered yellow teeth, these keys smacked out hundreds of letters over the many years my mother used them to type out letters of employment, letters of love and letters of who knows what else. For over forty five years this typewriter served her well not only in Canada but also in the United Kingdom. We kids were not allowed to play with it and maybe that's why it is in such good condition today.

When I think back to each and every place we lived in Canada, I can remember exactly where she kept this Sterling typewriter... In the dining room behind the door leading to the kitchen... In the closet by the front door... Under my dad's desk. To me, it was like a piece of furniture. She relied on this instrument to get her through the rough times and the good times. She babied it because she knew that it was her lifeline to the outside world.

It wasn't unusual to hear its incessant tapping late into the night. It isn't difficult to remember how heavy it was for a little lad like me to carry it around. The blue and gray sterling... A part of my life... A part of my family!

Today, my mother gave me her typewriter. I know that my mum has been pruning the household treasures as if she wanted to pass down the family heritage before she dies but I didn't expect to see her give this piece of family nostalgia up so soon. I suppose she knows in her heart that she would no longer be using it anymore.

Now, I know that I will never use this typewriter but it is a part of the family and my heritage and so I am going to keep it. With pride, I am going to show it off to my children, grandchildren and anyone else who wants to listen to me as I tell them...

“This once belonged to my mother!”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Wonderland

7am Sunday morning I was out driving my son to work. By 9:30am we were blanketed under a deluge of snow. Now it's not as if it was unexpected for the weatherman had been warning us for a week now to plan to stay indoors on Sunday. Now who can stay in and chance missing some of God's handiwork? Looking out the window, all I could see through the curtain of falling snowflakes was this blanket of snow which covered the entire neighborhood. With three or for neighbors pushing snow blowers, a couple of cars spinning tires in a desperate attempt to flee the neighborhood and a few others with shovels in hand, it became very apparent that I had a long day of shoveling ahead of me.

Before I went out with my shovel, I headed out with my camera. I was hoping to snap a photo of this young boy, no older than 4 trying to mount and ride his bike in the blizzard. It was a valiant attempt which ended suddenly and therefore deprived me of the photo of the day. C'est la vie! By 10am, I was out trying out my new red shovel that I bought from the local grocery store. Who would have thought that the best ones were there and not at the local Home Depot!

Two and a half hours later I was shoveled out and ready to head to my favorite park for a photo shoot of nature. The roads were horrific, the plows scarce and fortunately the cars few. The major roadways had yet to be touched and the parking lots were even in a worse condition. Slipping and sliding through the city and past the local mall, the reason for the scarcity of automobile became apparent as the mall parking lot was as filled as if it were a beautiful day out. I suppose that even snow blizzards can't discourage the ardent shopper to stay away.

By the time I had almost reached my destination of the park of my photo shoot, I became worried about becoming stuck in the mountainous drifts of snow that would have squalled amongst the trees... But I was wrong! The park had been plowed... Yeh to the Parks and Recreation Commission! Imagine that! The park gets plowed before the streets! Who would have thought!

I couldn't stay too long because I had to pick up my son from work within the hours but never-the-less it was well worth the trek across town.

Here are a few of the photos I took though I don't think that they do the scenes justice. There is nothing that can top viewing it with the naked eye! Click on the photos if you want to see a larger version.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

He Said She Said

Now I know that most of you don't follow Canadian politics and I don't blame you but then I have no doubt that, though you may know little about Canada, you can most certainly relate to what I am saying through your experiences of following the politics of your country. In my opinion, whether it be President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown or Prime Minister Stephen Harper, they all find themselves in hot water due to their lack of proper judgment at one time or another.

Recently in Canadian news, we have been inundated by hours and hours of television coverage, thousands of newspaper words and countless news reports regarding whether or not former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, after his days as the 18th Prime Minister of Canada in 1993, accepted $300,000 in kickbacks from German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

After much "official interrogation, Mulroney finally admitted that he did indeed receive $300,000 but not as kickbacks.

Now, I am not going to bore you with the minute details because really... who cares! I know I don't. Besides, knowing how politicians are known for their misjudgments and lies, why would we believe them anyways? Especially when they are trying to cover their butts! I think that, especially during the Christmas season, we should be concentrating on more "seasonal issues" and less on who said what with the politicians we elected to lead our countries.

Anyways... enough from the peanut gallery and a merry festive season to you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Son Has a Girlfriend!

First my daughter... now my son! Girlfriends and boyfriends! What's next? Why can't they just hang out in groups, play sports or do schoolwork? Why do they have to date? What's the matter with them??

A few months ago, I reported about my son building himself a new computer. As a young boy, he had spent a fair amount of time playing on basketball teams, soccer teams and baseball teams but over the past eight years or so, he has spent practically 100% of his time at home on his computers and video games. By the end of the summer, he would return to school without a suntan as all he would do during the months of July and August was play games such as World of Warcraft, Halo 2 plus a multitude of other games. Now that he built a new computer, I was sure that this would signal the continuance of this lifestyle... alas! I was wrong!

Now that he has himself a girlfriend, I hardly see him at home. On the weekends, I sometimes never see him once as he works about 16 hours and spends the rest of his time hanging around with his little "chickypoo" (I hope he never reads this!) I just can't figure out why he wouldn't rather spend time with his old man!

When I was his age ... Hmmm... Okay, now I remember! Shoot! Why did I have to do that? All kidding aside, I am glad that he has found himself a girlfriend and chosen well. All to often teenagers choose the wrong friends and pay dearly for that but I am fortunate that he and his sister have always (well almost always!) wisely chosen who to spend time with. She is a well mannered young lady who has strong convictions in life and is very respectful and approachable. As a vegan, she also is very careful as to what she eats. This should be quite interesting since my son is the pickiest eater I have ever know as all he appears to like is Pizza!

We are happy for the both of them and so I guess you can say that his mother and I like her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Walking The Aisles of a Grocery Store

I had just arrived at the grocery store last night when I came across an old high school friend who I had not seen in probably close to a year. She and her twin sister and I used to run on the same high school cross country team for four years and during that time, I was one of the few who could tell them apart. It wasn’t until last night however, that I was informed that I had been calling them by the wrong names for the past number of years. It seems that my ability to tell them apart had disappeared over time. Yah I know… memory and time does some crazy things to you!

Anyways, back on track!

It was great running across her last night as we spent at least twenty minutes reminiscing. We then waved our goodbyes and headed onto our own trails around the grocery store. By the time I made it to the checkout line, I ran across her at least three times after that and each time we waved and said “hi.” It got pretty funny and it got to the point that I would look for her each time while turning into different aisles. By the time it was over, we probably spent an additional seven or eight minutes more in conversation and laughter.

Now, that was okay since we enjoyed each other’s company… but what about that person who you don’t really have anything in common with and would have been happy enough to simply smile and share no more than a two minute conversation with by asking how the kids, spouse and job was?

Have you ever been in that situation before? You enter the grocery store and run head on into a casual acquaintance who you know just enough to nod and ask how the family is and then you see them every aisle you turn into? You don’t really want to converse with them beyond the first time and yet you don’t want to be ignorant and simply ignore them.

It never fails… It seems like every time I go to the grocery store, I run across someone who fits that category of the “casual acquaintance.” I speak to them and ask the socially acceptable questions, move on my way and them run into them in the produce aisle. What do you say? “Hey, look, prunes are on sale!” Then again in the juice aisle with a bottle of prune juice in your hands... “Yep, I’ve been pretty irregular lately!” A few minutes later in the Cereal aisle… “Yah, 100% Bran is my favorite cereal!”

It gets to the point that you feel that you have to scope out every aisle before making your turn. Now I have gotten to be pretty good at mastering the skill of avoidance but what about when you are trying to avoid two people? You might as well give up and go home!

Now, there was a time when I ran across my sister but that was no big deal right? Well for her it was! By the time I had passed her in about every aisle, I had snuck enough extra food into her cart to feed another family. She later discovered it all in the busy checkout line. She has yet to forgive and forget!

Being the Christmas season however, I plan to mend my ways and become more of a conversationalist in the aisles because it is the season of merriment. I will become a new man… at least until the end of the month.

Who knows… maybe it will be me over the holidays that everyone else will be avoiding!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Tree Time

So... Today was the day to get the Christmas tree! We have always cut down our own tree as the store bought artificial ones were never realistic enough for us and the store bought live one's were too dry and died too soon. I was once too lazy pressed for time and bought an almost dead a live precut tree from the nearest tree lot. Well... the family was not amused as the evidence of my misdoings were all over the carpet the following morning! How was I to know that all the needles were to fall in under 24 hours?!? So, I quickly learned my lesson and since then, have headed out to the fields to but a real live uncut one!

This year was no exception.

This morning, we departed with saw in hand and headed to our favorite lot. When we got there, the car lot was almost full to the hilt and we knew right there and then that locating that perfect 2.4 metre (8 foot for the metrically challanged!) tree would be a challenge in itself.

But success prevailed!

As we looked over the vast field of trees, I discovered that there was a small lot hidden behind the "Do Not Cut These Trees" lot and headed towards it hoping no one would notice. Ducking under the rope, we stealthly made our way in search of the elusive scotch pine. In no time, we selected the tree of our dreams and proceeded to cut it down. A word to the wise ... Always have someone hold the tree as you crawl under it to cut it down! After crawling out from under the tree after it collapsed on top of me, we dragged its sorry trunk a quarter mile to the bagging station. Putting down $40 (Yikes!) we loaded it onto the car and headed home.

So ... We got our tree with little or no fanfare.

Later on today, I will bring the tree into the house and stick it in the corner. It is now the job of the family to trim it with the decorations. This part is not for me as every year I touch the needles without gloves I break out in this terrible rash... At least that is what I tell the family! Besides... they love doing it anyways!


Friday, December 07, 2007

Did You Ever Wonder... ?

Did you ever wonder about things?

Throughout our lives, we involve ourselves in various topics of conversation, we take a multitude of things for granted, we assume more than we can imagine and we presume to know about things which we are totally ignorant about and it never occurs to us that we are like this!

Now I am not being judgmental here as I am one of these people. Now if you "know everything" then maybe you can be of some help to me... maybe to all of us others for that matter.

The other day, I asked Google what a Wonder Question was and in about 0.04 seconds (Wow!) it led me to 9,420,000 instances on the Net where I could possibly answer my question.

So... What is a wonder question? Good question!

A Wonder Question is simply a question that starts with "I wonder.... ." Wow! How deep and philosophical!!

Now, when you think about it, there are many things in life that we take for granted and yet very few of those things do we really understand. Take the following question for example... "Why is ocean water salty?" Heck if I know! What about this one... "Why do bottles have different shapes?" Or.... "Why is the engine of an automobile usually up front?"

There are no doubt millions of things we take for granted that we understand and therefore just as many Wonder Questions and if we really didn't have a life, we could take the time to find the answers to a few thousand of them in a lifetime... not much more than that though, I imagine!

So.... How much do you know??

Below are a few questions that I have... Anybody know the answers to them?

1. Was the “apple” in the Garden of Eden really an apple?
2. Why do bottles have different shapes?
3. What makes popcorn pop?
4. What are dog days?
5. Why is ocean water salty?
6. Why does an aircraft carrier float and a penny sink?
7. Can a person get warts from handling a toad?
8. Why are dried grapes called raisins?
9. Why were some of the early bridges in America covered?
10. What is the Coriolis force?

So… only answer these questions if you have the time or have no life. If you are anything like me I imagine I won’t be hearing back from you anywhere in the near future!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mysterious Vials

Yesterday morning, we discovered two brown glass vials of liquid on my son's dresser in his bedroom. There was no identifying label on it or the name of any manufacturer. I held it up to the light hoping to determine the colour of the liquid but was unable to do so due to the colour of the glass. Now, we have never known our son to take drugs and the chance that it was an illegal substance was not high on the list but, as a parent, you never discount anything no matter how much you trust your children. There is always a first and we all as parents, hope that their first would always be their last. After careful consideration, my first thought about the vial was that it was a prescription type medicine that came in a lager box with a number of similar vials in it since there was no identification on the glass. I thought that maybe he had simply found these vials or was holding them for someone else. We would have immediately asked him about these vials but he was at work at the time.

Considering that they also might be toxic in nature, I decided to put them in a safe place for the time being. Ironically, I broke one of them in the process and spilled it all over my hands. Now I was plagued with the problem that my skin may have absorbed this substance. I washed it off as soon as I could. Now that that glass had been opened, we could smell the liquid. I thought it smelled like vanilla. His mother thought it smelled like licorice.

The rest of my day was spent in worry. Not because of the possibility of it being drugs as much as it being toxic. I was worried about what now inhabited my body. I wanted to take it to a pharmacist for identification but I also needed to protect my son as he, as far as I was concerned, was innocent until proven guilty. After all, he hadn't hid it from us and, in my estimation, hadn't done anything wrong.

So... Five hours later...

I picked up my son from work and immediately asked him as to what was in those brown vials.

Ginseng extract!

And so, I now owe him 4 dollars for breaking one of the vials he had bought from the health food store! I apologized for breaking it. He shook his head, smiled and called me clumsy!

All in a day's work as a parent!

Monday, November 26, 2007

It Didn't Take Long

Well, it wasn't too long before my father got sick at the nursing home and ended up in the hospital! He has always had respiratory problems and I suppose that the ol’ pnumococal virus (pneumonia) got the better of him. We thought that he would have to remain in the hospital for four weeks but the doctor’s have narrowed it down to two weeks which will mean that he will be out for Christmas.

My mother is having difficulty in living without him. After 54 years of marriage, living alone is very difficult for her to bear but she is managing. She feels somewhat guilty about all what is happening but she knows that it is for the best.

My sister is coming home from the east coast for the holidays and we are all looking forward to her arrival. I especially am looking forward to her arrival as she has offered to care for my mother and thereby giving me some much needed rest.

So… It has, once again, been a while since I have been around and it is great to catch up on all your blogs! Keep on writing! Keep on sharing!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Shopping

So... What's it now? One month until Christmas? If I didn't know that before this morning, I sure knew it when I went shopping today. Fortunately for my credit card, I was able to buy most of everything I need for Christmas... and then some! I bought extra stuff because I was undecided as to what to get my kids. When I finally do decide, I can simply return what I do not need. I do this because, if I wait until just before Christmas, I can never find what I want.

I remember when I was in University; I would end up buying most of my stuff hours if not minutes before closing time on Christmas Eve. Now that I am a little wiser (yah right... charge everything!) I finish my shopping a little earlier.

Now, don't get me wrong... I actually do pay off my credit charges by the end of the month so don't think that I am promoting charging what I cannot afford. I remember when I was much younger and less wise (not that I am really all that wise now!) I would charge and suffer the consequences later. It didn't take long before I wizened up to the dangers of over charging.

So, now that I have done the bulk of my shopping, I can relax a little and listen to the Christmas music in my home and not at Sears, WalMart or the local mall!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Not Enough Time!

It’s amazing how busy we can get! Over these past few months, project after project, responsibility after responsibility along with many other tasks have gone untouched simply because I have way too much on my plate… or should I say plates. Whether it be for myself or for others, they get put on the back burner for another day.

I suppose that one of my problems is that I take on too much or am burdened by things that take too long to do. Presently, I have become the main caregiver for my parents. This has taken up a lot of my time but being their son, it is my responsibility to carry this task out. Don’t get me wrong; I am on no way complaining about it as I take on this responsibility willingly and out of love for my parents… It’s just difficult. I also am in the process of trying to renovate my house. This summer we renovated the kitchen and painted the outside. We were supposed to redo the bathroom as well but that will have to wait for the spring.

Over the years, I have also spent a considerable amount of time carrying out genealogical research on my side of the family. Now this is somewhat difficult since I was adopted but I have made some headway. I now know for a fact that my birth-mother is of Irish descent. I have often wondered what my true nationality was and now I know… at least half of it. What is ironic however is that I have always had a keen interest in Celtic history. Maybe the interest was in the genes! Since I have no idea of the nationality of my birth-father, I have taken steps to solve this puzzle as well. I have decided to not go into what steps I am taking in this area however since, though I am under the impression that none of my family or friends read this blog, there could always be that possibility of a “spy” and this is too important for me to talk about it at this time. One day I shall report to you in more detail.

So… this is just a mere taste of what is going on in my life right now… I will be sure to update you on everything.

Now please don’t think that I think that I am the only one with a lot of responsibilities… I just think that I am one of the few that fail to properly organize and prioritize my life!

At lease I can say one thing positive about this… I am never bored!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pills and More Pills!

Last night, I woke up with one heck of a sore throat! Now it wasn't the ordinary type of sore throat where it is just sore to swallow; it was one where you had this sharp pain in a localized area as well. I could even press the area of my neck and it would hurt. It was bad enough to make me jump out of bed upon the realization that it was there. It was as if someone simply turned on the pain switch in my throat and said “there, is that bad enough for you!?!”

I thought that I was going to die… at that time of night when I want to be fast asleep, any type of pain will make me want to die! Now, thank goodness for pain pills and throat lozenges. With a couple of Extra Strength Advil (one too many, I might add) and a CÄ“pacol, I headed off back to bed.

Thank God for chemists who invent drugs… Well, at least the legitimate drugs!

Drugs… Speaking about drugs… I have just started taking a multi-vitamin and 3 Omega-3 capsules per day. Now, when you add this to about 5 other pills I swallow a day, it becomes quite a mouthful every morning. When I was young, all I took was a pseudaphedrine for my allergies. Now with all of my ailments, I sometimes feel like a walking pharmaceutical anomaly.

I suppose that, on the other hand, I shouldn’t be complaining about all the meds I take… at least I have a somewhat healthy life and that none of the drugs I take have any side effects… except when I choke to death when I take all of my meds in one gulp due to running late in the morning. So, in retrospect, I suppose I should be thankful to God for the health he has bestowed upon me.

It also occurs to me that I have been blessed with a job which supplies decent benefits that cover all of my prescribed medications. It is also fortunate for me to live in Canada where health care is not a luxury for few but instead a given for everybody.

So... regardless of my sore throat and lack of sleep last night, I truly am blessed!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Father

On Friday, we placed my father in a nursing home. It had been a long time coming and my mother, a frail woman, was quickly becoming unable to care for his needs at home. Approximately three years ago, after a car accident, my father was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a cruel disease which robs the mind of many of the brain’s functions. Since then, his short term memory has been reduced to no short term memory at all and many of the day to day functions that my Dad had been unable to carry out, my mother has had to pick up the slack.

So, since Wednesday, we had to prepare my father for the inevitable and on Friday the difficult task was done. Since then, my mother has been an emotional wreck and my father has been trying many creative techniques to have us return and bring him home. Needless to say, it has been an exhausting and trying weekend which, no doubt should spill into the entire next week and beyond.

So, if I seem distracted and out of sorts with my blogging, this is why. I have missed blogging over this past month and maybe getting back to it will be a form of therapy for me… Who knows!

For those who are unfamiliar with Alzheimer’s, check out the following web sites for more information.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reality Has Bitten

I created this blog on October 17th, 2006. I had often wanted to start blogging but never really quite got around to it. Despite not knowing what I was going to talk about, my goal was to post something every day so that by this October, I would have 365 posts to my name. Well, we all know about good intentions but we are also aware that reality bites from time to time. All told, I racked up a grand total of 144 posts which runs me about at 39.5% success rating… or is that actually a 60.5% failure? If this was a test of one of my students, they would be taking this course all over again!

So… How did my year go? I started out with a one-a-day post but by the time the spring arrived I was down to one-a-week. This past fall, I again started up with good intentions but reality got in the way and, as you can see, I have been absent since October 2nd. I have actually considered quitting but I just can’t seem to pull this blog off the Net!

… and so I shall continue… Not because I have to but because something inside me compels me to. Also, when I don’t write, I don’t visit and I must admit that, after a year of bloggers such as LGS, Abbagirl, Becky and Cheryl just to name a few, I start to miss their daily posts. By the way, I just noticed that Time After Time is gone … Anyone know why?

Anyways, A lot has happened to me these past couple of months and, as the summer days quickly become fall days, I will fill you all in on what has been happening.

Monday, October 01, 2007

One Degree of Separation

The other day, a friend of mine recounted an experience of his that occurred when a person asked him if he knew someone simply because they discovered that he was from the same city. I suppose this individual assumed that because he was from Toronto, Ontario, he should know every 4 million plus inhabitants.

Back in the eighties, I attended a university in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Now, being form Canada, I too experienced many times where people assumed that since I was Canadian, I should know someone who grew up thousands of miles away in another part of Canada. "Oh, did you go to school with "Wendy Smith?... She was from Canada also!" If I had a nickel for every time I was asked a similar question.... Well, you get the idea.

Well... Just when I thought I had heard everything...

Back in my third year of university, while traveling through the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, we were asked a similar question by a lady from Texas who happened to notice that our car was sporting Ontario, Canada license plates. Walking up to us, she asked us if we knew a Canadian friend of her's by the name of Arna Seiman. Now me being the cocky young man that I was, I was ready to ask her if she knew an American from California by the name of Joe Smith as I knew that it would make my point loud and clear. As I was just about to ask her whether she knew "Joe" or not, it suddenly occurred to me that I might indeed know this Arna girl who she had mentioned.

Well... believe it or not, I had actually met this Arna Seiman about ten years prior to that while my buddy and I were way up north at a cottage for a week. While relaxing at the lake we met up with two cute sisters and had quite a memorable week with them... Well, not that kind of memorable! Now after that week, we never saw them again but the uniqueness of her name never left my mind. After confirming further details with this Texan, it was determined that it was indeed the same Arna.

Now, what's the chance of that happening?? One person from Texas, in an American population of over 300 million meets a person in the middle of the Smokey Mountains and asks him if he knows the only Canadian she knows of out of a population of over 33 million and she hits the jackpot?

Needless to say I was floored! I bet you that the chances of me winning a multimillion dollar lottery would have better odds!

One degree of separation... Well, I suppose that anything is possible!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Spending Time With Your Children

"Children and parents spend a lifetime trying to see eye to eye and when they finally do, there is very little time left appreciate it."

The other evening, while watching television, I came across the above statement. Before I forgot what it was, I picked up a pencil and piece paper and wrote it down. I suppose that, as a parent, I know how it feels to lock horns with my children and unless we learn to compromise, we remain locked for way too long to the point that days, months or even years go by.

My daughter and I were in that position for most of her high school career and I regret it to this day. Fortunately, as she became mature and older and I became just plain older, we found a way to see eye to eye... well, for the most part.

This is a good thing since now we can concentrate on the positive things in life instead of the little things that can grow to an unbearable weight.

I want to be able to spend the rest of my life enjoying my children without constantly disagreeing with them. If there is anything that I have learned from my daughter it is that she has a heck of a lot to offer this world and I, being a part of this world and most certainly a part of her life, can benefit from her, not only as my daughter, but also as a person I can now see eye to eye with.

I suppose that the moral to this story is... "Don't waste time disagreeing with them when instead you could spend time loving them."

Something for all of us to consider!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Son's New Computer

Yesterday, my son built himself a computer...

For as long as I can remember, we have had two or three computers in the house. Except for the first non-Pentium, 486DX 4-100 computer which we bought in 1995, I had built all of our computers. Over the years, with pieces from here and pieces from there, we have had computers good enough for everyday use but not good enough for my son's "real gaming."

Well, with all the hours he worked at his part time job at the local Tim Horton's coffee place, he was able to save up for all the parts he needed to build his powerhouse system. I tried to talk him into simply buying a new computer but he insisted on building his own... sort of a family tradition, I suppose... not to mention the pressure he received from his gaming buddies. I believe that, in the long run, he made the right decision.

So...After three long months of saving all his pennies, we ordered all the parts he needed and yesterday was the day!

Late in the evening, we cleared off the kitchen table and spread out all the parts. After about a hundred "Dad be careful" warnings from my son and after my near anxiety attack of not wanting to blow up the thing, the computer was finally completed.

I must admit that I have never seen him so proud of his accomplishments!

I am proud of him. I am proud of his skills, determination and desire to accomplish new things as he moves from "youthhood" to manhood. I have no doubt that he will accomplish all kinds of goals on his new system... Hopefully that will also include accomplishing his schoolwork! Actually I have no doubt he will.

After all was done, he placed his hand on my shoulder and said "Thanks Dad, I really appreciate your help." To me, that made it all worthwhile!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Port Dover's Brave

James McDonald, Nelson Walker, Covel Rankin, James Patterson, John Wilson, John Mummery, Darryl Clement, John Walsh... Sounds like an honour roll. Now if you ask the residents of Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, they would most certainly agree as each of these men, risked and gave their lives for the livelihood of their town.

Over the years, hundreds of men and women of Port Dover and surrounding areas lost their lives as professional fisherman as they went out in the wee hours of the morning to catch Lake Erie perch. Fishing was their livlihood and they were good at it as their nets brought in a catch that that would rival catches from many other ports around. To this day, while walking down the pier, you would be hard pressed to not come across a number of folk related to these brave souls of years gone by.

At the entrance of the pier, you can find a memorial to these fishermen from years gone by who lost their lives at sea while on the job. Each and every one of the names of the fisherman that never returned to port have been engraved in stone around this memorial. While taking the time to read off the many names, you would quickly recognize many of the surnames and, upon further investigation, realize that many of today's boat crews are related to those who perished.

Now, though I may enjoy going fishing on a creek or small lake somewhere, you certainly wouldn't find me making fishing a career! The movie The Perfect Storm comes to mind when I think of topic of the dangers of professional fishing and that alone would convince me find a safer profession.

So, if you ever get the chance to walk the pier at Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, stop and take the time to read off a few of the names of the brave men and women who lost their lives while working the waters of Lake Erie. As you walk away, I have no doubt that you would hold a greater respect for those who head out to sea in order to provide for their families and their town. I know I did!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So.... Here I Was Minding My Own Business!

So… Here I was minding my own business when all of a sudden… Wham!!! Wrong place at the wrong time… My life’s story! And yet, though this was most certainly an accident, it was not a car accident… It was an accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So… As I previously mentioned, I was minding my own business when all of a sudden, while running down one of my favorite trails, I came across something I wished I hadn’t seen…. Now, usually when I run, I zone out. There are two types of runners… Associative and dissociative runners. The associative ones are ones who concentrate on there stride, breathing, surroundings etc. The dissociative ones, such as myself, zone out and think of anything else but what they are doing. In times like these, I can run an entire 10 miles without evening realizing or taking note of where I am, whether I am tired, thirsty or even dying!

So… As I previously mentioned, I was minding my own business when all of a sudden, while running down one of my favorite trails, I came across something I wish I hadn’t seen… Two of my friends! One of my pet peeves is that, no matter where I go, I always run across people who I know. What can’t there be just one time I can go somewhere without being seen? I go to the mall… I see a friend of my parents. I go to a basketball game… I see a former co-worker of mine. I go to the theatre in another city… I see someone from my neighborhood. I can’t win! Sometimes I just want to be invisible.

So… As I previously mentioned, I was minding my own business when all of a sudden, while running down one of my favorite trails, I came across something I wish I hadn’t seen… Two of my friends and they were kissing! Actually a little bit more friendlier than that! To say the least, they were quite embarrassed! Now, the way I look at it, if you are going to carry on like that, just make sure that you are in a place where you will not be seen. Now, I know that some might have no problem showing affection in front of others regardless of the consequences, but just make sure you are prepared for the unexpected such as me going out for a run!

So… As I previously mentioned, I was minding my own business when all of a sudden, while running down one of my favorite trails, I came across something I wish I hadn’t seen… Two of my friends and they were kissing! Actually a little bit more friendlier than that! Now, when they saw me, they froze at my sight with their eyes wide open and jaws dropped to their chest as they watched me, trying to wash the look of utter surprise from my face, slow down to a crawl. All I could say to them was “Hey! How’s it going?” Instead of continuing on my run, I just had to ask them as to the welfare of each of their spouses! I sometimes just can't leave well enough alone! I know... I should have just kept running!

I have not seen them since that day and I seriously doubt that I will be seeing them on that trail ever again! Needless to say, that I have now become even more of a dissociative runner!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

These Kids Are My Life

If you are a parent then you know what I am speaking about...

I was just sitting here when I wandered across a photograph of my children on the Internet while checking out their facebooks. As I sat here looking at them, I was in awe as to how fortunate I was to have them in my life. Now I know that, over the past years, I have gotten them pretty mad at me from time to time but I do know that, in between those "time to times," they sincerely love me.

They are my life. They make my life worth living. Take them away from me and it would feel like I would have nothing to live for. Yah, I know... I am being overly emotional right? Yah well... as a parent, I think we all have the right to be emotional from time to time. Don't you agree?

One thing I have often prayed for is that, no matter what happens to their mother or me, they will always be close. Over the years, I can be proud to say that, though they have had their differences, they have always been involved in each other's lives. I know my son would never admit it, he is proud of his sister and I know that she is very proud of him.

My daughter is in her second year of college and, in a couple of years, she could very well be far away from her brother but I do know, from what I have seen, distance will never be an issue between them.

So there! ... I feel blessed!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wendy's Baconator

So, what's with the "Baconator!?!?"

From what I can tell, fast food outlets throughout the world are beginning to see common sense through the promotion of healthier food to their menus. Kentucky Fried Chicken has introduced zero trans fats while McDonalds has concentated on making their fries and chicken products as healthy as possible. Wendy's has introduced a new line of sandwiches named "Frescata Sandwiches" while Burger King has introduced their "Lean & Green menu. Over the past decade, this has been brought about by pressure groups in an attempt to cut back on heart disease through promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Wendy's has been my favorite burger joint for quite some time now simply because I have believed that they have offerred the best choice for healthier foods. I have often ordered the Mandarin Chicken Salad (25.0g fat) since with all those greens, fruits and lean chicken in it, who could go wrong? This past year, they came out with the new Frscata Sandwiches boasting a moderate 34 grams of fat which is not too bad considering other sandwiches on the market. So, as a result, thay have had my vote in the healthy fast food market... until now.

Recently, Wendy's introduced a new sandwich called the "Baconator." Between the buns, Wendy's has inserted six (yes, six!) strips of bacon, two 1/4lb beef slabs, 2 slices of processed and a dallop of mayonaise totalling to a total of 51 grams of fat, 830 friggen calories, 170mg of cholesterol, 1920mg of sodium and weighing in at 6/10 of a frackin pound!

Now, what's with that?!?!? If this is not a heart attack waiting to happen, I don't know what is!

And so I must rethink my decision to call Wendy's the healthiest fast food restaurant... Which also brings up another point... Isn't fast food and healthy an oxymoron? Anyways, I shall continue to eat at Wendy's by sticking to their healthier menu choices. I shall stay away from sandwiches such as the Baconator and stick to the leaner choices offerred. If there ever was a pressure group needed to fight the high fat sandwiches, it is now!

By the way, just as I finished this post, I realized that there was an even unhealthier sandwich on Wendy's list... Weighing in at 410 grams, 980 calories, 59 grams of fat and 2070mg of sodium... the 3/4lb Triple with Cheese!

Anyways... gotta fly! The pizza guy is at the door with my large double cheese, bacon, ham and pepperoni Pizza!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How Much Did I Accomplish?

Today was the first day back since I left on holidays back in July. Today’s weather was perfect for a long bike ride or a quiet day of fishing but alas, my employer, the school board requested demanded my attendance. It was the first day in over five weeks that I wore a long pair of pants and a dress shirt since beach wear or biking wear was most certainly not the coolest thing to wear in front of the class!

So, after a large coffee, I made my way into class and prepared for the first day of school. Needing my attendance book, I unlocked the file cabinet and pulled open the drawer. The first thing I saw was a note I had written to myself on the last day of school. It read: “How much did you accomplish this summer? Are you satisfied?” “Wow!” I thought to myself as I stood there for a long moment pondering exactly what I really did accomplish this summer.

As I look back on this summer, I must admit that I didn’t exactly accomplish everything that I set out to do and yet, there were a number of tasks that I set out to finish that I did complete. I suppose that I could sit here and try to justify why I didn’t do everything but I am not going to because there is more to summer and more to holidays than working your butt off.

And so… How much did I accomplish? I accomplished about half of what I wanted to do. What did I do with the other half of the summer? I enjoyed it and I am satisfied that I chose to do just that!

And so I am back to the real world of work! Yuck!! Actually, it’s really not so bad! As I look to this fall, I have a number of tasks that I need to do along with the ones I did not do over the summer and yet I know that, though I will slug away at attempting to complete each and every thing, I will also find some time to relax and enjoy life. I hope you can do the same!

Good to be back!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Say Cheese!

Not too long ago I attended the graduation ceremony of the school where I teach. It brought back memories of when I was once a young high school graduate. It also reminded me of when my daughter graduated as well.

Now as I observed these excited high school students as they received their diploma, I couldn't help but watch them as they posed for their parents and loved ones to snap that soon to be memorable photograph. Well, actually, they didn't really just pose... they posed and posed and posed and posed and... well you get the idea. These poor students waitied forever for their family to snap the shot simply because their family could not snap the shot due to weak batteries in their cameras. Now I am not speaking about one family but practically every individual that wanted to take that memorable picture had to wait for the batteries to recharge... Now why the heck couldn't they come prepared with fully charged batteries... It's not as if they were caught off guard... they have had the entire lifetime of their children to get ready. Now I can understand if they didn't know until an hour before that their kid was graduating but this was not the case and even if it was, couldn't they have stopped off at the corner store to pick up a couple of Duracell AAA's?

Poor kids... smiling there frozen in time while waiting for that blasted flash to tempoarily blind them! I just gotta feel sorry for them.

So, folks.... you got a kid graduating in the next few years? Be prepared and get yourself some real batteries that actually work or else to are going to have a pretty ticked off kid wondering what your problem is not to mention the entire crowd wondering exactly what I was wondering all evening .... "Why aren't they prepared!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I have spent a portion of my summer days watching TV. Yes... believe it or not folks, I took time off blogging to watch TV! Well ... not exactly but I did watch more than I planned though I did, however, spend a lot of time renovating the ol' house (which I shall speak about at a later date) and mountain biking.

Three years ago, a TV series called Lost hit hit airways. I was eagerly looking forward to becoming a fan of the series but that became short-lived when I missed part two of the series premiere. Now three years later, I decided to find out what all the rave is by playing catch up on the first three seasons so that I could watch season four this fall.

Now, for those who know nothing about this particular series, Lost is a popular serial drama television series that follows the lives of plane crash survivors on a tropical island after a passenger jet flying between Australia and the United States crashes somewhere in the South Pacific. Each episode typically features a primary storyline on the island as well as a secondary storyline from another point in a character's life.

Well, by the end of the first episode, I was hooked and now, after 71 forty-two minute episodes (50 whopping hours worth!) of Lost, I can't wait until this season arrives. I know... get a life Dave! For those who enjoy topics concerning how our lives are more intertwined with those around us more than we realize, I would suggest this series as a possible form of TV entertainment... just be prepared to play catch up ... fifty hours worth!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Inner Light

Last Year, I mentioned the television series "Star Trek." in six of my posts. Now, I don't believe that I dedicated an entire post to any particular storyline since I know that many have no interest in that particular subject but today I would like to break with tradition. I trust that, if you are not a Star Trek fan, you will read this post anyways since there is a point to me posting this and not just a report of what I watched the other night on Television.

Last evening as I watched television, I came across an episode of Star Trek the Next generation which just so happened to be one of my favorite episodes of all the Star Trek series. The title of the episode was "Inner Light."

In this episode, Picard staggers and is rendered unconscious when the Enterprise encountered a small, unassuming probe of ancient design which seemingly poses no threat. When Picard awakens, he finds himself no longer on the Enterprise but in a small, cozy home with a strange woman. He is astounded to discover that the woman, Eline, is his wife and that he is known as Kamin, an iron weaver on the planet of Kataan. As far as Eline knows, he has always been Kamin.

Picard cannot accept that his life aboard the Enterprise has all been some kind of wild dream. But there is no escape from his situation. With the patient help of Eline and his good friend Batai, Picard comes to accept his life as Kamin. He is given the opportunity to experience things that he never would have on the Starship Enterprise... an opportunity to raise children, the experience of marriage to an adoring woman, the enjoyment of becoming a grandfather. His relationship with Eline bears fruit and he becomes the father to two children, a boy and a girl. Kamin's old existence as Picard is not forgotten but it fades into the background.

Towards the end of the episode, they reveal to Picard the purpose of him being brought to their planet. They told him that he was brought to their planet so he could learn about their culture and tell others about them as their planet ws dying. It seems that they had sent the probe out into space to make contact with someone, connect with their mind and provide a life experience in the form of a dream.

Once this was accomplished and the dream was over, Picard awoke on the Enterprise where he reall was all the time with a lifetime of experiences of the civilization on Kataan. His experience on Kataan which appeared to last a lifetime, had really only lasted twenty minutes.

What an experience! To be able to live an entire life and yet, at its conclusion, to be given a second chance to live yet another life. So often throughout our lives, we make choices that we later on regret. How often we wish that we could live some part of our life over again? Wishful thinking! Unfortunately, in real life, we never get that chance.

During Picard's life on Kataan, he learned to play a pennywhistle flute. After he awoke, he still was able to play this instrument after they found the flute inside the probe. The song that he played at the conclusion of this episode has become one of my favorite pieces of music. Below is the tune with a selection of a few of the scenes throughout the episode. Enjoy!

Since I will never be given the opportunity to experience in my life what Jean Luc Picard experienced on the planet Kataan, I will have to make sure that I live my life here on earth to the fullest and be thankful that protect the only life I have been given so that, if I am given the opportunity to reminisce before I die, I will reminisce with as few regrets as possible knowing that I lived my life to the fullest.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Johnny Cash... Certainly One of my Favorite

Here I am sitting at my computer in the catacombs of my basement tapping out the words to my next post while listening to the depressing words of Johnny Cash. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Johnny Cash… Actually I love the guy and have been listening to him ever since I was a child in my father's den amongst many of his albums but there is just something depressing about much of his his music. Currently, as I am sitting here, he is singing the words to his song “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Now there’s a song that would cheer you spirits!

Hear the lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry

You have to wonder why I would enjoy his music so much. What is it that I relate to? I never went to Fulsome Prison or San Quentin for that matter. I have never walked the line nor have I ever gambled nor done cocaine. I have never wanted to kill my father for calling me Sue nor have I been on death row waiting for a pardon. As a matter of fact, I have never ever thrown a shot of whiskey down my gullet and yet I feel as if I can relate to his music. Maybe it is the lonesome part I relate to and yet I have all the friends I need. Maybe it was just his down-to-earth music that touched the lives of the working class and hard luck cases.

… And yet I love his music on each of the above topics and listen to the words of each and every song each and every time I play them.

As I sit here, he is now singing Amazing Grace, a song I have heard “a million” times before and I still enjoy it.

Now that I have been sitting here in this cold and damp room, I am starting to feel warmer while listening to his burning ring of fire, a song that Preparation H recently wanted to incorporate into one of their commercials but was turned down by him family.

So, in conclusion, if you ever want to experience a unique form of music, try Johnny Cash’s and if you ever wonder about where some of my inspiration will be coming from this year, you can thank Johnny for that!

For those who are interested, here is one of my favorite songs by Johnny Cash along with a couple of "extras" at the end of it.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm Back... Well Almost!

On June 16th, I posted a summer farewell to my many friends here on Blogspot. I wasn't 100% sure that I would return but here I am... I'm just curious to know how many of you thought that I wouldn't return. Hmmmm.... I wouldn't blame you though since you probably have seen quite a number of fellow bloggers go by the wayside over the years.

As I perused over my favorite blogs, I was pleased to see that most of you have remained faithful which is great to see. I was also grateful to see that many of you have kept my blogsite on your list of favorites. For this, I am honored.

I see that a few of you have changed the look of your blogs as well. I have spent countless hours trying to change the look of my blog but have had some difficulty in doing so as I just can't seem to get it right... even when I use templates from outside of I have decided therefore to stick with what I already have and keep that darn lighthouse blog for another year... maybe.

So... It is great to be back. It will take me a while to get back into the swing of things so please be patient. Once the school year begins, I should be well on my way.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Have a Great Summer Y'all!

This is to let you all know that I have decided to take a break from posting until the fall. I look forward to getting back to all my blogging friends once the summer is over. Have a great summer y'all!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day Mum!

Mothers Day... What a great opportunity to celebrate the ladies who nurtured us throughout our formative years! My mother is a special lady to me. Now I emphasize "to me" since I have no doubt that all of the mothers here in "blogland" are special to their children as well and I would hate to be accused of insinuating that my mother is the only special mother around because she certainly is not. I want to congratulate each of you mothers here in “blogland” who have spent a major part of your lives raising children with the utmost love and dedication.

M now my mother’s name is Pamela. Her friends called her Pam, my father sometimes called her Pammy while my sister and I called her Mum. If I were to describe her, it would go like this. She is a meek lady with a heart of gold. A very religious lady, who believes that when she dies, she will go to heaven because she takes the Bible literally where it says that "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) She is the most sincere individual whom I have ever known and the least hypocritical. There were times when I thought that she may have been overly "religious" and yet it never bothered me since she was a lady who always walked the walk and talked the talk. Maybe the “overly religiousness” that I thought I saw was nothing but the realization of my lack of living the Christian life that I should have lived.

She was a dedicated mother who strove to teach me true Christian values. Though I never quite got that part of my life right, I have never wavered in the beliefs that she taught me throughout my childhood. My mother spent as much time teaching me through her actions as she did her words. Maybe one day I can get my actions on track and then maybe, just maybe, I could practice what I preach just like her.

My mother has had a rough life. She spent many an hour asking God for strength to get here through her trails and tribulations. She sacrificed much of her life looking out for us kids, making sure were clean, well dressed, well fed, educated and prepared for our future. I am sure that there were things in her personal life that she would have liked to have accomplished other than wiping my snotty nose and yet she shelved much of that out of love for my sister and me.

My mother is now into the later stages of life and, like most people in their twilight years, is frail and in need of care... Now that's where I come in. My mother now needs me and I am there... not because it is my duty but because it is now my turn to repay the time that she invested in my life for without her investment in me, I would not be the man that I now am.

So Mum, I hope I can one day measure up to the person that you are! Thanks for your love, thanks for your dedication and just plain "thanks" for each and every minute that you invested into my life! I love you Mum!

Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Okay… What’s With This?!?

Over the years, hiking and rollerblading have been staple ways of exercising one’s heart in an effort to keep the blood pressure down and the heart strong. Nothing is better than getting out there for some good clean fresh air and wholesome exercise… Don’t you agree?

I was in Toronto picking up my daughter from college this morning and, as I was driving past the boardwalk along the shores of Lake Ontario, I couldn’t help but notice a number of rollerbladers rolling up and down the boardwalk. Each one of them looked fit… Each one of them looked happy. Later on that day, as I cruised past some walking trails, I also noticed some hikers… young children and teenagers all the way up to senior citizens. Again, each of them, except for one man, again looked fit and happy.

Now what does that tell you? Well, what it tells me is that, in order to stay in shape; you must “work at it.” Now, this is not a post about keeping fit nor is it a post on staying happy… It’s a post on staying safe!

The rollerbladers were not on the streets rollerblading. They were safely on a boardwalk designed for such activity. The hikers were also on a hiking trail far from people who drive like my wife… and “no” she does not read my blog!

Shortly after arriving home from picking up my daughter, I picked up a flyer from our local Canadian Tire hardware store and perused through its pages. Page by page I made my way through it until I came across page ten. I looked at it for a while and then made my way to the proceeding pages. Something in the back of my head kept bugging me about page ten and so I returned to it… After taking another good look at the photograph and the product that they were selling, I couldn’t help but think that there was something definitely wrong with what I was looking at… An active hiker wearing rollerblades on a hiking trail. Now, if I am not mistaken, there is something definitely wrong with this form of exercise… it’s just downright unsafe!

Imagine flying down a trail of mixed surfaces with holes, debris, loose gravel, rocks cliffs, water and who knows what else when all of a sudden danger lurks … this lady in the photo would not survive! Oh, I know… she has a helmet! Well, at least she might remain conscious after her head bounces of the boulder… that way she would be very well aware of her body careening off the side of the embankment! I also suppose that she is also playing it safe with those knee, wrist and elbow protectors… they should really help as she rolls face first into a solid maple tree! You get my drift?

Upon closer inspection of these un-cool looking rollerblades, you would also notice that there appears to be no braking system on them! Now, call me a worry wart but I would think that, not having a braking system on this product would not be advantageous to one’s physical health!

The advertisement states that “these multi terrain skates with large wheels make dirt, gravel and grass easy to handle." I cannot ever imagine rollerblades on anything else than a hard debris-free surface ever being easy to handle or a safe or wholesome form of exercise… not unless you are desperate enough to find yourself in the local hospital physiotherapy centre after ripping out the tendons of your ankles as you failed to negotiate a curve in the trail.

Now, I don’t know about you but I think that I will pass up the opportunity to fork out $130 for these babies and the hundreds of dollars for the medical bills later.

What will they think of next?

Friday, April 27, 2007

I Have Not Totally Disappeared

Over these past seven months, I have spent much time in not only writing my posts but also reading and commenting on others as well. Due to things that are going on in my life at this time, I have had to scale back on exercising my creative juices. Though I really enjoy doing this, I have also had to scale back on commenting on each of the posts that many of you take time to submit. This does NOT mean that I have ceased to carry out my regular post reading at each of your blogs. I read your blogs because I find them interesting, enlightening and, in many cases, darn hilarious! All I ask is that you please don't think I have simply closed up shop and disappeared because I have not. I may be invisible for the time being but I am still around.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mad World

I first came across this song while watching an Xbox commercial for a particular game that Microsoft was endorsing. I am not sure as to what attracted me to this song other than its sad and lonely style. While listening to it, it was as if the words reached down into my heart and pulled out all of my insecurities, hurts and depressed feelings that I had ever felt throughout my life. I don’t consider myself to be a lonely person and yet I was caught off guard by the way I felt while listening to the song. Maybe I am not as secure as I thought. It was certainly not one of the happier songs that I enjoy but there was something so haunting in it that I just had to stop and take note.

Later on, while reading the lyrics, I couldn’t help but picture what message that the song writer was trying to paint in our mind. I had yet to see the video that went along with this video but I could imagine that in it, a boy would be standing alone on a crowded sidewalk while watching the throngs passed him without even knowing he was even there. Such a lonely feeling!

While listening to the second verse, I imagined this same young boy sitting alone in a class full of students and yet being ignored by those around him including his teacher. Again, such a lonely feeling!

Throughout our society today, there are millions of lonely people spread out amongst the billions of others around them and yet, the unbearable feeling of loneliness that they experience is a cruel and crushing reminder of how one can feel so alienated in a fast moving world we live in.

If we would just stop for a moment and look around us, we would quickly see these individuals in our homes, schools and work places. When an opportunity arises, take time to walk by and observe children in your neighbourhood schoolyard and you would immediately see those children sitting by themselves while those around them are busy playing with their friends. If we would simply take the time to filter out the schoolyard noises and take time to listen to the silence of the lonely we could at least get a glimpse of the loneliness that they are experiencing.

While at work, if we would just take the time to look at those lonely people around us instead of worrying about looking at our watches, smoking our cigarettes, drinking our coffee or flirting with our co-workers, we would get a glimpse of what it would be like if we were the ones on the other side of the fence. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

These feelings of isolation, loneliness and invisibility can be very depressing and with the masses walking by the lonely on the crowded sidewalks of our lives without even a glimpse towards the one standing alone can be a crushing experience to them as they watch the others rush by.

Sometimes we need to “stop and smell the coffee.” We need to become empathetic individuals by taking the time to look out for our fellow man and help them feel that they too are important as well.

Sometimes we just need to show that we care… How difficult can that be?

Just a thought.

Mad World
Gary Jules

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World
Mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World
Mad World
Enlarging your world
Mad World.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

History's Evil - Rasputin

The ‘Mad Monk’ who brought down a dynasty

On April 4th of this year, I submitted a post regarding a book I was reading titled “The Most Evil Men and Women in History” by Miranda Twiss. I promised that, as I make my way through this book, I would report to you what I had learned about the some of the individuals covered. I have not made much headway into this book but I have completed a few chapters on a number of individuals. I must admit that, though I thought I knew all about the one’s I have covered so far, I was soon to learn how wrong I was.

The first “evil individual” that I read about was Rasputin.

Rasputin was born around the year of 1869 in Serbia Russia. Not much is recorded about his early life other than some trivia regarding his family and childhood. He was born into a peasant family in Pokrovskoe.

As he reached adulthood, he made his way up from the lowest rung of society to become one of the most hated men in Russia. Prior to his death, he was instrumental in setting in motion the annihilation of the 300 year old Romanov dynasty and thereby changing the future of the Russian citizens in ways that have adversely affected them even to this day.

To many Russians, he was considered to be a holy man. He was uneducated as he never attended school. He was also virtually illiterate, a heavy drinker, a brawler and a thief. He was regarded a saint, a sinner and a devil by all those who knew him.

His influence upon many powerful people in Russia was cause for grave concern. Even Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria were taken in by his influence to the point that many decisions made by the Monarchy, were directly influenced by this so called “holy man” who advocated religious beliefs that promoted murder, corruption, extortion and debauchery. His influence upon them caused thousands of Russian soldiers to perish in wars against countries such as Germany. His advice caused the citizens of Russia to lose confidence in their Monarchy as well as their government.

Over the years when Rasputin was on a wave of control over much of the country's leaders, people tried to unsuccessfully “dethrone” his influence but failed resulting in thier death. No matter what, he was kept in the highest regards and thereby protected by the members of the Romanov Dynasty.

In December 1916, his bloated and castrated body was dragged from the freezing waters of the River Neva in St. Petersburg. Upon the notice of his death, millions of Russians celebrated the death of this ‘mad monk.’

In a letter written before his death, he predicted demise of the Tsar and his family. 74 days after his death, on July 18, 1918 the prediction came true as the Tsar’s entire family was assassinated in the basement of an isolated farmhouse. Since then, Rasputin’s name has been associated with disaster of an empire.

So, there you go… a mad monk who destroyed a nation. I cannot help but wonder how the history of Russia would have been different had Rasputin not had so much influence in that country. It is my opinion that nothing good can come from when a person is given so much power and influence upon those in leadership. There is something to be said of “for the people…by the people.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Before I Die.

Some of you may have preciously read this post before but for some reason I had pulled it. I am not sure why but none the less, I found it in my drafts. The topic of this post is very dear to me in that it is something I have imagined on many occasion. Maybe one day my dream for this to happen will come true!

In my dream, I am a very old man. I look over the crowd ... I am about to speak. This is the day I have been waiting for all of my life and it has finally come. If I were to die tomorrow, I would die happily as I would have fulfilled a dream. All ages out there in the audience … all wondering what I am about to say ... all waiting in silence. I can't see them all in the slightly darkened room since my eyesight isn't as clear as it once was many years ago. I have to stay seated because my hips and knees are all but shot and my strength isn't as it once was. I find it hard to breath, stand and talk all at the same time for very long.

Nervously, I clear my throat and proceed to speak into the microphone. The crowd is startled by the squelch from the microphone. I begin again.

“I have been waiting many years to impart on you what is on in my heart and in my soul…”

The people in the room listen to what I have to say. They are more than casually interested in what I am about to impart … They are personally interested for they are my family … three, four, five generations worth … all of them about to hear what may be my last words ever to the group … at least that is what I have dreamed about for many a year.

If this dream was to come true, I would take the opportunity to tell each one of them about how proud I am of them. I would tell them that I love each and every one of them with every piece of my being. I would encourage each of them to live their life to the fullest. I would encourage them to always remain a family. I would explain to them the importance of being there for each other for support and encouragement. I would tell them to never miss an opportunity to tell the family around them that they love them and will always be there for them.

I would speak clearly. I would speak slowly. I would speak with such a love in my heart. I would speak with tears in my eyes.

I don’t have much of a legacy to give to my family; I have made many mistakes and have a few regrets, but I do have one thing I could give them and that is the love I have for them and the pride I have of them. This pride and Love I have is not for what they have or have not done but for who they are … My family!

So, maybe, now that I think about it, I will have a legacy to share after all! It is called Love. Maybe my dreams will be fulfilled in that, when I die, my family will remember me for what I have been to them throughout my life … a family member who loved them and was very proud of them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Comments and Opinions Shared and Respected

The other day, I had the opportunity to read an “Easter related” post from a fellow blogger who I read from often. Her position was to question of the validity of Christ being the true Son of God. I couldn’t help but read the comments afterwards and was amazed to find that all of the posts tended to agree with the blog’s author and took turns to take their shots at Christianity, Easter along with any other topic they could think of regarding Christianity. Now the beauty of blogging is that everyone out there has the right to their opinion and therefore, in the spirit of blogging, I choose to respect theirs but that does not mean that I have to agree in what they say.

In turn, I chose to comment on not only the blog but also on the comments. Below is how I commented…

"It surprises me how so many take so much time in slamming Jesus Christ if all he was fake or a phoney. Which also makes me wonder... How does a "fake god" command so much attention of billions of people throughout the ages of time (thousands of years.) You would think that if all he is is fake then why even bother writing about Him and commenting about him. I also find it disappointing that there are no "believing bloggers" taking the time to fight up for those who slam their Saviour. I for one believe.
To each their own I suppose. That is what this world is about... Respecting each other's opinions and beliefs.

Have a Happy Easter! :-)"

Now the author of the blog was gracious to respond to my comment and this is what she said…

"Dave - Probably there are not many believing bloggers reading my blog. Or those that are, unlike you don't dare speak up. Good for you then for saying your piece. Life would be boring if everyone thought the same. And your opinion is respected here."

Now that is what blogging is all about … respecting others opinions and I truly appreciate her comment. Thank you Jazz.

This morning it occurred to me that, though I did comment regarding my belief in Christ, I was somewhat guilty of doing exactly what I was critical towards others were doing or, should I say, failing to do… Tell others what Eater means to me. Now, if you want to head to a blog that did, in my estimation a phenomenal job at this, then I suggest that you go to Lone Grey Squirrel’s blog! LGS, thanks so much for your photos, videos and words exclaiming the story of God’s sacrifice of delivering his Son for our sins. I think you deserve a “Christian Blogger’s Award” if there ever was one (is there?).

This morning, though a few days too late, I was going to submit a post on my belief of the Easter story but posting one would not do justice to what LGS submitted. I would feel like I was reinventing the wheel. So, I shall wait for another opportunity to proclaim my faith in Jesus Christ.

Anyways, for those who celebrate the true meaning of Easter… I sincerely hope that you had a wonderful Easter by celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Saviour!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cranes and Billboards

A number of years ago, a main highway consisting of three lanes each way made its way through our city. Before that, all we had were smaller highways. Ever since we were "blessed" with increased traffic, we were also “blessed” with increased construction. Over the past couple of months buildings have been cropping up in every part of our city. I was driving down one of the main roads the other day when I observed six tall cranes in the vicinity of one intersection. Now, keep in mind that I drive that way a number of times every day and this was the first time I noticed this many cranes. I do not consider myself to be blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other but I swear that I never saw any of these cranes being built. I drive by in the morning. I drive by twice in the afternoon and I drive by after work but I never had the opportunity to see them rise from the ground.

Come to think of it, of all the cranes I have seen in my lifetime, I have never seen a single one being put together. So... What really happens? Do they just like appear out of nowhere? Does someone just finger snap them into existence? Have any of you ever seen them built before? Or have they simply just appeared?

Something else seems to simply appear without my knowing… New billboards. The reason billboards are constructed is so that people such as us regular folk will notice them as we drive by. They are built in areas where we are bound to notice them and yet... How many of us have ever seen someone putting them up or stripping them off? I mean, I swear that a different one goes up every week on billboards throughout the city but I only seem to notice them when they are already up. I can almost guarantee that I have yet to see a billboard guy in the past year or two years or three or...

So what is it? Am I again blind? Am I simply unobservant to these phenomenons? Or do they just happen to grow and appear?

I have often sworn that I would sit in front of a billboard and wait for some guy to come along and change it but I assume that it would be a waste of time. Have you ever tried watching a pot of water boil? Have you ever tried to watch a clock change? Remember the saying? A watched pot never boils or a watched clock never changes? Well I think that there is some truth to those sayings.

Maybe at least once this summer I can be a witness to an historic event like the “changing of the sign” or the “growing of the cranes” and when I do, I shall report them to you. I suppose that if I am going to do all this, I should also witness the “boiling of the pot” and “changing of the clock.”

I think I need to get a life!