Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Maya Angelou

Some days everyone just needs a little inspiration to make the day go just a little better. Today I found inspiration in these things that Maya Angelou had to say and I added a little of my own inspiration at the bottom. 

Hope  this brightens your day - it did mine!

 'I've learned that no matter what  happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on,  and it will be better tomorrow.' 

  'I've  learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the  way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day,  lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree  lights.' 

  'I've learned that regardless of  your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them  when they're gone from your  life.' 

  'I've  learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing  as making a life.' 

  'I've learned that  life sometimes gives you a second  chance.' 

  'I've learned that you shouldn't  go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands;  you need to be able to throw some things  back...' 

'I've learned that whenever I  decide something with an open heart, I usually make  the right decision.' 

  'I've learned that  even when I have pains, I don't have to be  one.' 

'I've learned that every day you  should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm  hug, or just a friendly pat on the  back....' 

 'I've learned that I still have  a lot to learn..' 

 'I've learned that  people will forget what you said, people will forget  what you did, but people will never forget how you  made them feel.' 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Great Human Being

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, the official opposition passed away early Monday morning from cancer.

Few times in my life have I felt great sadness at the loss of a public figure.  JFK, Martin Luther King are among those I have mourned.  Now Jack Layton joins that list. All these people were robbed of their lives before their time. Two of them taken by human hands and one of them robbed of life by a terrible disease that does not discriminate between rich or poor, good or bad.

I met Jack on several occasions. The most memorable for me was the year I was a photographer for the NDP at the Vancouver Pride Parade.  When Jack arrived in the area everyone got excited. Jack would walk through the line up of waiting parade participants chatting with everyone and having his picture taken over and over again with many of them. He treated everyone equally. No matter if you were the prime minister or an ordinary 'Joe' . He took the time to listen and get to know you.He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. His optimism was infectious. As Jack's car drove the parade route people called his name, clapped and ran up to the car to hug him. He had a charisma that the crowd sensed. Every one  felt that Jack was one of them. And indeed he was.

The news papers tell us the Prime Minister has agreed to have a state funeral for Jack. This is rarely done except for sitting or past  Prime Ministers and royalty.  It is a sign of greatness, but Jack does not need a state funeral to tell Canadians that fact. Anyone who ever met Jack or was in his presence for any length of time knew they were in the presence of a great human being. A great Canadian and a good man. A man who never tired of fighting for social justice and a better life for all Canadians.

Jack penned a letter that included words of wisdom to  everyone just days before his death.  He urged Canadians for remember that Canada is a great country, but also said we can be a better one.  However I was especially moved by his words to fellow cancer survivors such as myself.   He urged us to not be discouraged because treatment had not worked for him. Instead he urged usto remain "optimistic, determined, and focused on the future".  He also advised us to "cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey".

Finally he had this to say:

"My friend, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.  And we'll change the world."

Thank you Jack for all that you have given to this country.

May your spirit be eternally at peace.
The entire letter can be read here Jack Layton letter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sharing this Planet with the Wild Life

We live in one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada. We are famous for our wilderness and wild life. We have set aside thousands of acres of land to preserve this wilderness and the animals that live in them.
This weekend a man, his wife and dog took a walk at a residential area that borders  Buntzen Lake . A wonderful area that I have been hiking for many years with Miss Lucy. The hiker encountered a mother bear and her three cubs. According to news paper accounts the man, in his panic to get away,  ran inadvertently in the direction of the cubs which were up a tree. The bear doing what mother nature intended her to do charged after the man to protect her cubs. She smacked him in warning, the man fell striking his head on a rock. When the man thought it was safe he grabbed his dog to leave, but his dog went after the bear again. A truck came along and the driver seeing what was happening honked his horn scaring the bear off.
The man was taken to hospital and treated for superficial wounds. In other words the bear was only warning him and not intent to kill him. The RCMP were called to the scene. They decided that the mother bear should be shot leaving three orphaned cubs.  The cubs have been taken to a wildlife center to be raised and released sometime next spring.
Many people are angry that this bear was shot and for just reasons. While the conservation officers justify the killing by  saying  that the bear was known to them. That the bear had been getting into garbage and the bear had been relocated once before, but had returned.
To my knowledge bears have been frequent visitors to Buntzen Lake trails forever. I know personally that every year I have hiked there I have seen signs warning of the bears in the area and I have seen bear scat on the trails.  In my opinion this bear was no different than any of the others. The fact that it got into garbage is the fault of people in the area not using bear secure garbage containers not the fault of the bears that eat the garbage. Maybe we should shoot the residents in the area? It would seem more justified to me.
Bears have taken a beating this year. There have been over thirty bears shot in the province and I don't think the flimsy reasons we have been given justify it. I think maybe we should examine the fact that the government has cut back so far on funding that there are few wild life conservation officers left in the province to help educate  people about living peaceably with the other residents of this planet. 
In my opinion the bears are not the problem. People are the problem.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Lazy Summer Days

Finally we have some sunshine and warm summer days here in the lower mainland. I have been taking advantage of them by spending a lot of time out doors playing with Miss Lucy and snapping pictures of other creatures out enjoying the sunshine as well.
I captured this guy, on a late morning walk at Deer Lake  just dozing in the sunshine.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Honour of Pride Week - Why Can't You Own A Canadian?

Show your colors Vancouver! 

This is Pride Week in Vancouver and in my opinion this is one of the best celebrations that we have here.  Not only is it a lot of fun, but it brings together such a diverse group of people all co-operating and having a lot of fun without a lot of trouble.
Every year my partner and I participate in the parade. I take lots of pictures and usually post them on here and my flickr page so everyone can share  a bit of the fun. Unfortunately this year we are unable to go to the parade. We have a wedding for a close friend to attend.  However, this piece was sent to me the other day.I have no idea where the original post came from but "thank you " to whoever posted this.  It gave me a chuckle. In honor of Pride Week and because listening to Dr. Laura makes me retch I have reprinted this for your amusement.

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant
Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus
18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man,
and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I
have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend
the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that
Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of
that debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other
elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine
claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you
clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair
price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her
period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how
do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated
to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there
'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes
me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two
different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments
made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also
tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go
to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?
Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family
affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy
considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

PS: It would be a @#$% shame if we couldn't own a Canadian

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hayward Lake

We have given up on Kilby this year. The bad weather, high tide and mosquitoes  have forced us to check out some of the other lakes and possible swimming holes for our dear Miss Lucy.  We decided to check out Stave Lake  and stumbled upon Hayward Lake instead. It was a gem of  a find.
There are lots of trails for hiking, nicely kept picnicking area and sandy beach for swimming, but best of all was the dog off leash swimming area. Miss Lucy thought she was in heaven. The water was clean and clear and there were few other dogs around to crowd her style.

For me it was time to take out the new lens that I got for my birthday and try it out. While snapping pictures at the dog park I heard that very familiar cry of my favorite bird, the eagle,  and managed to get some really nice shots before he took off for the the other side of the lake.

It was  a really nice day and I got very lucky to get these shots of this magnificent bird. I am always awed by the beautiful kings of the sky!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Walk Among the Tree Tops

My daughter Alana (she has forbidden me to publish her picture)  is on holidays right now and as it was my birthday on Friday she decided that we should do some vacationy type things.  I agreed to the plan and the first place we went was to Capilano Suspension Bridge in West Vancouver.

This was a place that we had been to when she was a child, but has really evolved. When we were last there all there was were trails through the woods and the suspension bridge. Now there is a cliff walk, and tree top walks and seven suspension bridges. It was a lot of fun and a very enjoyable day.

Later we drove to the Cleveland Dam and sat for awhile at this very beautiful spot as well.

We finished the day with dinner at the Boat House.

What a treat!! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Unusual Summer

It is hard to tell if it is summer here on the west coast or early spring. We have had very little sunshine and lots of cold rain. 

This week we drove to Kilby where we always take Lucy to swim in the summer.  Although it looks like a lake Kilby is actually where the Fraser River and the Harrision River meet.   Usually at this time of year we take our beach chairs and sit out there for the whole day  letting her play all she wants, but this year is a very different matter. 
This is a picture of what Kilby usually looks like at this time of year.
Here is what we encountered this week.
The wind was blowing and the water was much higher than I had seen it. I am wearing two hoodies and I was still cold.

While I do not want it to be really hot I would like it to be at least short sleeve weather!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Happy Belated (not my fault) Canada Day!

Yes - Happy Canada Day one day late. I had this wonderful creative post with all kinds of links and fun things for the day and you would have loved it!! (Really, honestly I know you don't believe me but would I lie about a thing like that?)But alas - Like many people in the lower mainland our Canada Day gift from Telus was no internet!

We did not let it stop us from celebrating and of course we celebrated it with our beloved Canadians Baseball team. I went prepared to give my full attention to every minute of the game so that I could be properly let down when they lost as they seem to do every year on Canada Day. 

I ask myself why they cannot win a home game on Canada Day - to me it is the patriotic thing to do. We sang our national anthem loudly. We cheered like they were the world's greatest heroes. We did the chicken dance and sang Take Me Out To the Ball Game with gusto... but still they lost miserably.
Maybe they can use these pictures to practice up for next year.
Keep your eye on the it comes - get ready to swing!

 I said SWING!!!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Life.... One Day at A Time!

Spring has been a busy one for me despite not working at my usual occupation. Instead I have been doing some photography for a friend’s company and sorting through my pictures in an effort to remove them from my computer before my hard drive explodes.  Staying inside to do all of this has been easy as the weather here in the lower mainland has been the pits! I can’t remember a spring on the coast that was as lousy as this one. Rainy and cold with very little let up. It is officially summer, but you would never know it as not much has changed and I still haven`t worn my new sandals.

A lot of the spring was used up with cancer treatments and ways of coping. Never in my life would I have understood what cancer patients go through had I not had the misfortune to be diagnosed with this illness myself. It is an emotional roller-coaster that seems at times to take over your life. There are so many appointments – at times I had seven medical/treatment appointments in one week! God bless my wonderful supportive patient partner who never misses an appointment. I am finished with radiation and grateful that my cancer does not require chemotherapy. However I will need medication for the next 5 years. The medication has been terribly difficult to deal with because of the side effects. Despite being on only half the recommended dose the side effects were so bad that I had to go off them for four weeks. I have resumed the medication poison with fewer side effects although most days I feel like crap.   I know I should be grateful, but I can ‘t help but  wonder what happens to the billions of dollars raised for breast cancer research when this is the best they have to treat it.

The beginning of April we drove to Nelson to deal with tenants and get the contractors working on repairs that need doing.  We were lucky while we were there as the weather was quite good and allowed us to travel around to various areas that I had never seen before. One  place was Nakusp that I had always heard was lovely. As you can see by this  picture of Arrow Lake right in the middle of town it did not disappoint me. 

At the end of May I flew to Syracuse NY for one night to pick up a beautiful sable American Cocker puppy for a friend of mine who was unable to fly. It was quite the trip. I managed to hit Syracuse while the last of the big storms were going through the US. I flew in from Toronto on some puddle jumper plane that only held thirteen passengers and the pilot was moving people around based on weight!! I got seat number two and could literally watch the pilot fly while lightning was flashing all around us. What happened to doors on all the cockpits? The trip home was relatively quiet and peaceful and my hats off to Jet BlueAirlines without their  policy to allow pets in cabin my friend would not be able to have this puppy. Neither she nor I think it is humane to put a 5 lb puppy in cargo. 

Upon my return our thoughtless neighbors left a tap running with the sink plug in creating a flood in our storage room causing us no end of work and damage. 
In the midst of this Miss Lucy developed an infected anal gland and it ruptured requiring her to have surgery. I am not sure who was more traumatized – my partner or Miss Lucy.  Doesn't she look happy in this picture?

This is not the quiet life I had expected this spring, but hey summer is here and I am looking forward to some lazy days at the beach!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Free Tree

Some assembly required!

Our landlord decided that a very large  tree (well over 15 feet) in front of our building was unsafe and needed removal. He asked us all to move our cars last Thursday morning because he was having a crew come to take it down.
What he did not tell us was that he did not get the crew to take it away! 
Now here in BC when you get someone to take down a tree of this size there is usually a provision for the company to also REMOVE the tree. However, like everything else around this building  somethings just don't seem to get done.
We were however hopeful that they just had to quit work for the day and would be back Friday....nope! Still we hadn't given up hope that maybe on the weekend our landlord himself might start loading up the tree and carting it away - nope!

Late Saturday afternoon we quit being optimistic when we saw a cardboard sign atop the mess that read  "Free Wood"! 

You must be kidding!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beautiful.....Inside and Out....

at 90!
This lovely lady and I have known each other for most of my life. At 15 while living in a car and working at a restaurant she took pity on me and gave me a place to stay till I had the money to pay the rent!
She has a heart as big as the world and would give her last nickel to someone else if they needed it more than her. 

Her spirit and enthusiasm for life inspires me and gives me hope. Here she is singing old show tunes at the top of her lungs with my partner. She was so kind.... never said a word about the fact that he can't carry a tune in wet paper bag!!!!

The four hour drive on Fred's day off was worth every single minute to be able to have  this memory of a lady who believed in me at 15 and has inspired me all my life!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Love & Hate

 "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Here's to the Irish!

 An Irish Blessing

"Here's to the Landlords"

"Absentee Landlords sucked Irish Blood
'til starvation was stalking for Kerry to Cork
Where there's no hope in this life
but to ship out in steerage
Where the Great Lady waits by the banks of New York

For to be cops and cowboys,
labors and lawyers
In a new land that Cromwell never had suppressed
Now more Irish Eyes shine in Portland that in Antrium
The Wild Goose has flown to a far better rest

So here's to the Landlords
those vile sons of bitches
Sundering the people from the places of their birth
Whose cold ancient castles and blood spattered britches
Condemned our ancestors to inherit the Earth"

Zeke Hoskins -