Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Well as the christmas season and the start of winter both approach it is time to update this blog.

It's not lack of activity that is the cause of the lack of update but more to me being lazy and stressed - in some ways that is good in that you don't have to follow by rantings.


It has also being a rough couple of months - my best friend of more than 50 years - he's like an older brother to me - well he is a year and little older than me - has been stuck in a bed at St Paul's hospital here in downtown Vancouver for almost two months recovering from a severe bout of double bacterial pneumonia - the tubes are gone  - just a nasal connection.

His biggest challenge now is to get up out of bed - after seven weeks flat on his back he has no strenght in his legs and can't stand - the physio-therapists or PT's as they are called in the hospital are working on getting him up and about.

At present they sling him up into a wheel chair and have him sit there - this will help the blood flow - since he has started this the swelling in his feet has gone done.

Time to meet a friend for lunch. More later.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Idle thoughts Sept 10, 2013

Where is the time going - haven't posted much lately but thought it would be a good time to do a brief update.

In less than two weeks I will be on the road again - this time training it to Boston to board the Norwegian Dawn for a 14 day Canada/New England cruise.

Full details on that trip can be found on my other blog.

In addition I have been busy working volunteer events and as President of my Strata Council or Owner's council dealing with a couple of major projects and one related legal matter so I will be rady for the holiday.

I will celebrate my 66th birthday on the ship in the town of Portland, Maine - there are a number of us with special occasions on this cruise so we are meeting as a group to celebrate the various milestones.

After the cruis it will be time to start preparing for the fall and winter seasons - and that means Vancouver Canucks hockey.

Also would be remiss if I didn't congradulate the Vancouver Canadians Baseball team on winning their third straight league championship - these are the rookie or baby Blue Jays and the time changes each year or repeats are harder to obtain.

And as a footnote - the starting and winner pitcher was a local boy from the southern suburb of Ladner, BC.

That's it for now

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Canada Day in Vancouver July 1, 2013 or how I spent the day celebrating our nation's 146th birthday.

  • Canada Day July 1, 2013 Vancouver - Canada Place:

    While I have volunteered by the Canada Day parade before this was the first time that I "worked" the festivities down at Canada Place.
    Our celebration of Canada's 146th birthday is the largest free event outside of Ottawa.
    One of my duties was to assist at the citizenship ceremony - seating the guests, crowd control, handling out flags, programs and the words to O Canada - 60 candidates became citizens by reciting aloud in either English or French the following words:

    I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

    There is NO requirement to use a Bible or Koran etc but you can if you wish - there is no requirement for swear to a higher authority.

    You are only required to raise your right hand and repeat the words as the citizenship judge states them - all those at the ceremony were invited to re-affirm their vows by joining in with the newest Canadians. As a natural born Canadian it is the first time that I can remember repeating the words.

    The new Canadians were of all ages and while many were of Asian descent, there were a few from Romania, Mexico and one older gentleman from the USA.

    One interesting fact that was mentioned is that on a per capita basis Canada allows more immigrants than any of the other G8 countries on an annual basis.

  • After the Citizenship ceremony I adjourned for lunch and then we went out among the many people packing the Canada Place promenade handling out small Canadian flags and program guides.

    In addition to all the people downtown celebrating our nation's birthday - there were two cruise ships docked there as well - the Disney Wonder and the Norwegian Sun that that added even more people to the mix.

    Did I mention that it was sunny and HOT - well now you know - we had access to both bottled water and Pepsi so staying hydrated wasn't a problem.

    Soon it was 3 PM and that part of my day was over.

    Spent a little time wandering the displays and grabbed a quick bite to eat at the portable Triple O's - part of the White Spot chain - just a side of fries and a diet Coke.

    Then it was up to the parade site and the second part of my long day.

    Canada Day Parade - this was the 5th annual and by far the best and biggest - the entire route was lined up 5 - 6 or more deep - it took about an hour for the parade to start - I was route marshaling at the start - trying to keep the people off the street etc - for the most part this was a much more behaved crowd that the Santa Claus parade crowd.

    I assisted an older gentlemen in a wheelchair to a curbside location - turns out he is 92 - probably the oldest person in my part of the parade - on the other hand their were a lot of little ones - I stopped and we were encourage to mingle and talk to the parade watchers - saw one little one and when I asked his mother his age - the response was 1 month old.

    I had originally planned to bale at the end but the end float was a band and the crowd starting following the parade to its conclusion so we were needed to act as a buffer to keep people off of the float - it was a sea of humanity that stretched more than three long city blocks.

    Finally escaped the throngs and got home about 9 PM.

    A very exciting and fruitful and long and hot day.


Friday, June 28, 2013

General idle thoughts June 28, 2013

This is always a tough day for me because on this date in 1977 I lost my father to cancer in a hospital in Tralee, Ireland while on vacation with my mother - it involved a flight overseas, to meet my grieving mother and a return with the body to Vancouver - it is also the last time that I have flown - the flight back hit a significant air turbulence over the Rockies that scared the bee-gee-us out of both of us and resulted in me resolving not to fly again as long as my mother was alive - in the ten years since her passing in 2003 at a ripe old age of 92+ I still haven't had any desire to board a plane - this has limited by travels somewhat but did lead me to discover wonderful relaxing cruise ship travel.


Friday, June 14, 2013

A mini vacation June 11 - 13, 2013

Took a little mini-vacation - just need to get out of the city for a couple of days and with a number of volunteer assignments over the next several weeks and then my Rockies hiking trip this was the best dates available for me - had a rough idea of where I wanted to go and where I might stay but first it was a visit to the Peridontist for a follow up on the recent surgery.  After getting the okay from the peridontist on my dental surgery I loaded up the truck and headed out - ended up camping the first night at the Kettle River provincial campsite - have camped there before and it is a good spot - the river was running high so some of the shoreline wasn't accessible but I had a good choice of sites - It was also my first time camping at  1/2 price for seniors until June 14, 2013 - biked along parts of the adjacent Trans-Canada Trail before starting up a small campfire - I had some wood with me and found some more in some of the adjacent vacant campsites.


Awoke to a very cold morning and shortly after the gate opened at 7 AM I headed out - originally planned to head up Highway 33 to Kelowna and a hotel stay for the night but the weather looked better to the east - so I headed for Castlegar and then along Highway 6 to Naskup and then the Needles ferry before ending up in Vernon at the Econo Lodge - it was showing as $85.00 a night on Hotels.com but got it for $70.00 which appears to be there Internet rate - had a large Irish Shepard's Pie for dinner at Kelly O'Bryans across the street from the hotel and then turned in for a good night sleep.



The weather had turned stormy - showers overnight and there is a severe thundershower warning for the area - head out but don't make any of my planned stops because of the weather and arrive back in Vancouver at suppertime. Will post some photos and video a little later. Cheers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More post election thoughts - May 15, 2013

Lots of comments about the election and how the polls were so WRONG BUT WERE THEY REALLY WRONG.

Were they really right but not read right.

Going into election day the margin was somewhere around 6% between the parties  - the Liberals around 37%  and the NDP around 43% - the Greens around 9% and the Conservatives around 8 %.

It has been reported in the press that both parties had the NDP with about 4% lead on election eve.

Polls are considered to have a +/- factor off around 3 - 5 % so let's take it at 4%.

This could put the Liberals as low as 33% and as high as 41%

The NDP at 39% or 47%.

So how did the Liberals win.

Some say the Greens split the center left vote but there poll numbers and actual vote % are almost dead on so there wasn't any apparent shift in support at the last minute.

In fact the NDP got 39% and the Liberals got 44% so where did the Liberals get there additional 3% - well the Conservatives only got around 4% which would be the low end of the +/- for them.

There is about a 4% difference in the Cons poll vs actual number so instead of splitting the centre right vote - it collapsed to the Liberals and help put there numbers into the actual percentage.

This is my no means scientific just my random thoughts on how it might have happened.


BC Election May 14, 2013 - the upset of the century and the re-election of the comeback kid

I am reposting my thoughts on the BC election upset here from my Facebook entries.

Part one.

Spending today resting up after having a very long day yesterday - first working the election - got that finished around 9:30 PM - with one exception I had 25 great team players - I don't assign them - HQ's does that so you don't know for sure if two people working together for the first time will gel as a unit - each poll had a voting clerk who records the vote and a voting officer who ensures that the ballots gets into the box and are accurately counted at the end of the evening. We had a very large turnout for what we call the Absentee ballot - in BC you can vote on election day at any poll in the province for the candidate that lives in our riding - this is why it is called absentee - having a downtown location we were swamped with people using this option - we had over 450 absentee votes - these will not be counted until the final count is done in 13 days.

After finishing up at the polling station I had to deliver the ballot boxes and supplies back to our headquarters - naturally having an iinquiring mind I turned on the car radio and at first I thought my fading hearing was playing games with me - was I hearing right - the Premier was losing her seat - no surprise there as it was deemed a close race and likely to go either way - but the Liberals woulod be forming a government - that was the first shock - okay I said to myself - they have squeezed out a victory with the most seats and might need the help of one of lesser parties - then I heard it and the second shock - 51 Seats for the Liberals - that was more than the won with in the last election and they were claiming seats they hadn't won in years - now remember I am still driving to HQ's - keep you eyes on the road - finally at HQ's - they hadn't heard the results and like me were dumbfounded with the result. 

Steady Dennis - you are not home yet - still need to drop the truck at the apartment - eyes on the road for three more blocks then you can head for the big victory party three blocks away.
Truck safely parked - quick dash to the apartment to drop off some personal items and then out the door and on to the Sheraton Wall Center - first stop is at the HQ's of my newly elected member of the legislature Sam Sullivan - former Vancouver mayor - he had already left and headed to the main ball room which was packed with jubilant Liberals and lots of media - couldn't find anyone who I knew there that saw the upset and of this magnitude and before long Christie was coming into the hall and we started a 4 MORE YEARS chant - after hearing her speak I left and headed for coffee and bite and met up with my long time and non-political friends who told me that he knew she would win because IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID.
It's appears that he may be right - in looking at the results - while we lost couple of seats in socialist Vancouver and one in Burnaby and a couple on Vancouver Island we won seats back in the suburbs and in the interior where there are less concerned about oil tankers on the coast and chicken coops in the back yards of $1 million west side home owners and more concerned about putting food on the table for their families.
I finally got to bed about 3AM this morning. 

Finale - not sure if any earthquake rumblings were recorded last night but with the number of people jumping on one bandwagon and off another I could have happened.
So what's next for Christie - she will need a seat - this will be addressed once the final count is released on May 27 - they will run her in a very safe seat where the fallout of asking a newly re-elected MLA to step aside won't cause another embarassment - I think the most logical is West Vancouver - Capilano - Ralph Sultan was elected by a huge margin - he is also 80 years old - others mentioned are Linda Read in Richmond East and Gordon Hogg in White Rock - regardless of which one of those three - all will get a handsome pension although Ralph's given his age might be the least costly of the three.

The Liberals lost two Cabinet Ministers but elected a lot of new comers - many of the old guard didn't run - some because of the fear of sitting in opposition and others for a variety of reasons.

While a little thin on Vancouver Island - only two seats - mid Island although one Saanich North was lost by about 50 votes and could change at final count she will have representation from all areas of the Province. She also is now the boss and any former Campbellites who cross her won't be in Cabinet.

One riding that was of interest to me was Kootenay East - that's where my paternal roots are - it is also a heavily unionized area with all the coal miners in the Elk Valley - it is also I believe the only riding in the Province that had only two candidates - a sitting and little eccentric member in Bill Bennett and a NDP opponent - most though this would a close vote given the union's usual support for the NDP - VERY WRONG - a 5000 + vote victory for the Liberals.

That's my feelings and take on the election.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

GROUSE GRIND TRAIL IS OPENED FOR THE SEASON but a word of caution - there is still lots of snow at the top and most of the trails are still snow bound and icy - the bears are out of hibernation.