Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Favorite Commercials

I have often enjoyed watching the commercials during the Superbowl more than the Superbowl itself. Over the years some of the most popular as well as the most expensive to make commercials were aired during this time. These commercials, though costing millions to make as well as millions to air brought in revenue far surpassing the amount put out to produce them.

My favourite Superbowl commercial is not one of the famous Budweiser commercials, neither is it one of the Ford Motor Company nor Coke commercials, but instead the following commercial.

Ironically, though I thoroughly enjoy Superbowl commercials, a non Superbowl commercial is presently my favourite commercial and will remain my favourite for months to come.

In today’s society, many people out there go from day to day with heavy hearts unable to lift the weight off their shoulders. Many of them who have no one to share their fears or pains with, keep it inside themselves only for it to surface in the way of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes or many of the other stress related illnesses.

They say that sharing is one of the best forms of stress relief and that sometimes all it takes is for us to share our hearts and hurts with someone else to be able to reach closure.

The Kleenex company, in my estimation, has done a brilliant job in bringing this out in the following commercial and therefore have made it, in my estimation, one of the best commercials around.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle!

Thank God for clock radio alarms! Nothing is worse than waking up to "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" ... Anyways, you get the idea.

Now I suppose that another irritating sound to wake up to is loud grating music. Unfortunately, if you don't have a CD player-clock radio, you are at the mercy of your favorite radio station to provide you with soothing morning music. Now, if your favorite station is something like SCREAM 105.9 I think you are going to be right outta luck!

Recently, every morning at 7:02, my radio clicks on to the local oldies station. Now, when I was in high school, I wouldn't be caught alive listening to this "oldies" stuff. However, since my high school days, I have found myself "accidentally" listening to it. I would be driving down the road listening to my favorite song when out of the blue, the radio announcer would surprise me by announcing the station I had been listening to.

"You are now listening to the oldies show on BORE YOU TO DEATH 102.5" ... Sheesh! I would then find myself looking around to make sure that nobody who knows me is witnessing my transgression to "older-hood."

So... Now I guess I am an "oldie!" Just do me a favour and don't tell anybody!

So a few weeks ago, because of the quiet music that they play on their morning shows, I dialed my clock radio to the local radio station so that I am not blasted out of bed by screaming banshees from those punk rock bands. Ahhhhhhh! Now don't get me wrong... I do love classic rock music where the lead singers bounce around, yell and scream but not at 7:02 in the morning!

So... Go figure! Just as I decide to dial to that station, they decide to change up their routines and shows! This is what I was compelled to wake up to the other day!

Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a few of Axl Rose's songs and I actually do enjoy the above song but when I am still in slumber land? Uh! Uh! Besides, can you really wake up to the following words??

Welcome to the jungle
We got fun 'n' games
We got everything you want
Honey we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money honey
We got your disease


In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun n,n,n,n,,n,n,,n,n,n,,n,n,,n knees, knees
I wanna watch you bleed

... and so on


Now this morning... What woke me up was the sweetest music that anyone could hear!

"This is Bob Smith from WKRP in Cincinnati (Fake call letters as if you already didn't know!) ... This just in... All schools and school busses cancelled due to high winds and icy road conditions." Now, being a teacher, that was definitely music to my ears!

God, I love that music! Gimme more of it!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Our Experience With Asthma

Both my children were born with asthma, a chronic condition involving the respiratory system in which the airway occasionally constricts, becomes inflamed, and is lined with excessive amounts of mucus. My children's asthma episodes were often triggered by such things as exposure to an environmental stimulant such as cold air, seasonal allergies, dust and perfumes.

I remember prior to when my daughter was first diagnosed with asthma. Almost every night was spent with extreme bouts of coughing and throwing up. We would rush into her bedroom where her mother would take care of our daughter while I would clean up her bed sheets and remake the bed. We had a system going which we carried out to perfection considering the number of times we did it.

It literally blew the wind out of our sails when she was later diagnosed with asthma. It killed me to see her wearing the salbutamol mask, which administered the medication, on her face while I held her in my arms. I swear that I received as much medication from this mask as she did as the medication wafted into my nostril. We spent many a night and many a day cuddling on the couch while my little girl fell asleep in my arms to the sound of the ventilator as it pumped the medicine into her lungs.

A few years later, our son was diagnosed as well and, as before, we went through the same routine as we did with our daughter but only this time, it wasn’t as traumatic for us since we were veteran asthma caregivers by this time. By the time they were both around twelve, their asthma went into remission and they were, for the most part, much better. Every once in awhile it rears its ugly head and they have to take their puffers but this has not happened for quite a while… until this past week.

My daughter called us from college to tell us that her asthma has returned and that the machine which administers her medication was no longer working. As a result, I made the trek into Toronto to bring her another machine. Now that she has resumed her medication, she is well on her way to make yet another recovery. We dodged another bullet this time and all we can do is be thankful to God that he has taken care of her once more.

Every year, about 500 Canadians and 5,000 Americans die from this dreaded disease. Most of these deaths, however, could have been prevented with proper education and management. There is no cure for the millions of people out there but there are ways in which to control it. For more information on asthma, please refer to the following web sites:

The Asthma Society of Canada
American Lung Association
Asthma Society of Ireland
Asthma UK

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Banana, Bananna or Bannaa?

I have never been much of a speller and have therefore always been within arm’s length of a dictionary while writing essays in school, reports at work or even here while blogging. Though our blog pads all have spell checks, I will never dare compose directly into my blog without first creating it in Microsoft Word.

There are a few common words such as banana and parallel that insist on plaguing me while writing. Every time I write these plus other such words, I spell them wrong! You would think that, by the time I was in my forties, I would start getting them correct but oh no… I can’t do that now can I! I have to go back, right click on the word and choose the correct spelling… every time! Now thank goodness that Microsoft Word now has auto correct for people like me who cannot spell words they have been using for decades.

Now I know that there are individuals out there who are dyslexic so I do want to say that this problem which I have bestowed upon myself is in no way like their disability. I am also in no way poking fun at other people. People with Dyslexia have found amazing ways to deal with their disability and I take my hat off to them. But me… what’s my problem??

Another spelling problem I curse myself with is deciding whether to use the British way or American way to spell. We all know that the English language is an amalgamation of many languages but when you live so close to another country such as the U.S.A., it makes it real difficult to pick a correct spelling to use. Often, you will find me spelling words two different ways because I can never decide which one to use and besides, I always worry about some American thinking I am spelling things incorrectly or some Canadian thinking that I am a lousy speller or some British thinking I am a pathetic speller. Do I write a cheque or do I write a check? Am I an honourable person or am I an honorable person? Is red my favorite colour or is red my favorite color?

And so on…

A few yraes ago, I cmae acrsos a sudty wichh siad taht the hamun biarn dsen’ot need to wrroy aoubt irecrocnt sienlplg in oderr for it to urnndetasd the wrod as lnog as the frsit and lsat lrtetes of a wrod are in tiehr crcroet palces. Is tihs ture? You tlel me!

Wow! Does this mean that now I don’t have to worry about spelling anymore?? Wishful thinking!

So, in the future when you see a misspelled word in one of my posts, take pity on me and blame it on the fact that I am British born, Canadian raised and American influenced… That should do it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

He's the Man!

So ladies... You know who rules the roost in the homes around the world right? Of course you do! ... It's the man! What would you do without the man of the household doing everything for you? Besides, when things get rough, the rough get going and since the man is the "rugged guy," he is the one who usually takes care of everything. Well, I could prove my point in just a few paragraphs but instead I have a video that will prove my point. Just please don't yell and scream at me okay? All in good fun!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mattel Story Maker Rediscovered

"The Turkey danced with a slimy monkey in my spaghetti."

If you were to punch the words "Mattel Story Maker" into, you would get 29,800 hits. If you were peruse through the first ten pages however, you would not find what I was looking for and it is a safe bet that looking further into the search results would turn up nothing either . It is as if the toy simply disappeared out of every toy box on this planet. Usually, the toys that disappear are usually the ones which are considered as a poor investment for the company coffers but the one which I was looking for in Google was nothing but great.

Back in 1991, Mattel created the Story Maker electronic toy. This toy was well designed and simple enough for all ages to use and enjoy. It comprised of seven buttons and hundreds of hours of fun for my then one year old daughter. The actions were simple… press six buttons and if that was too difficult, simply press one. I could spend the next paragraph explaining the way to use it but my video should make that task simpler and much more interesting.

I recently rediscovered this toy in my basement while going through some old dusty stuff to donate to the weekly trash truck. I had forgotten that I put this toy in a safe place and there it had sat for over the past ten or so years. Growing up, my daughter and son must have spent countless hours laughing at all the different sentences that this toy produced. It not only produced belly laughter but it also taught them proper sentence structure.

Finding this Story Maker toy also reminded me of the good times I had watching my children playing in the living room while I sat there and relaxed. I bet that, over the years the buttons were pushed, I must have heard every one of the nine thousand plus sentences that this toy spoke out.

Memories of my children always get me somewhat nostalgic. I miss those days where my kids thought of me as "cool," "great" and the "smartest of all Daddies who loves them more than anything else in the world…" One thing that time has taught me is that things change when children get older. "Cool" has turned into "geeky," "great" has lovingly turned into "retarded" and "smartest" has evolved into “not too swift.” One thing that will never change however is that they will always know that I love them more than anything else in the world.

Great toys, great memories and great feelings…

Friday, January 18, 2008

UPDATE: He Found His Coat!

Yep... That's right! He found his coat. Despite insisting that he left his coat in my car, he finally relented and checked the Lost and Found in his high school and ... Voila!

So... he got his "silent" coat back and I got to keep my 200 bucks that I was keeping aside for a new one.

Now that is what I call a "win-win" situation.


The Disappearing Coat

So, my son is going on a ski trip at the end of this month and... we can't find his winter coat!

It amazes me how things can simply fall into oblivion. It makes me wonder if things can and do simply disappear into another realm. I mean, the coat was here in the house not 24 hours ago and now it is not. What's with that!?! I remember bringing it in from the car... at least I think I do. He hasn't gone anywhere during that time so where else could that darn coat have taken off to? We put out the garbage but unless we dumped the coat in a garbage bag, it should still be here in the house. He checked both high schools he was in over the past few days; I checked the house high and low. I checked both cars. I also checked with the local psychic to see if it dissolved into the afterlife but she just told me that she sees a new coat in the near future.

Before it was his coat, it used to be mine. I reluctantly gave it to him when, last winter, he had great difficulty finding himself a new one. I got a new Columbia coat out of the deal. It may have been an old coat but it was a warm coat... an exceptionally warm coat that he could have used up at Blue Mountain Ski Resort at the end of this month.

So like the psychic told me, we are now going to have to put down a lot of money for a new one. The last time I took him out for a new winter coat, he tried on a "whole whack of them" from a number of different stores. As a young child, the sound that most winter coats makes when you walk with them on bothered his ears. To him it was like most people listening to fingernail on a chalk board or, as with me, metal utensils scraping on metal plates. Arrrrrrgh! That is why I never ate at the Ponderosa Steakhouse as a kid but that's another story for another post. Because of the sound these coats make, we have always had an extremely difficult time finding him one. My old coat never made this sound and thus why he chose my old one for a new one.

So... This year, it is his mother's job to go coat shopping with him. Whah! ha! ha! ha! ha! Good luck!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Demise of Some of My Favourite Blogs

Well... It looks like I have lost two of my favourite blogs in one day! Now I know that I am not responsible for this since I have had nothing but positive things to say about both of them and so I am off the hook for this one. One of the bloggers is someone fairly new to me. I have only been following his blog but for a couple of weeks but I was in the process of placing him on my "Blogs I Enjoy" list when I received an email from him with the news of the demise of his blog titled The Oswegan.

The second blog to disappear was one that I had been reading on a daily basis for well over a year. Her blog contained her exquisite art and Haiku to compliment the art. I must admit that there were times when I would have to read her work more than once since I have always had a bit of difficulty wrapping my mind around Japanese poetry but there were also times when I would read her posts more than once simply because I enjoyed it so much. So, if you used to head to Janice's blog titled Pursuance of Truth, you will no longer find it there. Hopefully one day she will regret this decision and return to us.

Over the years, I have missed a number of other bloggers. Some have never returned whereas some missed it to the point that they, once again, graced the pages of Blogger. One other person who many of us know as Josie, almost took an early retirement but, due to some of her readers protesting, came back within a 24 hours period. Someone please buy those protesters a drink!

Now I know that all of us, from time to time, need to take a break while there are others who feel like it's their time to say "goodbye." There have been times when I have felt like throwing in the towel and so I know how it feels and therefore I most certainly do understand when some of my favourites move on and so I will always wish them well.

And so Scott.. All the best in your new endeavour and Janice take care and I certainly hope to hear from you from time to time. Now for the rest of you... Don't go anywhere for the time being okay? Two is enough for one day!

Take care!

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Favorite Photo Blogs

Do you ever wonder how some people consistently take phenomenal photographs where the color is superb, the focus is so crisp and the subject is very eye captivating? I know I have! There are some blogs out there that I go to just to see the photos. My first experience was with a fellow blogger Le Nightowl. Now Le Nightowl is no longer with as a blogger but I still become captivated by her photography at her own website. I am sure that Lone Grey Squirrel remembers her as well as many other bloggers do from back about a year ago and all would no doubt remember her as a great photographer from France.

Currently, one of my favorite photo bloggers is Becky. Though she has not been taking very many photographs recently for reasons she has explained in her blog, I have always been amazed at how she has consistently taken great photos. One of the newer blogs for me that comes to mind is Sandy's blog. The creativity she puts into her photos are stunning!

There are a number of other photo bloggers that I regularly visit as well and I am constantly amazed at how beautiful their posts are. I must admit that, though I would never use them or pass them off as mine, I often copy them to my hard drive for inspiration on my desktop.

So... Maybe one day I can consistently come up with outstanding photos myself but none-the-less, for the time being, I do try to take some fairly neat ones. Though not consistent, I do have a few which I am proud of.

I have recently transferred from Flickr to Photobucket (not because I wasn't satisfied with Flickr) and decided to experiment with uploading my photos to my blog. So... if you have a few moments, please check them out.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Finding Our Humanity

On my computer, I have a file folder where I keep some of my favorite photographs. Some are in there because they are simply outstanding in their beauty, others are in there because of there uniqueness while others are there because they portray the many facets of man. It is the third reason that fascinates me the most.

None of these photographs were taken by me and, as a matter of fact, I do not know of the identity of any of the photographers and so I apologise for not giving proper credit. All I can say it that I take no credit for any of them.

Throughout the next few months, I shall be posting a few of the ones I found so very profound and will be telling you why I find them thus.


The focus of today's society appears to very "idolistic" in nature. We spend millions of dollars watching and following the Tom Hanks, Tom Cruises, Angelina Jolies and Elizabeth Taylors of the silver screen. We put down untold sums of money at the many basketball, football, soccer, baseball and hockey venues in order to see the Michael Jordans, the Terry Bradshaws, the David Beckhams, the Hank Aarons and the Wayne Gretzkys of our society. We pull out tons of cash for the many concerts that dot our landscape. We follow stars like they are gods in a society that often shuns who many religiously believe is the one true God. How ironic!

... But what about the unfortunate, the failures of our society, the poor, the homeless and the disabled... Who focuses on them?

What captured my interest about this photograph was not necessarily the man on crutches but the messages he was attempting to convey.

HUNGRY - How often do we forget what it feels like to be hungry and not know where our next meal will come from? Throughout the world, hundreds of millions of people go without enough food. How often do we fill our faces or throw out plates of food without even giving poverty a second thought?

PLEASE HELP - How often to we see someone in crisis, someone in pain or someone in need of basic amenities and yet we walk away pretending to not notice?

GOD BLESS YOU - How often to we just plain forget about how often we are blessed to have almost everything we not only need but also blessed with whatever we want? How often do we take this for granted while forgetting that many don't even have what they need and can only dream about what they want?

DON'T FORGET... HUG YOUR KIDS TODAY - How often do we forget the simple blessings that run around our houses and between our legs? We spend so much time with our jobs, our fun, our problems and our expenses that we forget why we have kids in the first place.

Thousand of cars fly by and many more people walk by individuals such as the gentleman in this photograph without even focusing on his troubles let alone focusing on the words scribbled on the cardboard hanging out of his mouth. We make excuses such as "we have things to do" or "we just don't have time" to justify our apathy towards the less unfortunate. We forget that this man is as important as any other human being on this planet and therefore we have a responsibility to focus of these individuals as well. Maybe if we focussed on at least what it is he is saying we would be a step ahead of the game.

Now I know that this is not as simple as I may be stating but if we all start focusing on humanity as a whole and less on the "upper crust" of humanity, history may one day view us as the humanitarians we so religiously believe we are!

... Just something to think about.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Leon's Furniture... Hmmmm!

We have a large furniture store chain here in Canada by the name of Leon’s Furniture. We have had an account there for a number of years as we have bought many appliances from them such as a fridge, a stove, a dishwasher, a couple of washing machines, a clothes dryer plus a few other odds and ends. We have also purchased from them a few pieces of furniture. This past December, after the insistence of my wife, we decided to buy a new couch and love seat. After her bugging me time and time again, we headed out to Leon’s to make our purchase.

We spent over an hour checking out the couches. Leather, cloth, soft, hard. big, small, patterned, non-patterned, expensive, cheap… and so on. The courtious salesperson who helped us on occasion kept her distance much to my satisfaction, unlike some of the vultures who circled around other patrons waiting for them to make their big decision. I swear I must have sat on 5000 couches and love seats before we finally selected the one we liked. Well… maybe just fifty. We left satisfied with not only our decision but also the service.

… Until they delivered our purchase a few days later.

The moving men skilfully delivered the furniture to the living room and I agreed to unpack the stuff. Upon signing for the contents of the delivery, I ushered them to the door and bade them good bye. The problems began when I returned to the living room to unpack the furniture.

The lack of quality in the workmanship of the couch and love seat were much to be desired. The skirt around the couch was ripped off in a number of areas, there was a hole in the skirt fabric of the love seat and both of the bottoms of the two pieces were ripped. There were staples sticking out of the front of the couch where there shouldn’t be any staples at all. It looked like a person who had too much to drink constructed the furniture…Either that or a fork lift had a head on collision with the stuff.

Needless to say I was not impressed.

It doesn’t end there. They exchanged both pieces for us and promised that they would inspect the new stuff before delivering it. Upon its delivery, there were still quality issues to deal with. They are now in the process of exchanging the love seat a second time after we found hardened hot glue on its arm.

So… “Why don’t you just return the stuff for good and get your money back?” you ask. Well, we love the looks, we love the pattern, we love the comfort level and we want the furniture and as far as I am concerned, we are going to get what we want and if that takes ten returns at Leon’s cost, so be it!

So, I am not suggesting that Canadians stay away from Leon’s Furniture, I am simply suggesting that you properly inspect your purchase before signing that you are satisfied.

I hope that everyone else who shops there has better luck than us!

Monday, January 07, 2008

My Bench of Solitude

There is a place of solitude where I go to read. A place where there is no noise… no cars, no people, no anything … well, almost no anything. It is a bench I call the Bench of Solitude. Now there are times where even there, I cannot retreat to due to an invasion of some distraction and so then I hide in the confinements of my car to read and even then, I will park my car near my favourite bench. Unfortunately, the forces of nature also make it very difficult for me to sit at my bench. Presently it is under an unwelcome pile of snow. Thank goodness for my car heater!

I was never tested but I swear I have an attention deficit disorder which I think invaded my mind at an older age. I remember as a high school student, I would sit in the library over the many lunch hours and read science fiction greats such as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and C.S. Lewis. Once I got to university, my love for reading waned as I had to give up my fiction for the non-fiction assigned to me by the professors who had nothing better to do but bore us to tears with written words I could care less about.

By the time I graduated from university, I gained a dislike for reading and for the next twenty years or so I never read a single book. It was as if I lost the will to read or maybe just plain forgot how to enjoy it. By the time I started reading again, I found that I had to find a place of absolute solace before I could crack open a book.

Lately, I have been able to take a little bit of background noise but I still enjoy complete silence in order to read.

Though I still enjoy science fiction, my interests have changed more to novels dealing with archaeology and anthropology. I think if I was to do “it” all over again, I would find myself on digs in such remote places like Africa and Egypt. Maybe I would find myself on dangerous digs in places like the Arctic… who knows. For those of like mind, you might want to consider reading novels by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child or James Rollins.

And so, as I feel the needs to read, I head off in my car and make my way to park near my favourite bench… my place of solitude where no one can disturb me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Back Down to Negative Digits!

The weather is now back down to the negative double digits again. Now please keep in mind that this is celsius we are talking about here. Maybe I should convert to Fahrenheit just so I would be in the positive double digits! I suppose however that -11 celsius or +10 Fahrenheit doesn't make all that of a difference since either way it is freezing cold outside.

Now what I really need is a hot tub. I looked into getting one last winter but the price was prohibitive. The way I figure it is that maybe I should simply spend a few bucks and get a larger bath tub instead of the thousands a hot tub would cost me. The only problem is that it would be difficult in convincing my friends to come over for a bath whereas a hot tub invitation would be much more desirable.

"Hey folks... you wanna hang out in my bath tub?!?" versus "Hey folks... you wanna hang out in my hot tub?"

I spent a couple of hours outside shovelling the snow so that my low bellied dashound could have some space in the backyard to run and to dump in. I was sick and tired of her doing her duty on my deck just outside the patio door. I also spent a ton of time scraping the doo-doo off the deck. Now I could ask my kids to do it but hell would have to freeze over first. Unfortunately though it was almost cold enough, it didn't hit that mark.

So... When do we get out of this big freeze? Well this is pretty par for the course as far as the weather goes and so I suppose that we will have to grin and bear it. The last time that the weather was pretty fair was when we had my father's interment at the cemetery the other day. God surely blesses!

It is 8:33pm EST (-5:00) and I have had an extremely busy day. I would have posted here this morning but my computer is having a meltdown and with me right behind it. Fortunately my son is out with his girlfriend and so I have commandeered his system for the time being. I look forward to being able to read your posts by tomorrow morning when I will have spent all night installing windows, their drivers plus all my required software.

Until then, have a great day!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Small Steps for 2008

Well... The New Year is upon us and I have been sitting here wondering what next will happen to hit the headlines of our newspapers. Another war? Maybe the next plague will sweep the nations! A new terrorist attack maybe.

Every January 1st, I try to come up with my predictions and every December 31st of that year I am floored as to how wrong I was. It really doesn't matter what I think will go down over the next 365 days; it will always be something I would never have thought would have happened. Maybe I should give being a prophet and yet when the New Year begins, I start all over again. I suppose it is safe to say that I will never learn.

Maybe I should become a newsmaker. Maybe I should do something that could change our society. Unfortunately, it is often the negative influences in our society that makes the most news and affects the greater population and I refuse to become a negative influence to anybody... At least not intentionally.

So what can we do to make this world a better place? I suppose the best way to make news and change the world is by starting in our own home. Raise our children to be law abiding, considerate and committed to the betterment of humanity. Almost like a long term investment plan.

Now I know that this all seems "hairy fairy" but yet when you think about it, it does make a bit of sense.

I was going to create a list of New Years Resolutions this year to improve things around me but I figured why bother when I have broken almost every resolution I have ever made. In trying to help others, maybe I should help the few instead of the many. Maybe I should just take small steps by showing love, consideration and generosity to those in my home, my workplace and my community... got to start somewhere right?

Hopefully by December 31st, 2008, I will be able to report to you that I have reached my goal and that somewhere... just somewhere... some one will benefit from my actions.

Have yourself a Phenomenal 2008!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Final Words With My Father

I had never lost a loved one before. Throughout my life, I had often wondered what it would feel like when one loses someone close to you. Would I cry? Would I grieve? Over these last four days, all my questions were answered.

It's been a tough week with my father passing away the day after Boxing Day. Twelve hours ago we said our last farewells and buried him. There was nothing easy about this. It was so strange seeing my father's body in his coffin and yet knowing that he was no longer there.

It has amazed me how many people loved my father. It gave me a whole new appreciation for him. My mother held out pretty well. She had been praying for God to take him home and thereby ending all his suffering. He answered her prayers. The service was simple and beautiful. I had the opportunity to carry out his eulogy. After the 83 years my father spent on this earth, it became my responsibility to tell the people in his circle of loved ones about who this man was. It was an honorable job that I was to carry out and I believe I met the challenge. I really believe that he would have been proud of me.

It was a beautiful sunny day as we proceeded with the interment. It was as if the Lord had parted the clouds and was smiling upon my father. We went away sad and yet joyous knowing that it was a celebration of my father's life.

It is now 4am New Years Day as I sit down and carry out this post. Despite ending the year off experiencing the sadness of the loss of our father, I look forward to the new year with the joy of knowing that he is no longer in any pain or suffering.

I returned to his grave site alone in the cover of darkness to retrieve a couple of the carnations and a red ribbon bearing the word "Dad" which my sister and I placed at his grave site. I stood there and talked with him alone one last time. I took the opportunity to say things to him that would have been too private and too difficult to say to him while he was alive... I really believe he heard me. I really believe he would have understood. I really believe he was smiling at me as I made my way home.