Sunday, November 9, 2014

Journal - Nov. 9, 2014

I’m on the sailing vessel, GIRI.  Gilbert had me throwing the ball for him for quite a while. I made coffee and soup. That took getting the propane going.  But great coffee.  I love this boat.  I bought a new $29 Likewise ceramic heater from Canadian Tire and it’s booting out the BTU’s.  Almost toasty.  Just came by after church to check things out and decided to hang out for awhile. So homey.
At St. James Anglican Father Mathew gave a moving sermon on peace.  The choir was particularly uplifting.  It had been a while since I was present for mass.  Gilbert loved by all.  Sad new though.  Father Mark announced he’s moving to Wales in the New Year.  He’s been truly inspiring. I remember when I first came to the church saying I’d been kicked out of Christ Church because they don’t like dogs.  Gilbert’s a therapy dog but there was just that ‘anti dog’ development.  I’ve watched places lose their heart as they turn on animals especially in churches where Jesus is viewed as a shepherd.  The Bishop even blessed Gilbert.
But when I came to St. James, I told Father Mark, Gilbert and I were unwelcome at Christ Church and Father Mark replied, “Gilbert is welcome.  We love dogs here. You can come along if you’re with Gilbert, even!”  So Gilbert fell in love with St. James and I came to throughly enjoy the deep Anglican spirituality of Father Mark.  It’s a wonderful parish.  Today I told him that Wales was going to be a difficult Sunday commute for Gilbert and I.
It was great to see Kevin, AJ and the kids. I’m reminded of when my brother and sister in law had rug bunnies, my now big and tall nephews. I didn’t quite differentiate them.  I think this reflects my bachelorness. They’re all ‘kids’ until they’re talking to me.  Despite delivering a hundred or so and treating thousands of children I really am most impressed with Kangaroos.  Kevin and AJ are such loving parents while I’m waiting till the kids are able to play chess.  My nephews in their late 20’s and 30’s are quite human and formed.  Kevin carried the baby on his chest while AJ beside me at the alter had the toddler held between her arms as she accepted host.  A little later one of the three was beelining for the door and caught in passing by one of the church elders.  Over coffee, he quipped later it takes more than just parents to keep an eye on these little bullets.  “That’s why they say it takes a village to raise a child.”  I’m thankful Gilbert’s fine on a leash and mostly accepts commands. When he was a little tyke with his own curious agenda and no fear, Laura was around to tackle him when I was trying to keep him from rushing headlong across a street to visit a new dog.  Today he stops for my screams, obedience training still evaporating when there’s a female critter about.  The young are so vulnerable and stupid.
I just learned that there are a billion and half muslims in the world and 30% are radicalized.  There are millions in north america and 30% of these are radicalized as well.  Jihadist muslims want to destroy everything in western civilization, and Canadian young have been going to Syria to fight for Sharia Law.  It’s different in a way from the days when Hemingway went off to fight for the left wing against the fascists in Spain.  There’s such romance in the young but war is always about money and old women and old men scheming.  I’m thankful that Canada is so peaceful.  Our prime minister is off trying to improve trade with China, our second largest trade partner.  The lost in politics for Obama may mean more markets for Canadian oil in the states. People forget that the production of electricity involves environmental costs no matter what. I’ve had solar panels for 25 years, along with wind generators and water generators. My new diesel engine really gives me joy because of it’s power and reliability.  I’ve 8 marine deep cycle batteries on this boat and have had to change them at $100 a pop every few years for maximum efficiency.  Right now I’m using dock electricity 120 V to run the heater. Heater’s are very demanding.  It doesn’t surprise me that northern countries turned to nuclear power because heat is so demanding.  My brother just put in a 220 V plug to run his washer and dryer.  I had to turn off my heater to run my microwave. It all becomes even more interesting when I’m running of the converter.  I have hoped that people with iPhones and computers will become more aware of batteries and charging so that they can be less stupid about environmentalism.  I have a stove that converts burning wood to charge my phone but the efficiency is something less than electricity from a plug.  Phones and computers use the least juice. I encourage people to imagine if they had to charge their home heater with solar panels in winter considering how much juice heating takes. In the south our air conditioner was the great consumer.  I’ve been doing this ‘practically’ for a quarter of a century and in my country house we used a wood stove with various vectoring to heat the house efficiently.  The trouble with the media and academics is that they’ve not ‘lived’ these things. I remember the failure of my electric bicycle early days.  I went back to a gas scooter because of the demands of charging.  Thankfully things are improving dramatically.  The power pack on my computer is lighter and longer lasting by far than a year ago.  Right now I’m enjoying this ceramic electric heater.
I was asked when I was going away at Christmas.  I’ve just visited my brother and know I’m always welcome thanks to the graciousness of my sister in law.  It was truly at joy to be with Ron at his new Napanee home. He’s bought a couple of albacore sailing dinghy’s so I look forward to getting out with my nephew Allan (who threw back the fish I caught this fall) and racing him on Hay Bay.  Graeme and Andrew and Tanya are always enjoyable to see.  I just love Ron and Adell’s new place and maybe next spring or summer will get back there with Gilbert who loves Allan’s cockapoo Eva.  I’ve friends inviting me to join them in Mexico and Hawaii.  Going to the hot is the sane and healthy thing to do in winter.  I used to enjoy skiing at Whistler , getting above the clouds and enjoying the sun on the slopes.  I keep thinking that there’s a limit to trips so why Hawaii and Mexico where I’ve already been often, why not Manilla Phillipines. I mentioned this to the fillipino girls at work and they said, “Don’t go at Christmas. That’s when all the Fillipino’s are there.”  We laughed at how that came out but what they meant was that Christmas was when the third of the Phillipines who work overseas came back to visit family.  Conjestion and chaos so not really the best time to tourist there but maybe January.  Then I thought South Africa, clearly hot, and my nephew and brother went on Safari there with great photographer joy.  Gilbert wouldn’t be welcomed which he is in Mexico.  I’ve enjoyed sailing my boat to Salt Spring, winter sailing being so peaceful but my diesel heater is connected to the diesel tank which we’ve disconnected waiting for an inspection plate to be put in.  If I fill it I’ll have to suck it out before I can put a plate in.  The Stem to Stern folk who put in the new volvo penta engine last year were concerned with the quality of fuel that might come from that tank since we’d not been able to truly clean out the sludge from the bottom without an inspection plate.  My RV needs to go in for repair too so it would be good to coordinate travelling with when it’s being repaired.I did stay in a hotel in Vancouver last year for a couple of weeks.  I’ve thought of South America but I really would like to go to Egypt, Ethiopia or Turkey , all hot but which Christian roots that interest me. I loved being in St. Petersburg and Moscow given the history of Christianity.  The trouble with the countries I’d like to travel to is that they’re decidedly not safe now.  While I no longer worry about being raped as I might have been concerned as a kid, I’m worried about being kidnapped and held hostage and Gilbert getting a demand for a ransom, or worse being beheaded.  The jihadists do that then sell the organs from the bodies right after. I don’t want to be a forced organ doner.  I’d love to go to Ireland or Scotland but the weather there is as inhospitable as Canada.  Meanwhile I’ve so much work to do, David, my doctor friend said, “I’m thinking of a ‘stay cation’ . that’s where you just stay at home.”  What an idea?
We call these cadillac problems?  In contrast to concerns about tsunamis, world wars, jihadists, having a job, Canadians with less than 7% unemployment are mostly concerned with ‘choices’.  I used to go winter camping, no cost in that, very exciting and exhilarating, very very dramatic and adventuresome, but Canadians like to complain they don’t have the money to go to South Africa.  $3000 air fare versus a 10 day hotel and air fare vacation in Mexico for $800.  Indeed I was in Palm Dessert and thought of going there because return air fare are as low as $300. So for the warm, there’s Arizona as well or just hoping in the car and driving down to LA in a couple of days.  I heard of 4 kids who did that last year.  Christmas in LA.  All sorts of possibilities but then it’s really attractive to veg on the couch and maybe make a turkey. I miss the parties I had for years , dozens and dozens of house parties with dozens and dozens of guests and huge spreads of food.  That was what I did during the 20 years of marriage. All the married people eating tougher thing and our big houses being the popular destination and my enjoying cooking.  I think of the 30 or 40 deer I’ve shot and the 8 moose , elk and bear I’ve shot and how many mouths I fed over the years.  Then there were the hundreds of fish.  As a single person I don’t “entertain’ as much.  I’ve a friend who invites me to dinner and I reciprocate by taking him out to a restaurant or show.  In another scenario, a couple of prairie guys get together monthly for our dinner out at a restaurant, neither of us wanting to cook and clean up.  I’ve had folk out on the boat and have made a lot of sandwiches when friends drop in this last year but it’s been a decade since I cooked a meal for a dozen or more and I used to do that all the time.  Part of the reason I have some disposable income today is that I’m not entertaining like I did.  I give more money to charity and indeed like the charity functions that feed me at high cost so that a portion of the ticket gets channelled to the charity.
They’re all cadillac problems. Having a dog I don’t go to restaurants like I once did. We do eat at places where there’s a balcony and where he’s welcome. Muslims don’t generally like dogs and increasingly I’m seeing that anti dog movement infiltrating the world.  Canada is changing so much.  Growing up everyone here had a dog.  Every boy had a dog.  Every girl wanted a pony.  Now the robots have taken over.  Children want hazmat suits for Christmas.
There is so much to do and see in Vancouver.  I revisited Banyan Books this year and was astonished I’d been so many years since last being there. I was only in the Library a couple of times this year and once it was a place where I pretty well lived. Life can be an adventure.
I feel a bit betwixt and between. Hunting season coming to a close.  The stress of work perhaps letting up before the onslaught of Jan.  Financial concerns not nearly as troubling as just recently.  I could have a deadly disease.  World war may break out.  Aliens might invade. But right now things are copasetic.  I enjoyed Ballet BC.  I dropped off my Harley for winter hibernation. I got the Yamaha Outboard in for repair.  I was going to get the blue tooth fixed on the mazda.  It’s been wonky.  There’s a list of things to do on this boat and with my vehicles but I’ve just got to get Gilbert’s update on his rabies vaccine.  Nothing pressing. Interviewing staff this week.  A major report to do.  My new book is at the printers.  This is a sunny day.  It’s been so long since I could just sit at a computer and ramble. I normally like doing this on Commercial Avenue in an out door cafe looking at the mix of characters that pass. I thought of Jerusualem for hot and how I’d love to study Biblical Hebrew mornings like I did when I studied Medical Spanish in El Salvador. Hebrew is an amazing language. I was talking to a beautiful woman last night who spoke Arabic and told me how she could understand so many dialects of the middle East and northern Africa and what a beautiful language Arabic was.  I wish I’d more life just to study these.  I envied my friend who learned Mandarin.  I loved my friend in Russian chastising me about my lack of knowledge of ‘alphabets’.  I was annoyed by the cyrillic alphabet and she was gently bringing me to the realization that my myopic view hadn’t encompassed the vast number of sounds and symbols that occur around the world. I love Sanskrit too but would really love to know Gaelic.  Studying Hebrew I could see so much confusion in the translation to English.  The old languages lack the starkness of modern translation.
Oh well, I now think a bit of a nap is in order. Maybe 20 minutes then I’ll take Gilbert for a walk. He’s been napping this whole time.  I could go swimming. I am thinking about supper.  I really should do something. There’s so much I could do but it’s a rare sunny day in Vancouver november so a bit of a laid back approach to it seems mildly in order.
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