Sunday, June 25, 2017

20 years

Looking back it seems a long time ago though it really was just yesterday.  I remember it hard at first, like any great change. Like the first year of medical school. Like moving from a different city here. Like learning to sail a yacht or learning to hunt a moose. It was that kind of learning. Steep at first.  But worth it.
I remember feeling like I had walked across the floor of parliament changing sides from the opposition who blamed and explained to being responsible and holding myself responsible.  Taking the high road for a change rather than the low road.  Living freedom not license.  Understanding empowerment and higher power rather than taking credit but denying regret.  Living for the day and knowing that tomorrow wasn’t a product of yesterday but rather of today. What I did today made all the difference. I could isolate or participate.
I remember letting go of old ways, old friends, old ways of thinking. It was like medical school. The party crowd condemned me and laughed at me studying friday and saturday nights. Some days now I regret missing the pop culture but then i’ve head a crying baby whose life i saved by resuscitating them in the wee small hours when they were born dead. That’s no small thing and it was years to learn and wise men and women who taught me.  It didn’t take near as long to learn drunkeness and drugging and licentiousness and party skills.  I’d been a baby and an animal long before I became civilized and learned.
It was good to remember that first year I’d already learned to walk but had fallen down many times leaving that crawling phase.  I remember the discipline too of avoiding slippery people, places and things. It was too, for my friend who did a tour of duty overseas, like learning the booby trap signs, recognising  those early  signs, that save a life.  I got good at recognizing them and see them  sooner today, knowing better to avoid them.
Because I know I can fall. I’m humble that way. Humility is knowing one’s own limits rather than judging the limits of others.
Mostly it was understanding it wasn’t the behaviour but the thinking. I had such a monopoly on self pity and really was an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I was thankful too for those who went before leaving me the clues, especially, just for today, and think, think, think.
I went to meetings and avoided my own company.  I loved when the guy told me that the condition was like having sex with a blow up doll and calling it love. I was so easily deceived. I’d been so deceived for so long. I learned especially to doubt the government and radio, and tv and internet.  I still want to drug test the insanity I hear and see because I know how insane one can be while sounding perfectly reasonable.  The emotional are just as bad.  There’s this sober place somewhere between the love and fear that’s really very serene. I like it there today.  I was a  drama junkie younger enjoying getting all worked up.  Now I really ask if I want my dog in the fight. So much is avoidance and awareness now.
I pray today. Almost unceasingly.  I meditate too. I exercise but not enough. I enjoy life in a different way. It’s like being on a different dimension.  I sometimes even feel rocketed but it’s more joyful than pleasurable.  I’m sad at times but it’s not that angry sad I knew so well. It’s less tragecomedy than tragedy or comedy. There’s details I never knew existed and shades and colours I might have known as a child but lost somewhere in my teens.  I’m an adult again in a different way.  But it wasn’t easy at first.
I’ve climbed mountains and sailed across oceans and know that the hardest part is the starting and the first days and weeks. Then it’s a new way, a new life and the old shores and valleys don’t drag you down so much. I just keep on trekking and the peaks and new shores keep appearing. Sometimes I want to go back but then I go to a meeting and hear from someone whose just been there that it has n’t changed.
Today is where I belong. It’s a new day. I’m grateful.  I have to hold onto gratitude.  I ‘m thankful for the teachers, those who had gone before me, a little further ahead.  They taught me I could exchange attitude with gratitude and it’s true. I’ve got a lot more gratitude today.  20 years later.
It’s a new day. Thank you God. Thank you Jesus. God of my understanding.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"The Young Woman Doctor and the New Administration Class"

“The young woman doctor and the new administration class”
-wiliam hay

I just read One More Thing, stories and other stories by B.J. Novak.  It was a gift from my older friend George.  I regret I’d not read it while he was a live we could have discussed it together. He sang the praises of this young writer one night while we were having soul food  at Chez Michel.  We’d talk of literature and poetry and women .  George always had the best of stories.

The one I remembered today was his story of the ‘young woman doctor and the new administration class’.  He said that there was a shift at the hospital and this new political class had come along. They carried little black books and noted fault with everyone. 
“We have this  brilliant young family physician, fortyish, beautiful, who works at my hospital.  She never takes guff from anyone so she’s constantly in the sites of the new administration. “ George said.  "The best clinicians always are these days,”

“She’d just been up all night delivering a baby.  She was going out to her morning clinic.  Walking through the foyer of the hospital, she encountered the new administrator strolling in.  He’s a thin lipped mommy’s boy sort of young man who prides himself on the most  expensive suits and shoes. He accosted her loudly. 

'Dr. Madeleine, (not her name), could I have a word ?’ 

“I was just coming into the hospital and seeing something interesting about to unfold, “ George said with a smile, “I stopped right there to tie my shoelace.”

“Yes, ‘ she said ‘but it will have to be brief I’ve a clinic  to attend."

The pompous administrator then said, “Well, I couldn’t help but notice your attire.  I really think you should consider the length of your skirt.  It’s a bit short to be professional , wouldn’t you say?” 

George said, “the young woman doctor didn’t miss a beat. Right off she replied, 

 “I don’t think you should be looking at my legs and skirt this early in the morning.  Now excuse me, I’ve a clinic to attend.”  She hurried  on her way.  

“The  fool in the expensive striped suit, “ George said, “ mouth gaping  just stared after her. Then  he reached into his pocket for a little black book and and began jotting furiously.”

“Having tied my shoe laces,” George continued, “I considered that I’d always thought she had  rather fine legs.  I would have liked her to have shown  more of them rather than less.  But really her skirt was hardly above the knee.  It’s  2016. 

The point, though,  is It never was like that here. I don’t know if I would have stayed  had it been.  I’d be sorry to see the likes of that young woman go. She reminds me of what I was like when I was younger. 

The administration in my day were a cut above this present day  petty dictator class.  I feel for the young doctors but really I’m mostly just thankful to be at this end of my career.” 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Richard Cho, friend

Dr. Stan Jung first told me about Dr. Richard Cho nearly 20 years ago.  I’d seen Stan as a Chiropracter and fellow Christian, knowing him from his work in Pain Clinics  I had since youth had a gymnastics injury which responded to a simple manipulation but otherwise could cause me irritating upper back pain.  It would eventually go but with an adjustment I'd be relieved instantly of weeks of annoyance.
 I’d learned basic manipulation in my days as a general practitioner studying the works of English surgeons.  In Canada both physiotherapists and chiropractors do musculoskeletal manipulation for pain relief  but my own experience was that Canadian trained chiropractors were the best.
What I liked was the Stan and Richard got together with a couple of other chiropractors regularly and had an ongoing continual journal discussions and hands on mutual support training.  This was seriously advanced. In my field of medicine this is fairly standard in the form of rounds and ongoing journal clubs and continuing medical education.  I was just so impressed to learn that these colleagues took their practice as seriously even though they weren't required to do so.
Stan has a rehabilitation phd as well.  I liked that Richard like him was interested in the scientific studies in his field. I’d later learn that Richard’s mother was a  reknowned medical specialist and researcher in her own right.  The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in that family.
When Stan, who I’d seen every year or so, became more involved in his medical legal practice as an expert witness, he recommended I see Richard.  I met Richard and liked him immensely right from the beginning. His beautiful wife, Reese,  was his receptionist in the Fairmont Willow building where I myself once had an office.  She made me feel instantly welcome.  Years later when I came with my cockapoo, Gilbert, he'd enjoy her caring companionship while I was visiting Richard.
That first time , I filled out a extensive health form then was ushered into Richard’s examination room. I took off my shirt and let him do a simple medical examination.  Then I lay on his table and he proceeded to do the manipulation that would provide me ongoing relief.
He was a good looking young man, more than a decade younger than me.  Shorter and stockier, broad shouldered and very powerfully built. I sit at a desk  writing mostly while Richard all day used his whole body to manage, move and manipulate small to often very big people. One of his areas of specialty was athletes whose muscles would cease up and require deep massage and strong manipulation. He saw lots of the local professional team athletes as well as body builders. I was thankful he was gentle with me.
While he worked he chatted.  He professionally explained what he was doing but he also took an interest in my interests.  That’s how he learned I hunted and I learned that he hunted too but could rarely get away from his work on weekends because of the practice demands.  He was more a competition shooter and loved to talk of attending meets and stationary target practice.  He was accomplished with rifle and pistol.  Having done my share of target shooting I knew well the mental training and even meditation associated with willing a bullet to leave the end of a gun and travel to the bullseye of a target far away.
Richard was a very spiritual man and I shared with him my love of the book, Zen and the Art of Archery, by French philosopher,  Eugen Herrigel.  He knew it and as well knew the more famous Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig.
Motorcycling remains one of my fondest memories of Richard.  I’d crashed a Norton in my youth, swearing off motorcycles well into my 50’s.  Then I bought a Buell Blast at Trev Deeley. Buell had upgraded the design on the traditional Harley motors but was known as well for his more sporty chain of motorcycles, cafe racers and such. Richard had a bigger Buell himself. Hearing the concern I had about riding despite recently acquiring my bike and license, he offered to spend a day riding with me to give me safety advise and check out my technique.
He brought along a biking friend, Ed, from the movie industry.  Ed had ridden dozens of times back and forth across North America on his old Harley chopper and told story after story of riding all kinds of bikes. So there I was a novice with these two accomplished guides leading me off for a day of riding in the beautiful Frazer Valley.
It was a truly glorious day riding with these great guys up these serpentine roads into the mountains and down through the valleys.  Then at high speeds following all the signs we'd blast along the freeway before heading off again cross country.  Overall at stops they'd shared they thought  handled a bike well.  Still they had terrific advice about watching for gravel on country roads and leaning more into the sharper turns.  Richard had a marvellous way of correcting my posture even for riding and doing it in such a way that I didn't feel at all defensive.  I will be forever grateful that Richard cared for me enough to take the time to teach me lessons which have saved my life on the many years of riding I've done since.
Yet that’s exactly what I learned Richard did with everything.  When I told Stan about Richard doing that, Stan confirmed. “That’s just like Richard, always helping the new guy."
I was truly honoured to be invited along with my friend Laura to share dinner with him and his wife Reese at their lovely uptown apartment.  It was a fabulous meal with the best of conversation and one of the most memorable nights of discussions of books and culture I’ve ever known.
Having paid my way through medical school as a professional dancer and doing stunt work for theatre I invited Reese and Richard to join Laura and me at Ballet BC. I don’t think Richard had ever been to the Ballet but he was keen to go and amazed at the power of the dancers.
“The men are like body builders who make it look so easy,” he said in intermission.  He’d been impressed at how elegantly they lifted the ladies. He was astutely impressed by the magnificent agility of their  jumps whose athletic prowess might be well missed by the regular arts crowd.  By comparison Richard was seeing the muscles and joints through the eyes of an athlete and chiropractor. While Richard and I talked about muscles,  Reese and Laura were discussing the costumes and elegance of the dancers.  We laughed at our different perspectives. It was a night to remember.
When Richard’s retired  mother was ill I got to see another side of Richard, the deeply compassionate son who loved his mother deeply and was so concerned for her health and well being. He admired her mind and achievements but mostly he simply loved her.  When she recovered quickly from a minor set back he was again relaxed confident and full of life.  Family and friendship meant so very much to Richard.
It was a shock to learn from Stan that Richard had died.  As a lifelong hunter and gun owner and shooter, getting my bronze shooting award at 12 years old, I knew Richard’s incredible respect for safety and concern for procedure and proper gun handling.  Hearing that he’d accidentally died by shooting himself in a competition meet was as extraordinary as if I’d heard that Canada’s hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky had died tripping over his skates.  It was that inconceivable and bizarre. A truly freak and tragic accident.
Unfortunately a very great loss.  Only 50 years old, Richard was a young man. Known for his good humor,  he was also wise beyond his years.  I will miss him. I know others will too.  He was such a great man and good friend.  I am blessed to have  known him.  Maybe it’s true, “only the good die young’.
Losing Richard I feel we have all seen one of the very best of character and service depart.
I believe in heaven and hope one day to see Richard again, with that great all embracing smile of his. Once again I’d love to hear his laughter. I wouldn’t put it past him either if I arrived and found that St. Peter and all the other apostles were lined up waiting to be blessed by Richard’s healing touch.  No doubt he’d also be telling the buddha he would benefit from losing weight,   recommending  exercises and dietary tips to help him through eternity.
In the words of my Canadian rancher grandfather, Richard was truly a ‘straight shooter’.  He was just that kind of good man.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Big Bar Lake Camping, BC

The weekend began Friday.  4 and half hour drive up from Vancouver.  We set up in the early evening at site 25 in the Provincial Campground. We would have liked more privacy but our neighbours turned out to be awesome.
Gilbert and I like wilderness camping more.  Laura likes a hotel with bath and spa.
Gilbert was up each morning between 4 and 5 am. He wanted me to get up with him. I did by 5 am and was able to enjoy the campground alone.  Loons echoing on the lake.  Bald eagle flying above the trees.  Beautiful dawn and dusk. Pink clouds.
I loved getting the camping gear going.  New tent. North Face 4 man Meru.  MEC sleeping bags and Cabellas air mattresses.  I even found my Propane lantern and got a mantle set up and terrific reading light at night.
With the help of a neighbour I carried my Kevlar Clipper canoe down to the lake shore.  It was a touch steep and I'd feared wrenching my back carrying it overhead down that stretch.  My back isn't the stuff of the 20 year old who white water canoed Northern Manitoba and Ontario and portaged lake to lake with all his gear.  I still liked the exercise.  Hauling paddles and motor and life jacket and fishing gear dow to the boat.
I couldn't get the new Honda 2.3 HP motor working. I'd put the gas tank switch off on off mistakenly so of course it wouldn't start.  I finally figured out my error.  It was exciting to have the boat motoring along. I tried casting with the Shakespeare rod.  I tried trolling. The fish were not interested though others were catching.
Back at the camp I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs for Laura and me on the red Coleman propane stove.  I'd already made several cups of expresso .  The afternoon was spent walking Gilbert on leash about the campgrounds and reading novels on lawn chairs.  Real roughing it.
In the evening Saturday I went out again in the canoe.  I didn't catch any fish.  Looking back I saw storm clouds. We'd had thunder storms and lightning on Friday so I didn't want to be on the water. Getting back with the wind against me was a trial motoring without weight in the front of the canoe. Ashore I hauled the gear up to the truck. A neighbour youth helped Laura and me carry the canoe back up from where I'd put in. His mom joined in.  He even helped me load the boat on the truck. I was glad when Laura told me she'd 'rewarded him' with $5.
"I like to encourage young people that way." He really was a good guy.  There's some benefit to grey hair.
That night with the storm passing on the other side of the lake I fried up pork chops and cooked up potatoes. It was a feast for kings. Gilbert loved the pork chops too.
We had a great fire both nights and even in the morning.  A little gasoline helps as starter.  We were able to buy logs from the attendant and I had a long a little hatchet for splitting. Our neighbours had gone off with a chain saw and cut their own. It was their first time bringing an RV and they were enjoying it.  Laura was a little envious.  I could have brought mine but I would have had to clean out the excess winter weight. The fact is I've wanted to camp.  Maybe later in the summer I'll want to RV again. For now Laura is being a trooper.
"I know this is what Gilbert likes best." she said.
He really did like sleeping in the tent on the air mattress between us,  He had a great time during the day with the half dozen other dogs around us.  It was dog heaven. Provincial parks are leash only but in our bit of the world all the dogs were getting along and we let them all off leash for bits of the day.
Gilbert's  due for eye surgery for glaucoma on Tuesday with Dr. King so we both envisioned this as a special weekend for him. It really turned out that.
I'd been at the Celebration for Life for my dear friend Dr. George.  We're grieving.
I'd arranged for my AB hard bottomed inflatable and Honda 30 hp to be shipped by Jerry and Lloyd's on U Ship It to Hay Bay for Adell and the nephews to use. It would arrive on Father's day and I'd think my deceased brother would like that. Dr. Richard Cho another friend, chiropractor, motorcyclist and shooting instructor had died that week in a freak accident at a meet.  I m grieving and nothing like camping in the wonders of northern Canadian nature helps to soothe the wearied soul.
I even tried to swim but the water was still a bit too cold for more than the quickest dip.
Canoeing takes me back to cub scouts and boy scouts with my Dad and my brother Ron.  Later it would be Minaki Lake with Kirk,  Lake of the Woods with Miles and Frank and white water canoeing Winnipeg River with Jon.  Lots of nostalgia with a paddle and a canoe.  The little dog was a happy companion.
This morning we woke early to another lovely day.  Nature is God's church.  Gilbert and I walked in the back woods where I saw some old bear scat.  Then I made a fire and drank expresso watching the sun come up.  After that I loaded up the  Ford F350 2017 Lariat Truck with gear.  Laura would eventually rise and join me.  We enjoyed drinking expresso watching a chipmunk eating a bit of potato from last night's dinner.
We heard and saw the wood pecker.  Stuffing sleeping bags and rolling up air mattresses I complained the bags that come with air mattresses are always too small.  I  dropped the tent. Laura and I folded and packed it.  We were ready to go before 9 am.
On the drive out we actually saw a female moose. It walked across the road then ran across the field she saw I was trying to take her picture.
Cache Creek AandW we stopped for Gilbert's breakfast burger while Laura and I had the equivalents of Macdonalds Egg McMuffins.   I got a large coffee, double double, and really enjoyed the drive down with the beautiful northern scenery, pine forests and rolling green meadows, horses, cows and goats.  White capped mountain and blue skies. Then we passed alongside the raging Thomson River down through the canyon.
The rain hit at Abbotsford.  The last bit home was dreary and rainy but we were at the storage locker unloading before 3 pm then home shortly after. We'd completely missed the Sunday afternoon returning home rush hour.
Great weekend.  Great camping. Great canoeing.  Roughing it.  Got a call from Hay Bay saying the boat had arrived.  Good news. My engineer film maker nephew Graeme will get good use out of it this summer before he begins his phd program at U of T in the fall.
Laura has left in her little red Smart car. I've had soak in the hot tub. Every part of my body is aching with all the novel activity. I'm red faced from the sun.  I'm also thankful for  Deep Woods mosquito spray or I'd have a lot more bites that the few I do have.  Gilbert is sleeping after a whole lot of running around off leash and playing with a half dozen other dogs.
Big Bar Lake Provincial Campground really is a special place. I love the high cowboy countryside.  This is the first time I've camped at the Big Bar but I sure look forward to coming back.

Big Bar Lake, British Columbia

“I want to go canoeing. I’ve not even used the Honda 2.3 hp motor I got 2 years ago.” I told Laura after shipping my AB hard bottomed inflatable with 30 hp Honda 4 stroke motor down to Hay Bay family in Ontario.
After I’d put up pictures on FB of that boat being loaded for transport, my friend Kirk texted me,
“You are on the westcoast boatless now?”
He is ever enjoying his canvas ocean kayak. We’ve sailed in my SV GIRI together on the Strait of Georgia. We’d actually begun canoeing together on Minaki Lake as children. Boating is in the Laidlaw and Hay blood. The Scottish islander genes or some such thing. Maybe a touch of the Viking.
“I’ve still got the Kevlar canoe.” I texted him back.
I’d bought the Clipper Canoe from Western Canoe Store in Abbotsford several years ago. I specifically got that design because it was deep and sturdy enough to carry a moose if I used the canoe for hunting. Reminiscing Laura and I figured I’ve only used it three or four times since I bought it. When I was in Manitoba and Ontario I had a Grummond Aluminum canoe and loved white water and lake canoing.
With the SV Giri on land, I wanted to get the canoe out of the storage locker and give it a go.
I’d had a Friday off because a Supreme Court case I was due to be an expert witness in was settled. Rather than rebook I felt the need for a long weekend.
Thursday I had been at my dear friend, George’s celebration of life at the Gleneagle Golf Club. With false accusations and death threats at work and a greedy landlady renting me an office without proper zoning I’d really not felt I’d had time to even grieve my brother’s loss in late fall. I’d been in survival mode ever since. Then Richard died this last week in a freak accident. A competition shooter and gun safety instructor, he’d accidentally shot himself fatally in a competition meet. I figured I could use an extra day off and Laura was glad to take a day off herself.
It was time for a break. If only for a day.
Gilbert has glaucoma and is scheduled to have his left eye removed next Tuesday.
“We need to give him a dog’s weekend ,” Laura said. She’s his momma. He begins howling in the car when we’re dozens of blocks from her apartment. When he sees her he can’t contain himself.
I was delighted to use the BC Provincial Campground on line booking service. We love Clinton. Bill Mewhort my dear departed hunting guide friend had introduced me to the region 30 years ago. Staying at Circle H ranch with him I’d shot my first moose. It’s the most incredible mixture of terrain, woods and meadows and high cattle country.
I’d never stayed at Big Bar Lake. I’d stopped there and seen how beautiful the pine and spruce circled rocky lake is. A perfect place for canoeing and fishing.
George’s Celelbration of Life was Thursday. Seeing all the friends we shared in common, so many he’d introduced me to and some I’d known before was emotionally troubling. I’d cried on the way home. There’s a loneliness that comes when the greats I’ve known pass.
The skies opened and a deluge of rain fell as if even the sky was crying his loss. Heaven is so much richer now. I long to see these men again there. Along with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I often dream of the departed.
Laura arrived Friday morning in her little red Smart Car.
“The traffic was horrible,” she said.
Driving to the storage locker we got caught in the tail end of the mess an accident on Iron Workers Bridge had caused. I was in my new white Ford 350 truck enjoying the music I’d uploaded to my phone blue tooth linked to the truck’s system. Beatles. Amy Grant, Gordon Lightfoot, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Third Day. It made the traffic jam more palatable.
At the storage locker I had to back out the Honda 500 Pioneer to get at the canoe. My storage locker is half files and half recreational gear. I keep thinking of getting rid of the scuba gear thinking I’m unlikely to be doing northern scuba diving any time soon. South seas yes but cold water no.
Coleman camp stove, truck tent, air mattresses, lanterns, gas and water tanks, sleeping bags and canoe. It was an hour sorting and loading but then we were on our way.
I stopped to pick up a hunting license and a rifle as it still is bear season and Laura is afraid of bears. I don’t particularly want to shoot a bear but if one were bothering our camp I’d be glad to eat it. My friend says the bear he shot is incredibly tasty. I do like the ham. But this weekend I’m fishing.
At Cabelas I made a stop and couldn’t resist another tent. This one a North Face 4 man Murin. The two man tent I have is great for Laura and I motorcycling but just a little too cramped for hanging out. The truck tent is great but this weekend I didn’t have “Charles”, the Honda PIoneer so could see myself wanting to drive the truck. Any excuse for another tent.
I’d just given my new 6 man tent to the god kids. Tom and I used it once and it was more a family affair. I just couldn’t see taking the time to set it up unless I was camping for a week whereas it really would be perfect for the god kids camping especially if they’re doing a road trip across Canada. It was the kind of tent our family had with the screened in porch where Mom served meals.
I got Laura a ‘Bear Banger” . The bear banger is an inexpensive pen like noise maker and tiny flare launcher. I’d picked up my Ruger rifle with 223 shells, not a bear gun by any means but fun for target practice and would if needed bag a bear.. I always remember Grandad shot bear with a 22 Rifle.
At Western Canoe in Abbotsford I picked up another paddle. I also had lost a foam support that allowed me to carry the canoe on the roof safely. I replaced my jury rig with the right pad.
With those stops done we had a beautiful drive up the old number #1, along the Thompson River. I love that route. It’s just grand seeing the incredible rapids and rising out of the valley rain forest to the high sage country.
“I love watching the train going through the tunnels on the other side of the river, “ said Laura.
We stopped to let Gilbert sniff and pee at some rest stops. He really did enjoy the ride.
At Cache creek we stopped at the Market for groceries. It was surprisingly already 6 pm. I’d planned to get up here around 3 pm. But it was so much better than our last camping trip when I’d put up the truck tent at 3 am near Lillouet.
In Clinton the grocery store was still open so I filled up with gas and got some frozen pork chops in addition to what we already had..
Laura pointed ou the Catholic church we’d attended once while we were here. We’d stayed in Cariboo Lodge then. Another time I’d brought up the RV and stayed in the townsite RV park.
We spotted a deer as we headed into the back roads. Gilbert was sitting in the middle of the front seat looking seriously in hunting mode. When we came on a herd of cattle with all the young ones he almost jumped out of the window to join them. He loves cows.
“When he was a puppy he saw his first cow and ran like a bullet to plunge beneath the hot stream of poo the cow was producing. Fearing the cow would back up and step on him I raced after him to retrieve this stinking gooey dog from dog heaven. I make a point of keeping him away from cows ever since,” I told Laura.
“I can see why”.
We drove by Circle H Ranch and the Big Bar Dude Ranch. The horses they have there are really beautiful.
At Big Bar Provincial camp we drove in and immediately met the lovely attendant who sold us three bundles of wood.
It was beginning to rain. Laura was not impressed with putting up a new tent in the rain. Thankfully it only spit and rather quickly we had this stupendous North Face Murin up . I love it. I blew up air mattresses and Laura set up our tent with Gilbert helping her at every turn.
She wasn’t a happy camper at that point.
I boiled up some hot dogs and put them in buns with mustard in front of her. She began to come around. I started a fire with the help of gasoline encouragement. She liked that. It was chilly and she and Gilbert went into the tent to bed.
She was thinking about bears. Gilbert and I were too but more as predators than victims.
I got the Coleman lantern going so was able to stay up late reading my novel and murder mystery set in Toronto in the 1830’s , “Vital Secrets”, by Dong Gutteridge.
After I put out the lantern and doused the last of the fire with water, I crawled into the tent to find Gilbert cuddled up against Laura leaving no room for me. He accepted that I could come in and left an edge of the air mattress for me. He lay between Laura and me in dog heaven.
It was 4 am when Gilbert decided we should get up. Dawn light was coming through the tent. He began licking my face. When i turend over he licked my ears. So I got up.
I took him for a walk in the back woods before returning to sit meditating as the sun rose.
With the help of a neighbour, we were the only two up, we carried the canoe down to the shore. I loaded it up with lifejackets, fishing gear and the Honda motor.
Back in camp, nn the Coleman I made a couple of expresso coffee and just enjoyed the morning for a bit. Before I left in the canoe with Gilbert I set up a coffee for Laura. I told her we were going and left the truck keys with her.
Gilbert and I got out in the canoe. First it was paddling. I wasn’t able to start the motor. Later after a whole lot of tugging, I figured I had the gas valve turned to the off position. I fished with the Shakespeare Rod for a bit casting but eventually had the fun of trolling with the motor going. Gilbert kept jumping from side to side threatening to tip us as I was twisting about running the motor with one hand and trolling with the other. It eventually got the rod holder working by cutting off the heel of the rod which hadn’t fit in the holder. After that I had more hands and the risk of tipping reduced immediately despite Gilbert’s running from side to side.
It really was fun. Beautiful morning. I was the second boat out but when I finally came back in a half dozen others were fishing. I learned others were catching fish but I was just thankful not to have tipped the boat . I had the fun of paddling and using the Honda 2.3 hp. Gilbert was most interested in another dog on another boat.
Back at the base camp Laura was up having made up the coffee I left for her.
I made bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Laura likes the bacon burnt. I loved the scrambled eggs with Mrs. Dash for seasoning. Gilbert loved licking the plates clean.
Since then I’ve gone swimming once, just enough to get the soap off.The water is still pretty cold. Laura and I have been reading books and dozing. It’s a pretty heavy schedule. A chip monk keeps running by. A red headed wood pecker came by too. We saw some bald headed eages and great hawks on the way in last night. I’ve taken Gilbert for more shorter walks in the back woods. He’s been quite content to nap along with us. The neighbours have some dogs and they’ve done the meet and greet and sniff genitals. Everyone gets along. Our neighbours are really nice people. No body doing drugs or drinking or listening to loud rap music and shouting kill the white guy.
I love my Lariat edition Ford F350. Everything goes in it and it’s a great companion.
“When I was a kid we went to a secluded cabin on a beach. You went camping with your parents. I tell my friends that we’re going out in the dirt and outdoors where there isn’t running water or showers and we have to use outhouses. They think I’m crazy. It takes a bit to get used to. I know Gilbert loves it and I’m so glad he’s having such a good time before his surgery.” Laura said.
Right now she’s back in the magnificent North Face tent enjoying the air mattress. It’s amazing how it’s stayed up this weekend since I learned how to close the valve.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Late Night Journal

I was looking at old photos, just the last seven years, since Gilbert was born. He’s having an eye out next week. Glaucoma.  They say it’s genetic but I can’t help but blame myself.  The sins of the fathers.  It’s not rational, not even intuitive. Just emotional  I promised to protect him. My last dog was killed by a drug addict.  I cried when my cat was hit by a car.  I’ve learned to live with loss. Patients have died over the year. First the old men, then others, and later the young addicts.  I had so many nightmares but now I dream of parents and the sea. I dream of lovely dreams. Meetings in big rooms. Old women who are kindly. Young women who are beautiful.  Capable men.  I’m often on a sailboat or looking through a many roomed house.  I wake and think of Dr. Carl Jung.
I pray when I wake.  It’s been tedious.  Tiresome. I’ve had so much to do and so many details to maintain with this later unplanned move.  Now I’m spread out in clinics.  So many many new patients and I think of the university and government jobs where the same old same old, the fear of the unknown.  The rapid learning curve.  So many numbers now.  I’ve known tens of thousands and it’s more and more a curiosity.
Tonight looking at old pictures I’m reminded of weekends of sailing or camping, trips to Greece and Moscow.  I’ve liked most the people.  A few are consistent. And these last 7 years there’s always Gilbert.  It’s microscopes and telescoped when I look at it thus.  The movie of the dolphins was reminiscent of the first dolphins I saw off the GIRI bow 25 years ago.
Now I’m writing still.  I costume. I have many facets. Clothing for work, for winter, spring, summer, for sailing, hunting, fishing, swimming, play.  I have grown fatter over the years. I was very slim in one picture where I was scuba diving.  It was something to aim for again. I must return to the exercise. It’s spring. I’ve survived the winter, barely. I could exercise more. Eating less is the difficult task Even tonight I loved the cheese sandwiches on raisin bread. Gilbert and I shared.
The fast boat is gone to Hay Bay today. As Kirk noted I’m down to just a canoe. He didn’t know about that. I’ve used it too little and I’ve a 2.5 hp engine I’ve not used at all.  I am planning to sail the Atlantic.  There’s fewer years for this but not this year. This year I’ve a new truck and want to camp and fish and hunt.  I like the BC wilderness.  I’ve a desire to spend more time with Gilbert. He likes that best. We were in New York at Christmas.  I’ve had my big city experience. I want to go to India again and Scotland and Jerusalem. My favourite conference is in New Delhi not next year but the next.  I ‘d like to go to Goa and Kerala where St. Thomas was. I’ve a desire to go to Ethiopia too and visit the coptic churches.
There’s so much work too. I’ve got to pay the bills.  I’m juggling between health and aging and costs.  I wanted to write.  I wanted to sit outside in cafe’s and drink coffee and journal.  That’s what I enjoy.
Even this late night blogging has appeal to me.
But it’s like pictures.  Personal.
I am looking forward to death. I don’t want it to come soon. There’s so much I yet want to do.  I question if I’m best using my time and resources.  I’ve done my duty. I’ve served my time. I’ve a whole lot of idea that this government has shat on. Things like service and responsibility and caring and all those values of Canadianism or even Christianity are ridiculed by the Trudeau set, a fat elite of silliness.
It’s the next generations issue. They can deal with their own sociopaths and psychopaths.  The sharia law contention and communism are arisen.  I regret being liberal. I enjoyed the time but today my karma is to see the birds come home to roost.  Sad creatures.  I’ve regrets but no praise no blame no regrets. I did the best I could with what I had.
I have identified with the aggressor.
I’ve returned to my roots. I’m socialized differently.  I was caned and hammered.  I had a harsh beginning, the gifted child.  Demands and frustrations.  I may have peaked at 12 as my aunt said. But these are glory days as well. I’ve been so blessed. So much to be thankful for.
Even Gilbert. What a little character. My father called him “monkey dog’.  He’s a fixture in my life.  Right now sleeping.  I’ve put drops in his eyes three times a day or more for a couple of months. Surgery Tuesday.
I loved Bard on the Beach with Laura.
It will be strange to be camping again.  A tent and living out doors with the dirt and gravel floor, picnic table.  Sky for roof.  Sunshine for light.  I look forward to canning.
I’ve been meditating. It’s a discipline.  It’s meditate or do sit ups. I’d rather meditate.  I’m work up to both.  Reading novels and watching NCIS.  I said, I servived the winter. My brother died in the fall.  George died and I go to his celebration of life tomorrow.  A friend in hospital. Richard shot himself dead. Another friend relapsed.  Meanwhile we’re on the verge of civil war with the communism of the UN and the radical Islam invasion. The communists always think they can win a revolution. Let others do the heavy lifting. Then they assassinate the opposition and move in their committee dictatorship.  Atheists are more organized and cold blooded that the Shiite Sunni fighting passionates.
I’m watching with thankfulness the Trump Pearce America brand assert itself.  Trudeau only has the lie of climate change and the dope solution with euthanasia and has bought into Agenda 21 UN.  I can’t wait till they’re gone.  Quebec corruption.
It’s late. I’m backing up my computer. A little housekeeping.
I’ll watch some tv.  Read my book.  Maybe just go to bed and leave this machine to do its own thing.  There’s no originality in the journal

Bard on the Beach, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare

What a wonderful mid week lark! I was so glad I bid on Bard on the Beach tickets at the Turning Point Recovery Gala this year.  Laura and I loved the show. The venue is worth the outing.Vanier Park, usually a site of kite flying, is one of Vancouver’s prettiest places.  The very clever set designer left the back panel open at times as a window onto English bay with sailboats passing by.
I remember first going to Bard on the Beach in the 80’s. It was horrible. Great theatre but these god awful folding metal chairs, lousy acoustics and leaky tents. I remember sitting with my feet in a pool of water windy rainy nights at the outdoor theatre. I love Shakespeare.  King Lear is the greatest play of all time. Among other masochists and enthusiasts we attended this incredibly daring audacious event that has just grown and grown since it’s early creative days. .
Now the tents are the best.  I think of Persian nights as these tents are the stuff of Sultans.  The acoustics are great and the seating is almost comfortable.  The acting direction and plays have just got better and better and better.
Much Ado About Nothing directed by John Murphy

was a splendid romp.  Shakespeare modernized.  The language retained, but the storyline moved to a 1959 Italian movie set.  Hilarious props and marvellous slap stick moments. I’ll forever remember the Vespa chase as the audience burst into spontaneous applause.
Well done Bard on the Beach.  I loved Andrew Wheeler as Leonato and Amber Lewis as Beatrice. What a crazy adorable love story with all the twists and treats of the greatest playwright of all time.
Bard on the Beach goes from June to September and I really do hope to see  Merchant of Venice.  Shylock, A Winter’s Tale, and Two Gentlemen of Verona are also being performed. Thank you Christopher Gaze and Claire Sakaki.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Harrison Lake with the Godkids

It was a joy to be with the Godkids and their parents Anna and Kevin. I was blessed to meet them through Elizabeth and Phil, Anna’s Godparents.  Laura and I have known Anna since she was in high school.  It’s great to see her as such a fine and loving mother.
She met Kevin because he was such a good father to his son Izek.  There’s now Alex and Kendra and Izek.  A great little posse of kids that play with my little fur baby Gilbert. We usually meet in church and often go for lunch at Whitespot after.
I’ve been going up to the Bungalo Motel Cabins in Harrison’s for 30 years. We're so disappointed to learn it was sold this year.  It was fun to share this near getaway from Vancouver with the great little family.  Walks in the wilderness and to the Harrison Lake Townsite.  Playing with Gilbert.  Laura had brought her Ukule and I brought my guitar. We had fun with the kids.  Pizza’s and music.
I loved the little munchkins curiosity and energy.  A fun time.  I admit though that I was amazed that Anna can handle three on one.  Laura Gilbert and I were no match for three on three. They literally ran circles around us, climbing, and crawling and jumping up and down. Their enthusiasm though is infectious.  Kevin and Anna were constantly on the go keeping up with them.

Laura and I were happy to lie about reading novels while they were off exploring.
Outside in the park the Canada geese were keeping track of dozens of goslings.  Spring and children, seasons of the young and old.