Friday, November 30, 2018

Seen and Unseen God

I believe in a seen and unseen God.

God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipotential

God is love.

God is all.  

I am in God.

God is imminent.

God is transcendent

God is alpha and omega.

God is the Higher Power.

There is but one god, God of Gods.

I know this to be true not because my senses tell me

But because I intuit it to be true.

The evidence for God and God’s existence is overwhelming to me.

I believe that there is a conscious connection between myself and God.

I believe that while I call my self ‘the self’, God is the over self, Self of Selfs.

I believe God is wanting to communicate with me more fully.

I believe that the Holy Bible is the text of God but not the only text.

I believe Jesus Christ was the son of God

He was born, he died and he rose again.

I believe in God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

I believe the Holy Spirit is the feminine aspect of God, God the mother

I believe that this Family of God is the relational world, trinity and triangle.

I believe that God is seeking closer contact with me as I with him.

I believe there is a sacred hide and seek and that finding God is joy itself.

I believe that I can see God in creation if I have eyes to see, ears to hear.

I believe that God is Grace and that I must have Faith to know God.

If I close my mind to God I shall miss the very finest of life

I believe there are higher and lower qualities and that I can meet God where I am

I believe that God is lifting me up and bringing me home as a mother holds a baby.

I believe I am Born again in innocence while my cleverness is growing to wisdom.

I believe that prayer brings me closer to God as does meditation.

I believe that doing the right thing brings me closer to God as well

I find it difficult to do the right thing because I have the power of choice

I can choose God or simply speaking the GOOD or I can choose something less than or other.

I struggle to know the God because God is awesome and I may simply fear the novelty of God

I don’t want to choose the safety of the known and be a spiritual coward

To know God more fully I must go beyond my present comfort zone and live freely

I find it hard to trust. I am often afraid. Please God. Hear my prayer. Help me know you.

Help me grow in love and wisdom.

Thank you God.

Thank you for Gilbert and George, for my family, and friends, for my home, for this city and country. 

Thank you for this world. Thank you for the air and soil. Thank you for the sky and rain. Thank you for the sun.

Thank you for the Moon. Thank you for this body and these senses. Thank you for this adventure, thriller, romance of Life.

Thank you for the stories. Thank you for the mystery. Thank you for the treasure hunts and thank you for the naughty bits.

Thank you for Love in all it’s myriad forms.  Thank you lace and panties. Thank you for roses and thorns. 

Thank you for old people and young people and especially thank you for the babies and the women who bear them.

Thank you for the children.  Thank you for the laughter. Thank you for the giggles.

Thank you for this day. Help me use it most fully and help me to know you more deeply.

Thank you Lord for creation and hopefully one day I will know what it means, the why and the wherefore.

For now help me to know you more, to sense you in all I do. Help me to live in the sacred. Help me to live in the divine.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

St. Barnabus Church Morning

Laura and I were up early on a Sunday morning. Sleeping in is such a temptation. But Gilbert likes to get out and have a pee. It’s healthiest not to sleep in more than an hour. We wake at 7 am weekdays so there we were 8 am, sharp , crawling out of bed to dress and go to church. We’d watched Straw Dogs Thriller the night before.  Rank evil with lots of urban and rural Hollywood predjudice.  Good movie.
For the first time we didn’t get lost finding the church so we arrived only minutes late.  Rev. Emilie was about to begin.  Gilbert appeared and her greeter dog gave off two great barks with both wagging tails as Gilbert dragged me into the church. 
We grabbed  a  church program and a Common Praise hymnal. I love the church architecture. Lots of wood.  Holy ground.  Churches are consecrated. When they close them up and sell them for other purposes they have to be ‘deconsecrated’ .  I doubt that really doesthe trick.  People praying and singing praise change the very fabric of the local universe. Grass grows better. People are happier. The sun, when it shines is,brighter. I just love the spirit of this church.  Lovely people in the congregation too. Old and young.  I learned some spoke Spanish.  A truly lovely lady, classic Anglican elegance,  was born in the 1920’s.  Another gentleman hails from the same between the wars era.  An infant always likes to be held by her loving father’s arms.
I like the Bible Readings.  I love the prophets and the psalms.  I like the repeatitive format, like a good story. The service unfolds.  Gilbert loves the peace. We walk about and shake hands, look in each other’s eyes, smiling. Christianity is about joy. There’s joy here. Gilbert rubs noses with Rev. Emilie’s dog. He’d do more but I hold him back with the leash.  Laura is giggling behind me.

The sermon is about Pontius Pilate questioning Jesus.  Pontius Pilate is the Roman Empire’s man in Israel at the time of Jesus, when Herod was king of Israel. He’s asking Jesus about his kingdom and Jesus is responding he’s not of this world.  The essence of Christianity is that God became man in Jesus, lived ,died and was resurrected.  There is heaven and earth and Jesus declares the Kingdom of God is beyond the limits of this world.  The leaders of the world are worldly and arrogant and ride into towns in chariots, tanks or step off great planes. Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey.  He died by crucifixion. There’s that pesky ‘Thy Will Be Done. Not My Will’ element in Christianity.  Jesus asked on the mount to take this death from him.  But he followed the story to the end. One imagines he could reign missiles and napalm down on Rome and light it up with laser fire.  Rev. Emilie didn’t get into this but focused on the humility of Jesus and the choice one made in life. She ended by quoting Bob Dylan’s song, you’ve got to serve someone, maybe the devil or it may be the Lord.  She says we serve the Lord at St. Barnabus. 

The coming of the king, Advent, in the calendar begins next week and the whole season of Christmas, the birth of Christ, is a coming together of the church and community with feasting and song and ritual.  Her enthusiasm is palpable.

Communion, eucarist, is the symbolic or actual sharing at the table in Christ. He said, at the last supper, Taking the bread, he said, this is my body, shed for you, and taking the wine, he said, this is my blood.  So we all join in what materialists untouched by faith, outside of the insight of grace, take as an ancient cannabilistic feast.  Yet Jesus has become the cosmic Christ and creation is imbued by the soulfulness of Jesus. Together we participate in the soul feast.  At least that’s what it is subjectively to Christians. And who cares what the ‘unwashed’ think To quote a teacher at Regent College who laughingly said, ‘they’ve been wrong before.”

Laura holds Gilbert then I take over and she joins the feast.  Soon the service is over and we’re filtering out to another weak. I always feel lighter, healed in some place, touched by the community, by the ritual.  It wasn’t ever thus. I’d just participated like doing exercises of any kind till one day a miracle happened and I liked it.   It was the same with study.  Lust is for everyone but love is for those who stay.  I liked the C.S. Lewis book Four Loves, and definition of love of God as charity.  I can’t command God’s love but I sure do feel it.

After church Laura and I walked Gilbert, and had Mexican breakfast at the great Mexican restaurant in New Westminster. (I’m not telling anyone where it is because it’s already so popular that there’s a line up each time we go.) Then we went next door to Vision Bookstore, now owned by the daughter of the great man I’d visit and chat with 20 years ago.  His grandson was there. I love family businesses.  I bought a little Brother Lawrence book for a friend while Laura was pleased to get Christmas gift stocking stuffers and a little angel for her 18 inch tall Christmas tree she plans to put up this week.

Now we’re reading with Gilbert and George fighting over who gets to sit closest to Laura.  I’ve just been reading about the monozygotic Newman brothers separated at birth who both become firefighters, both had steel rimmed glasses and identical moustaches as adults. Genetics and neuroplasticity are fascinating reads.  I’ll never forget being married to an identical twin who became ill at the same time her sister did thousands of miles away. It’s hard to ignore God when the foot prints are all around you. 

 I love McGill’s Neuroscientist Mario de Beuregarrd’s book Spiritual Brain where he discusses the PET scans he did of meditating Carmelite Nuns.  Rev. Emilie had compared Black Friday with the traditional Sunday years past when it was a day of rest like the Sabbath I celebrated in Safed Israel.  No phones. No business. No liquor stores.  Contemplation, family and quiet.  It’s good to go to church. I’m thankful for St. Barnabus.   

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Recovery Today

“I never thought I’d end up here.” She said. Her clothes were torn.  Not in that fashionable way. But a sleeping outside and not having anything else to change in torn and worn way.  Her hair was matted. There was dirt on her hands and face. She was white at one time.  “I graduated college.  I had a husband and a child before social services took my baby.  I don’t know where she is now.”
She’d been sleeping in front of the bank because there was an overhang there that kept some of the rain off her sleeping bag and newspaper shelter.
“I drank first but then it got to harder stuff. I needed the drugs.  I didn’t like what I did for them.  Drug dealers are all disgusting pigs.  But I didn’t have any money. “. She was crying, shoulders shaking.  She did’t smell fresh either.
I didnt’ know if this was true or just a tale she’d picked up and used.  The stories are passed around and reworked for most impact. Especially the stories of abuse. They’re so polished that I’ve even heard the lawyers down here repeating them as their own.  Jungle tales.  But she sounded real.  What was sad is how the last thing blamed was the drugs. First the parents, then the men or women or the job or even the banks and government but finally one day if they’re lucky they look in the mirror and say, “It’s me. It’s the drugs. My drug dealer isn’t my friend.” 
AA considered calling the Big Book, the truly classic recovery read, “The Way Out”.
So many who develop drug and alcohol abuse had trauma that many think the subsequent self destructive lives are ‘identification with the aggressor’ and Stockholm Syndrome.  No one doubts that it becomes a disease.  The brain changes.  The amygdala and hypothalamus are altered. DNA and neurotransmitters are all altered.  The very thinking is high jacked like a worm in a computer. Addiction can be followed by public health like a viral epidemic.  It spreads in poverty and war from carrier to target.  There are well established vectors.  The enablers are the most interesting group.  A twisted form of narcissism.  Dr. Scott Peck described them in “People of the Lie’.  Without the enablers the natural history of the disease would be brief.
“I ran out of money and no one wanted me. That ‘s why I came in.” He said. He’d been a teacher at one time. 
I first met them in the detox ward I supervised nearly 40 years ago.  Back then the Delirium Tremens of the alcoholics challenged me. I’d be up all night trying to keep the patients alive as they crashed about screaming and hallucinating and I’d be afraid of how much medication I gave them because they’d have liver disease, heart disease and lung disease from smoking and drinking. Mostly they were older men then.
Today’s it’s children. Nobody realizes how many beautiful young women are addicts today. Female alcoholism has passed that of men.  Red Red Wine.! Poor ME. Poor Me . Poor Me Another Drink! The guys are coming in younger too.  
40 years ago it was alcohol or heroin but today it’s everything.  
“I don’t want the methadone or suboxone. I was just told I had to see you and fail your program before they’d give me the free heroin.”  He was 18 years old. He’d started using drugs when he was 6 years old. His mother was a prostitute and his father a career criminal.  “I”m pretty sure he’s my father. I visited him in jail. The guy my mother said was him. He acted okay and said we’d get to gether when he got out. He’s in for another 20 years. Manslaughter. I didn’t go back.” 
There’s lots of solutions. All the options are available here for treatment. The management of these options has been described as the worst managed in the western world.  The problem is communication and coordination.  The administration though is always playing their favourite game of divide and conquer and self aggrandizement. The emperors and empire building in beurocracy is rife.  
“I’d feel badly but when I see how incompetent the legal system is following known terrorists and dealing with criminals who use guns what is done in health care is genius by comparison.  Politics is just messy everywhere.” She said. A wise nurse teacher now working on the frontlines after leaving a cushy university position for reality.  
The housing crisis doesn’t help.  The bed bug stories and rats in 21st Century Canada frighten me.  Typhus outbreaks in Democrat California. Won’t be long before that spreads up there.  We still get syphilis cases and we’ve done everything to wipe out these diseases but as the government devolves the danger increases. We’ve got TB again but so far no Plague in Canada. The breeding grounds are growing though.  The anti vaccers don’t help either but who wouldn’t believe conspiracy theories with the lies coming out of Ottawa and Brussels about scientific ‘predictions’ that are just modern day political ‘prophecies’ .  
If the person has a job and family in tact as Dr. Ray Baker literally preaches, “We can get 80% or better outcomes at 5 year follow up with early intervention.  We do better with addiction that any of the other specialities in this regard but we are no better than they are treating end stage illness’.  Dr. Baker was the one who started the first medical school addiction education program when the authorities were in complete denial and blaming the victims like the courts and judges and too many politicians still do.  
The treatment of choice has been around since the Navy Pilot program. When AA began in 1935 there was no ‘cure’ but 50 men in Akron found that abstinence and accountability groups, 12 steps and broad based ‘spiritual’ focus rather than narrow focus resulted in 5 year cures for what was an otherwise deadly disease.  Unfortunately until people understood immunity, partial immunity and genetics of disease and disease spread little more progress was made for decades .But now, thanks to AA that millions of alcoholics were surviving and then Addicts too there were test subjects and money to continue the research that has lead to a broader based approach to the disease. The Navy Pilot program was 80% successful with early identification in the workplace, referral to a psychiatrist trained and experienced with addiction , seeing them monthly, seeing a drug and alcohol counselors weekly and attending three AA meetings a week after an initial 4 to 6 week (proverbial 28 day) inpatient treatment.  
There’s little change in that winning formula today except that there’s now ‘outpatient’ ‘DAYTOX’ and “SMART” Recovery groups alternative to the 12 step programs and a variety of faith based ‘accountability groups’ more appealing to particular religious affiliation.  Psychologists and psychiatrists have begun to treat the trauma that is usually associated with addiction at 3 to 6 months abstience.  Motivation Therapy and DBT groups are now psychological advances over the CBT developed in the 80’s .  Recovery Capital work is the foundation of modern psychosocial therapies. 
In addition a variety of drugs like Revia 50 mg a day have been developed to reduce craving and assist recovery much like the highly successful Chiantix used for quitting smoking. 
Harm reduction strategies have expanded the applicability from the original , ‘take it or leave it ‘ approach so that a number of approaches have been established to get people into the now generically termed ‘RECOVERY’ process. It’s becn said ‘you’re either on the up elevator or the down elevator.” Once it was believed that you couldn’t be ‘forced’ into recovery but functional MRI studies show that people who have been using drugs are literally ‘not in their right minds’ for at least 90 days or 3 months.  Intervention and rescue models and treatment Centers offering 3 month initial programs have followed this learning. The old ‘tough love’ AA program is still likely best practice for ‘relapse prevention’. 
 These harm reduction procedures include replacement models, like methadone, suboxone, and now morphine and injectable morphine. Internationally the highly successful injectable long acting antagonist treatments have been used though Canada and the US often because of the long delays haven’t  haven’t caught up with the Russian and Australian approaches to chronic relapsing disease. . Mostly the local  courts and beurocrats cause delays because of their lack of  scientific education in face of  crisis.  When I worked with the AIDS epidemic the courts and individual judges and beuroccrats by their delaying tactics and self aggrandizement accounted for thousands of passive aggressive deaths.  That said hundreds  of judges and thousands of beurocrats along with the front line workers turned that disease around as they are now grappling with this fentanyl epidemic.
Dr. Jordan Peterson though, always one to avoid the political correct language of deceit, confronts the problem directly but saying that today 10% of the population are ill equipped to have any work. Work and the family are the cornerstone of community and without community the gangs and drugs take over.  Work has been a key component in limiting the spread of addiction.   It literally keeps people in contact with positive associations however as Dr. Peterson points out in the past there were all kinds of work that didn’t require intellect or computer knowledge or even reading and writing. But these kinds of jobs have been mostly taken over by machines. Society must come to terms with this problem. Some countries have brought back conscription while others are moving to a similar non military but public health peace corp type approach for those young people who are not going to make it to college or trade schools.  Anything is better than leaving these marginalized people to gang predators.  Some 75% of those in jail are there for crimes to obtain drugs.  The enablers are often those with a conflict of interest in maintaining the antiquated punishment jail based legal system which has much value but not in this arena.  The drug court is just one of the very best solutions to the problem but recovery houses and work must follow.  
The good news is recovery is working. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t meet someone who says they remember me , like others,  who were along the way in their recovery journey. They stop me and say ‘thank you’ .  I don’t remember them. I’ve seen so many thousands of patients struggling and recovering from the disease.  They never look like they did when I met them in their addiction or early in recovery. 6 month, a year or 10 years later the big difference to me is the ‘eyes’.  They look alive’. “Dead eyes’ is a well known term among those who care and know.  
What’s even better is the ‘life’ the people in recovery have.  They tell me about their new jobs, their education, the trips to exotic places, their reunions with family, their church or temples.  It still remains that those who are 20 years or more recovered tend to be going to AA groups or involved in some spiritual organization.  
It’s a tough field to work in especially with the alcoholism and addiction rampant in the authorities  and the denial in high places where the desire is to expand the tax base and hope that the 90% of people who can play with fire safely are not destroyed by the 10% of people who turn out to be arsonists.  Despite that it’s still rewarding in time to see the lives gained.  Those young people who I knew who had so much potential but died premature unnecessary undignified deaths still remain with me.  But the woman who lost her children and family is now 2 years clean and sober . That’s thanks to methadone, her drug and alcohol counselors, AA,  a smart psychologist, her local church, an enlightened social worker and family who were glad to have their daughter back. She has a job working as a secretary for a housing authority, a government beurocrat going out of his way to help her get work without stigmatizing her for the other non life she’d lived before recovery. That’s the new normal story in this work.  I’m thankful to have been a part of the recovery process.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Random Thoughts

I remember reading poetry
At sixteen,
In the Vincent Massey 
High School Library:
Raymond Souster,
Leonard Cohen,
Al Purdy,
Robert Service.
I was an odd boy,
Playing hockey
Beard to my fetish for words,
Pretty on a page,
Picked discretely,
E.E.Cummings wise;
Magee, High Flight.
I liked the words of warriors,
And lovers wrapped in rhyme,
Alliteration or just special,
By their place on the page..
I was young then.
Poetry was old and wise,
And friendly in a sometimes cold world,
Confused by hormones and war 
Vague futures and heaving breasts.
I loved poetry,
Studying theatre,
Reciting Shakespeare,
Surprised on reflection ,
At why in retrospect,
These bits of doggerel and sonnet
Touched me, called me, caressed me.
Later biblical verses , ancient psalms 
And Isaiah would as well.
I remember 
Writing my own bits of rhyme
Between classes,
On busses, in cafes;
The notebook , and pen
Always along
As friends,
Like poetry and poets.

I heard Al Purdy on the CBC today.
I remembered high school and college,
And her face and fur hat
And the snowflakes in the glow of the lantern,
Before we lay naked on the squeaky bed,
Oh,   the    squeaky     bed. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Thank you Lord for another day. Thank you for the dreams of living waters. Thank you for my friends Gilbert and George.

Help me to be less anxious. Help me to be less judgemental. Help me to be less of an ‘activist’ in my mind. Thank you for all that you have done. Help me to live and let live. Help me to be less likely to find fault in beurocracy and beurocrats who are to the most part doing their best and in the most part are good people,  Help me to let go of some of the  thinking that I learned too much from “Universal Soldier” Buffy St Marie and Peace Activism. Help me to accept that others see things and do things their way.   That others may be good intentioned and not necessarily corrupt with different priorities and a different course to get to the same place that I profess to be going.

Help me to be more forgiving, less negative, more understanding, more the person I am at work when I’m not working.  Help me to see that others are hurting too and that it’s best to see the enemy as sick and wounded rather than as dehumanized and evil.  Help me to grow in character and be the person you were and I would be. Please protect me from persecution and help me to hold my tongue when that would be politic. Help me to be more diplomatic and less adolescent in my response to those who are callous and uncaring but hypocritically present as true when they are false and seem likely to know they live the lie.  

Help me to take the log out of my eye and focus less on taking the sliver out of the other fellows. Help me to focus on what I can help here and now rather than like an adolescent have all the solutions for the world but be unable to make his bed. Help me clean up my own room.

Help me to be less afraid and less resentful.  Help me be of more service to others.  Help me to be less self centred and selfish and self seeking. Help me in all my endeavours.  Thy will be done not my will.  Let me see your foot printts today and feel your breath on my cheek and hear your wee small voice. Let me still myself so that I can hear you.

Thank you for the wonders of creation. Thank you for the air and sun and rain and clouds and trees and green and blue and sea gulls and robins and crows. Thank you for my little car. Thank you for the traffic design and the engineers and the police that patrol the roads. Thank you for ambulances and hospitals and governments and nurses and doctors and courts and judges and construction workers and unions and professional associations and learning. Thank you for music. Thank you for the 60, 70’s and 80’s music especially Lord. Thank you for Praise .  Thank you for poetry and novels and text books of Neuro psychiatry. Thank you for philosophy and theology. Thank you for history.

Thank you for theatre and plays and story telling. Thank you for my father and mother , family and friends.  Thank you for this day. Help me to see it as another adventure with opportunities rather than wrapping myself in the safety of my own limitations and view the unfolding as ‘same old’ same old’ with the cynicism and despair of lack of creativity. Help me to see that I need a new pair of glasses rather than believing that others need to change.  Help me to celebrate traditions and see the good in all.

Thank you for this day Lord. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

St. Andrew’s Ball 2018

Each year the St. Andrews Ball is hosted by the Saltire Society of Vancouver. This year it was held at Pinnacle Hotel Waterfront.  It’s a lovely affair and grand occasion.  I’ve been a few times before and truly enjoyed it each time.
Laura looked simply ravishing in a new Ralf Lauren ball gown. The ladies are supposed to wear dresses that reach their ankles or below. A tartan sash is ideally draped over a shoulder to declare the clan.  I did love one beautiful lassies full length skirt in her clan tartan.  The men wear their Scottish attire or black suits or tuxedos.  I was thankful I fit  my blue Hunting Hay kilt. My  Red Royal Hay kilt, over the years,  somehow shrunk.

I loved the stand up bass and violins in the lounge area playing classic Scottish tunes.  What a thoughtful touch.  We all entered with a Grand March.  People watching was made easier that way.  My God the Lassies were lovely, all ages.  The men looked suitably washed.  I couldn’t help but feel some what at home.  

Alison Moen,  the Scottish Country Dance Director, was remarkable providing  clear and concise instructions as to where she wanted us all to go in groups of 4 and 8 and as a whole. Next thing we knew we were actually participating in country dances.  These were the highland source of the modern rather lowland square dances.  

Thomas Budd was the very fine piper  and Alec Robertson, the drummer.  The Haggis was piped in and a marvellous Robbie Burns Toast to the Haggis was given with great flare.  A notably thrifty Scottish prayer preceded the very fine steak meal.  Laura and I sat at a table with a delightful mix of guests.  The conversation ranged the world over with talk of travel, politics. religion,  children and grandchildren.

When we were full with fodod and barely capable of waddling, the band began to play again.   Alison Moen encouraging  us all to join her on the floor for another round of Scottish Highland dancing. So many of us didn’t know what we were doing in one dance so  the laughter nearly drowned out the music. What fun!

A thoroughly delightful evening. 

Thank you olden St. Andrew’s Saltire Society of Vancouver and Pinnacle Hotel Waterfront.


Friday, November 16, 2018

The Morality and Psychosomatic Pain?

Why do bad things happen to good people?
This is the central question of religion. It further is a central question for understanding ‘pain’ in psychiatry.  
All pain is a ‘psychosomatic’ phenomena.  Psychosomatic means that body and mind are involved in the experience.  Psychosomatic does not mean speak to cause and effect but does speak to associated phenomena and potential contributing factors and possibly a different approach to solution.
For example a child is caned and strapped..  I pick this example because being caned and strapped was a recurrent experience of my own attending Viscount Alexander and Vincent Massey High School in Fort Gary Manitoba.  Fortunately this was not a routine occurrence though physical punishment by school administration was normal for a previous generation. Death by school caning was a social problem that preceded Japan’s embarking on WWII. It should be noted that while Nazi brutality has been extensively documented so that the word Nazi conjures up brutality, Japanese brutality is similarly understood in the east in all the countries which Japan invaded.
What is good. What is bad are questions of ‘interpretation’ and ‘morality’ not at all so obvious as some would argue.
The Japanese perceived their corporal ‘punishment’ of students as did the administration at my school in Winnipeg.  The Nazi’s felt the same.  The history of the world tells us that corporal punishment was indeed the norm for all nations with rare exception.  Consider simply the history of punishment in the Royal Navy, the leader of civilization and guiding light of the world, until the redistribution of power in the early 20th century. Records of hundreds of lashes slowly are reduced to tens of lashes and it was not uncommon for sailors to experience permanent mainming or death from their ‘correction’.  Further minor faults were very aggressively punished and only slowly was the ‘rod spared’ for worse crimes.  In Islam today according to Islamic laws , which some describe as barbaric, since the punishments went out of vogue sometimes hundreds of years past, the cruelty and offence of punishment remains as a historic note for all nations.
Hollywood would have us believe in the chivalric notion of the loving kind mother showing great sentimentality by heroines when faced with unpleasant punishments on the live screen.  Unfortunately this marketting to the ‘fairer sex’ for the pure purpose of selling dish soap is a travesty of abuse of public education as propaganda.  Attending my first boxing match I was shocked to see how lustful and violent the women audience were.  Historically matriarchy as opposed to patriarchy has been associated with torture and punishment.  
What did occur historically was that race horse trainers did note that a different approach to training from whipping gave better results.  Doystoyevski’s portrayal of the man beating his horse to death is an obvious example of the limits of corporal punishment. The Japanese government actually had to have committees to look into the death rate of children in institutions from corporal punishment.
Further modern psychology especially forensic psychology became interested in Sadomasochism, an ongoing issue of Hollywood and the upper classes in general. Just as today we know that pedophiles flocked to the church for access to the children so sadists flocked to positions such as prison guards and police for their access. Not much different than alcoholics seeking work as bar tenders or sex addicts seeking work as prostitutes.  Obviously the majority are motivated by money and more lofty aspirations or driven by need rather than greed. Still this significant minority are attracted to these positions of power simply for the means to act out their aberrant tendencies or desires.
Now move forward a half century and note the advances in what people historically called civilization. I remember being strapped by teachers in elementary school and while others in my class probably don’t remember the day I certainly remember when the strap was removed from the classroom, teachers denied the right to corporally punish students and this moved to the sole domain of the Principals Office. I graduated before Principals were denied their bit of physical activity and would only be billy clubbed by guards and surreptitiously physically punished in custody.  It was frowned upon by even my early 20’s when I was involved in demonstrations to leave evidence of injury.  It has been decades now since anyone in authority has physically abused me though I continue to be exposed to repeated verbal abuse and public humiliation and exhaustive shaming.

Raising white chickens I learned that the chicken with a black feather was visciously attacked by the other chickens. This is natures way of removing aberrant genes from the gene pool and one of the reasons that Utopian Darwinism is questioned as genetic difference is removed rather than celebrated in nature normally.
In my study of the Canadian school when I was interested in birth defect, IQ and school drop out I found that public schools punished the slow learner and the fast learner.  Not surprisingly the slow students dropped out. What was offensive to those who’d asked me to study the matter, where I first learned that politics funded research was my finding that the students smarter than teachers and administration, the high IQ kids were also dropping out of school.. The public school faced with ‘one shoe’ for all served the masses but not the “deviants.”, euphemistically termed “outliers” by those secure in their mediocrity. 
Apparently I had a high IQ.  Whatever that represents, blessing or curse.
But I was beaten repeatedly for correcting teachers and to this day am punished for pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes.
I’m kind of autistic in this regard and have taken delight in a new Canadian television show called the Good Doctor.  I self identify and story tellers have long known that even children love a story in which they can see themselves. I’m delighted with the excellent ratings of the show because I expect that it speaks to Canada as a ‘colonial’ nation more than it speaks to medicine.
In a Colonial nation there is a fixed upper class. Here in British Columbia, the game was rigged in the last generation for the English immigrant to win. In Quebec the French born person is a Royalty and Canadian life has it’s apartheid but it’s not so much by colour but by class, origin and family. When I lived in England I saw very quickly that upward mobility and wealth in society was relatively easy if your family was wealthy for generations and you’d been to the proper school to get the right education.

Dr. Jordan Peterson has pointed out some 10% of students due to lower IQ or even lower emotional IQ are ill fitted for modern society and unlikely to find even work easy.  The rise of the peasant class. Brutal maniacal killers like Lenin were able in an earlier generation to claim to represent these ‘masses’ and there by gain fortune and power for his own deeply evil designs as a mass murderer. Hitler similarly used this means to elevate himself. Today the closest we compare is late night shows with people begging for money for a variety of species of cuddly animals without any concern for reptiles and insects and certainly not the very underprivileged bacteria necessary for life.
How I perceive pain is best seen on a scale 1-10 with the contribution of mind and body being apportioned.  Chronic pain is separated from acute pain as acute pain, pain that lasts minutes or days isn’t the burden on society that chronic pain has. Chronic pain is more ‘mental’ as well.  
Men who have been caned in studies have been known to experience pain, the same objective physical injury 10 times another person who has not been caned in youth.  There is no ‘greater sensitivity ‘ for the upper classes as the white feminists argued when the black feminists challenged them about their relatively safety and security.  The universities at the time were doing ‘take back the night’ dances in which more lighting was put on the campuses to protect the privileged upper class feminists when the threat of rape on university campuses was the least in America. By contrast nearby black ghettos were the hotbed of rape and were not funded for ‘lighting’ or even much of a concern to the ‘take back the night’ crowd.  This idea of ‘sensitivity’ is itself a luxury of psychological value but not at the physical level.  The innocent is immediately more impugned by violence but their background of relative safety and comfort also gives them the means to be resilient and flexible.  There is a reason in history for the officer class and the tendency for race horses to be trained with the best of food, shelter, exercises, discipline and training. 
Women who have not been informed about menstrual cycles or have been sexually raped by painful intercourse early in life or had negative genital experiences are at great risk of having many times more genital complaints, cramping, abdominal pains etc.  
So the question is best considered if the sum total of the pain is 10 and 5 is assumed physical and.5 is assumed psychological is the physical component ‘5’ or 2 and the mental component 1 or 5.  
The example of a gunshot wound would appear straightforward ‘physical’ but if the gunshot was occasioned robbing a bank it’s a different ‘experience’ to a gunshot experienced saving the life of a child.  The body of a poor or rich man, the actual physiology will have similiar impact. However if a person has been beaten as a child they will fear the pain as greater than a person who has not. 
Add to this consideration my patients who are masochists. A group of people for whatever reason have found that inflicting pain while masturbation or during sexual orgasm heightens the perceived enjoyment. There are some neurological components as well as psychological components to be considered but it remains that this person may indeed feel ‘pain’ differently than a person who only experiences pain as a message of harm.
If a professional fighter experiences a blow as compared to an innocent the professional may well ‘know’ the blow was not ‘disabling’ and ‘will heal’ based on previous experience of fights as compared to the ‘shock’ of the innocent who experiences the blow and believes wrongly they are disabled , near death and rather than continue the attack reverts to a fetal position and prays.  I rather like the latter though have found when that didn’t work I’ve been forced to salvage what remains of my pride and body by actually fighting back which as original as it seemed the first time has significant historical precedent for stopping the pain.
In my work doing hypnosis and hypnotizing people for surgery I further found that distraction could well ameliorate the experience of pain. I was cutting a person with a knife but I had used hypnosis like I’ve used xylocaine injection to stop the pain.  Acupuncture distracts the body.  Mentalist apparoaches may work as well as physical approaches. Paradoxically with chronic pain exercise reduces the pain in the long run.
Now this addresses the existence of psychosomatic pain. So pain mostly is bad and good people and people designated as bad can have pain. It’s been said that pain is mandatory but suffering is optional.  
If a person considers themselves as bad they will indeed experience or perceive greater pain. Depression prolongs and worsens pain. indeed at one time chronic pain was called ‘somatic depression’.  All pain is psychosomatic.
Good people have pain.
Bad things happened to good people. However religious people who perceive negatives in life as ‘lessons’ from God rather than as ‘punishement’ or even as ‘random bad shit’ do better with recovery in general.  Chronic pain is addressed in the context of how does it affect what I do compared to what I did. IF I perceived myself as a good person because I was a surgeon and I loose my hand in a criminal minds episode to a cannibal I am more likely to have ‘phantom limb’ pain than perhaps a man who has his hand chopped off in Saudi Arabia for stealing a piece of bread to save the life of his dying child.  Understanding the ‘meaning’ of a person and their purpose and the meaning of the ‘pain’ and a person’s ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ do alter the perception of pain.
Disability is a further issue because it appears quite surprisingly people who are high paid as beauty contestant judges appear to not experience the disabling pain that people who have similiar injuries do when the latter works 12 hours in a cold stinky outdoor fish plant.  
Just some thoughts about pain and perceptions with some ideas about past and present and the understanding that these factors can have and influence and change outcomes and indeed help us to understand better why bad things happen to good people.
This doesn’t even get into the issue of ‘secondary gain’ where a person injured or claiming to be injured when they weren’t even injured can be rewarded for the ‘drama’ of pain presentation.  Today some 40% of claims are ‘false claims’ and knowing that should explain to some extent why insurance companies are so slow to ‘assume’ a person is good , despite every special interest group insisting their group doesn’t lie.   
In Canada a convicted  terrorist who maimed an American soldier was rewarded  10 million dollars. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Remembrance Day and St. Barnabas Anglican Church, New Westminster, BC

I loved to go the Remembrance Day services when my RCAF father was alive.  One of my fondest memories is of him sitting with the WWII vets at the Vancouver cenotaph. I was so proud.
Yet the Rembrance Day  services were outside ,I was down with flu, and back pain made standing for a service level less appealing. Attending church seemed the more physically wise decision.
Laura and I like St. Barnabus Anglican Church because they are dog friendly.  It was the right decision.  Gilbert and I had met Rev. Emilie Smith but Laura hadn’t.
 “I really liked her.” Laura would later say.  “She’s so uplifting but also so down to earth.’  Gilbert liked her dog and Laura liked that her dog had it’s own pillow bed.  The congregation was small and intimate.  There’s a sense of community.  We’re outsiders but we felt welcomed.  
I loved that Rev. Smith talked about the ‘war to end all wars’ and that Remebrance Day was not to glorify war but to honour the men and women who made such sacrifices for peace.
In a very inspired and moving moment, Rev. Smith walked away from the altar to the walls where there were plaques recalling the men of St. Barnabus Congregation who had fought and some who had fallen in the war. She read the names. She shared of her own experience of Remembrance Day growing up in BC Interior and asked others to share of their experience of those who’d been in war.  Some did.  In her sermon she spoke of the women and orphans and the call to Christians to care for the widows and orphans.
I felt at home as she spoke of love.  I felt the living water of Christian spirituality wash over me.  Grace.   I enjoyed the Prayers of the people. During the service Laura pointed up as we heard the planes flying over as part of the Remembrance Day fly overs.  I thought of my RCAF father and mom and all the air shows we attended as children. My neighbour Mack who had attended the Langley Remembrance Day service would name off the old war planes that had participated. I told him Laura and I had heard them in church.
The piano was vibrant.. I loved the hymn ‘Come and Fill Our Hearts.’I was sorry we arrived late as the first hymn’ Be Thou My Vision’ is one of my all time favourites. Seeing it chosen gave me the sense I really was in the right place that morning. 
Gilbert loves the Peace when everyone greets each other individually. A little girl clapped her hands and greeted him.  He was also able to get enough leash to sniff the reverends dog.   Laura and I smiled and shook hands with all the fine and welcoming people.  
Eucarist.  Communion. Breaking of bread.  Partaking of the Blood and Body of Jesus. Finally the Sending out.  Reverend Smith, said “Go forth in peace and love, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.’ And we all said, “Thanks Be to God”. 
There was coffee after and I was tempted but with a cold and feeling tired I was glad when Laura said another time as we had to get home today.  
Such was another great Sunday service.  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Wolves - Pacific Theatre Play -Oct. 19-Nov. 10

The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe was a fantastic play about a college girls soccer team.  Incredibly intimate writing, I was reminded of the Quilters.  Sometimes I was taken back to teen years eves dropping outside the girls’ locker room. Not really getting half the nuances.
 My friend Laura said, “the estrogen of all those young women was overpowering. I was timid and shy as a girl and the atheistic women with all their energy kind of frightened me at times.”
 It was the energy, a  brilliantly crafted play.  The choreography of running and warm up and passing ball and  dialogue between stretches a masterpiece of art.   A powerful drama driven by exercise and relationship.  
I loved the transformation of the girls as they moved from reserve  to friendships to a team.  There was  a whole array and depth  of emotions  sparked with silences.  
Director Jamie King got the timing and pathos perfectly.  So much going on.  I was riveted. 100 minutes and no intermission. An emotional roller coaster of ideas and theatre.   The spell wasn’t broken once.  Magical.   The final darkness and  audience bursting with applause.  Now that’s theater. 
Nicole Weissmiller, the lighting designer, got it just right.   I felt I was in a foot ball stadium the whole time. The green Astro turf glistened.  
Danielle Klaudt and Paige Louter were the producers.   Victoria Snashall did an awesome job as stage manager.  
The costumes were simple but more than met the eye.. The beautiful girls despite the sexual content of some conversations never were ‘sexy’ thanks to the clunky school sports uniforms.  Throughout they were team mates,  sisters,  daughters.  So much depended on the costumes.   Matthew Macdonald-Bain did sound.  Again it was just right, perfectly in sync with the emotion.  Everything came together to maintain this amazing surging flow.
Kim Larson, Amanda Sum, Danielle Kaludt, Georgia Beaty, Jalen Saip, Ali Watson, Montserrat Videla. Shona Struthers and Paige Louter were the actresses. The Wolves.  The young women.  The Team. Each was distinct , endearing and an incredible character.  I loved them all. Tania Dixon Warren the soccer mom was amazing.


Thank you Pacific Theater and Rumble Theatre for an unforgettable play.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

New Day

Thank you God for this new day
Unblemished, unused, a blank slate
Let me colour it with love
Celebrate it with friendship and peace
Shout out it’s very being 
And say thank you all the way to nightfall.

Thank you, Thank you, Thnk you.

God I would know you more.
Jesus, servant king, may I wash your feet
Serve you as you serve me.
Let me always be aware of grace and sing the sacred
Open my eyes to the mystery and show me the true way.
Guide me in all my endeavours.
Make life an adventure rather than a chore.

Change my attitude and change my thoughts
Mould me and touch my soul
Holy Spirit come.
Help me help others
All glory is yours Lord.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Monday, November 5, 2018

Pemberton November Hunting Weekend

If I didn’t say we were hunting, this would have been a truly idyllic fun weekend.  Hunting weekends are only the ‘best’ when you shoot some game. I didn’t see or shoot anything alive. I did have a great time shooting a perfect little pattern on a hundred yard target with the Winchester 300 Short win mag.  It makes a big boom even with my ear protection on.

Laura and I left Friday afternoon from Vancouver driving my F350 white Ford pick up with the crew cab full of gear. I really didn’t need the chain saw.    Gilbert, the intrepid blind cockapoo sat on the front seat  between Laura and me.  We listened to an audio tape on the way  up the glorious Sea to Sky Highway.  Sunshine and great views of Howe Sound.  Blue sky and wonderful cloud formations.  

 In Britannia  we stopped at Mountain Woman’s fish and chips. I love her fish and chips.  A rainbow greeted us there pointing us north. Again we said we’d have to take the Britannia mine tour. Everyone says how they love it.  One of these years.

On ward and upward,  we passed  Whistler and Blackomb before arriving a half hour or so later in Pemberton where the really cool kids go.  

I’d made reservations at the incredible Pemberton Valley Lodge. It was as terrific as it’s always been. I’ve been coming up for decades.  Gilbert first came here when he was only a few months old more than 8 years ago.  More than a decade back Laura and I came through a couple of times on the Harley Roadster .   Vancouver to Pemeber on the  Sea To Sky Highway then Duffy Lake Road to Lillooet then down the  Coquahalla back to Vancouver is one of the greatest circle routes passing through some of best views and terrains BC has to offer.  When my parents first came out to visit me in the 80’s thats’ the 3 day trip I took them on.  Later I loved it best on motorcycle.    

At the Pemberton Valley Lodge I have always loved the underground parking for motorcycles, cars and trucks. They even have bikes for guests.  The rooms are spacious but cozy, the decor,  elegant. The service is the finest. I love the hot tub and pool and the snow capped mountain views.   with some They even showcase great local art. 

 My favourites 5 star elegant country places near Vancouver are Chateau Whistler, the Harrison Hotspring and Spa, , the Princeton Castle and Pemberton Valley Lodge.  “I love it here, “ Laura exclaimed as she settled down on the comfy couch. 

I headed out to the woods for the night hunt finding a perfect moosey area up the Duffy Lake Road in hunting zone 3 where spike fork were legal.  In zone 2 where Pemberton is moose are off the books but instead of the 4 point buck requirement of zone 3, any buck is fair game.  That evening I was hoping for a moose and enjoyed an hour and half hike and stalk, Tai Chiing along the back wood trails ,remembering times I’d thus creeped up on elk and deer getting within a hands reach, startling them something fierce when I said “boo”. But no moose, no bear, and no 4 point buck was out this evening..  But a  truly serene and beautiful evening in the forest it was. .  The air was sweet and after a hectic work week I found a touch of peace and even a moment of joy.  

On the way home, I picked up some great Back Country Pizza, a must when in Pemberton. I also stopped at the fabulous Pemberton Valley Supermarket. By the available selection you can tell Pemberton is an upscale tourist destination. They had my favourite lime drinks and Laura’s favourite herb triscuits. They even had Hagen Daz Ice Cream.

Laura doesn’t mind when I don’t return with a dead animal just so long as I bring her something to eat. So she was happy.  Gilbert got meat bit treats off the pizza.  Laura and I watched Hawaii 5 0 and NCIS  on the big screen cable tv.     I swallowed several Robaxisal tablets.  Binge exercise after a week of desk life upsets my body causing it to groan.

I woke to the alarm in the dark.  I dressed warm  for hunting.  Hauling rifles and ammo back to the truck I enjoyed looking up through the layer of clouds. In a break I saw a few remaining stars. . Fog was low as well.  All day it would drizzle.  I stopped at the MacDonalds in the gas station.  It was still dark as I drove up the valley munching on egg mcsausage and hash browns.  I had a thermos full of the best MacDonalds coffee.  I stopped to take a couple of pictures of the spectacular fog.  Then it was pot hole road slow driving.  Still dark.  I headed up to Gold River. 

In the snow and sleet and ice only a couple of years ago without traction I’d been unable to ascend  I’d stopped and tried to get the winch out only to have the cable break, I was with Tom and the truck was without the emergency brake for a moment,  beginning to slide back down the mountain angling  towards the shear cliff. Without thinking, I ran after it, pulled the door open and jumped in the cab, slamming on the emergency brake. It held.  Then with Tom’s help I backed it down the hill with one half the tires in the mountain side ditch and the other on the icy road.  Scarey stuff. This day it was  absolutely innocuous by comparison.

At the top I passed where Laura and I another year had begun to slide off this road because of ice, choosing to turn around rather than going through. .  Not a place to go off the road. I’ve shot deer up here though. I’ve seen bear.   I remembered lying in a sleeping bag with a beautiful young nurse waiting for dawn light to come up to hunt.    I shot blue grouse up here too.  Another time I tracked deer  in the snow along the ridge all day climbing and hiking.  Now I’m older and  stay close to the truck.   I’ve done my years of packing out game on back boards.

The area around Gold Bridge really is moosey. Great swamps and old forest.  This day, despite my waiting,  no moose appeared. .  No grouse either. I did get some pictures of Gold Bridges and the environs, I liked . The water is unforgettably blue there. 

With the morning gone and me hardly able to walk because of the binge of exercise Friday night I was glad to get back to town.  I dropped off my guns and picked up Laura and Gilbert. They’d been taking walks around the Lodge. Theres’ a great trail along the river that goes for miles and a perfect dog place with poop bag dispenser.  In the room they had a water bowl and food bowl for Gilbert along with treats and a great pillow bed he loved. 

I needed new jeans. I’d ripped the crotch in my old ones doing the splits  jumping across a stream. I feel fat. It’s unfair. I am fat.  

Pemberton General Store is one of those really really really incredible places. It has everything in no particular order.  I’ve bought many things there over the years as it caters to all the Pemberton crowd.  Great men’s work wear. Lots of Stan field long Johns. Leather goods. Pemberton Valley is a famous farming valley reknowned for the tasty Pemberton potatoes.  It’s also very equestrian with rodeo and western horse riding throughout. So the clothing is the real thing.  

I used to come up to Pemberton for riding in Mount Currie.  I ’d done Man from Snowy River down a mountainside following my friend, Wayne Andrews, the former world champion  aboriginal  rodeo rider,  A truly wise and great man.  

The Pemberton General Store caters to the riding community, the farming community, the work community, the cyclists, the motorcyclists, the hikers and climbers and passing through tourists.  The  very best of cowboy boots and ladies boots.  Lots of Millworks brand.  Also ‘tourist’ stuff, toys, and trinkets and kids stuff and kind of a western store in the mixed up Asian market ordering system.  

I found the perfect wool pants with a tear proof crotch and some waist room.  I’ve been looking for slip on boots for riding  my KTM 690 enduro and sure enough I found just right Australian boots . Laura loved the ladies boots,  a short version of the tall lace up boots I bought her in Milan. “Now I’ve bought you boots in Milan , New York and Pemberton.”  I said. Laura loves her boots and shoes.

Back at the lodge I loved the hot tub and more Robaxisal.  Somehow I dragged my weariness out to the truck with my rifle.  I drove back up the valley to a logging road that thankfully became too iffy with washouts for my beloved truck.  I turned around and headed for the Pemberton Valley Supermarket.  “I shot a barbecued chicken in the supermarket but have to pay for the rotisserie” I told Laura. I had potato and bean salad and fresh buns.  A feast. Lime drinks and Hagen daz ice cream bars.  Too decadent.  Death in Paradise on TV. . A late night hot tub and a great night early to bed.  Silly day light savings was about to begin.  I’d decided against a morning hunt. Gilbert woke at the same time.  So had a wake up hot tub experience and swam a dozen laps before Keurig coffee.  

We thanked the perfect staff.  “They’re so European, “ Laura said, “Not a bit intrusive,  always friendly and  always ready to be helpful.”  We both remarked on how quiet our rooms were, the sound proofing such we never heard anyone in halls though we’d meets guest coming and going in the lobby.  

The Sea to Sky Highway was particularly beautiful coming home.   Howe Sound was perfectly flat, more like a skating rink than the ocean. . I’d sailed it in all conditions and loved motor sailing  under auto pilot on days like this. “I remember when I was learning heaving too and would come out in Howe Sound when it was blowing 40 and 50 knots to test this weird sail arrangement ,” I reminisced with Laura.  I found  that true enough I held my own in the high winds though when I was actually faced with hurricane winds I chose bare poles. When I could I ran ahead of the hurricane so I could hide up the Columbia River another time. 

Lots of good memories along the coast. Black diamond skiing Whistler.  Wreck Scuba Diving Porteau Cove  All the motorcycle trips up to Squamish and back. 

It was only early afternoon when we arrived  home  in Vancouver.  Laura loaded up her Smart Car and headed back to the West End.  I left Gilbert to snooze after his adventure and hopped on the KTM for a spin around New Westminster.  Sunny days are to be cherished now before the rainy season descends completely .

A perfect weekend.  Great company.  Great lodge. Swimming. Hot tub. Hiking and 4x 4 ing. Great photography opportunities.  I loved target practicing. Then hiking and meditating in the woods.  Great tv. and great pizza. Great shopping.  A perfect weekend.  

Who was hunting? Not me.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Pemberton Valley Lodge, Pemberton BC

We love Pemberton Valley Lodge.  I’ve been coming here for decades and the experience just gets better.  In luxury getaway’s near Vancouver it’s comparisons are Harrison’s Hot Springs, Whistler Chateau and the Castle in Princeton.  They are all 5 star resorts but this one is special in it’s own right. It’s old school. Elegant in an underspoken way. The designer and interior decorator need a medal for the colours and designs and thoughtful touches. I loved the pictures, paintings and photographs of local wonder.  

The mountain view is simply dazzling.  Because this  valley famous for it’s potatoes and agriculture  opens up so wide and long beyond the mountains never  seem claustrophobic the way they do sometimes in Banff..  Here they’re an amazingly beautiful  back drop.  Sitting in the hot tub or outdoors on the deck at the back of the lodge the mountain view is pristine.  It helps that the nearby condo community housing  are all painted in  Swiss beige and red, blending in with the local environment in a way Frank Lloyd Wright would approve. I always feel so close to nature here. 

The hot tub is to die for.  The pool long enough to do laps and feel good.  I love the river walk out back.  The dog loves it too.  The wide trail goes for miles. Beside the resort is a special dog walk with thoughtful dispensers and a handy garbage.  In the room the dog friendly resort has a big pillow bed that Gilbert loved. There were also treats for him and water and food dishes.  All the staff acknowledged him too greeting him as they greeted us when ever we passed taking him out for walks..

The staff are the best.  Always smiling and friendly like a local version of the Best Marigold Hotel without the chickens but all the welcome.  They have this wonderful European manner about about them. Even the cleaning staff are happy and friendly and thorough. 

Everything is clean. Our kitchenette suite with Keurig coffee and granite counter, full fridge and stove had both Laura  and I exclaiming how we could live here.There a washer and drier in the closet. I like the safe’s that are now in all the best hotels.  I’ve just never felt the need to use this one here.   The door way onto our own balcony was just so perfect.  It’s all so comfortable.   

I’ve stayed in the rooms without the dining area and loved their size.  Over the years I’ve brought a couple of guys up here during hunting season and they’ve been impressed.  I’ve never used the work out room with the various machines but one guy did.  This year I liked seeing the guest bicycles in the underground parking.  The main town is about a half mile away so I thought this a great idea I might partake in one visit. 

The resort is certainly a place one could come and just luxuriate like we do at Harrisons.  There are two outdoor hot springs I’ve certainly enjoyed in the vicinity.  Pemberton Valley is renowned for it’s hiking, horseback riding, mountain climbing, birding, animal watching, fishing and hunting. 

For years I used to come up to Mount Currie to trail ride with Wayne Andrews , the former World Champion Aboriginal Rodeo Rider.  I actually did Man from Snowy River down a mountainside with Wayne.  That was the same year Waye taught me bareback riding and I actually swam a stream holding onto the horses main.  Night riding in Pemberton Valley is an unforgettable dream experience beneath the glorious billion star sky surrounded by snow capped mountains.  Now the valley is full of horses and multiple equestrian ranches .  A couple of outdoor schools operate here teaching survival skills, wilderness lore, woods craft, rapelling and the such. I’ve loved canoeing on the lacks and rivers.  The Mount Currie native crafts and lore are reknwned. Everywhere there are great little local restaurants, one actually specializing in Thai.  I like that there’s a Macdonald’s with it’s morning McMuffin a short walk across the parking lot outside the Lodge. 

Some of Laura and my favourite visits here were the times we came up on my Harley Roadster Motorcycle before Gilbert, a decade back. The Duffy Lake Road is internationally renowned among cyclists and motorcyclists. The circle route is to leave Vancouver coming up the Canyon to Lillooet, doing the Duffy Lake Road, with all it’s winding glory then stopping at Pemberton Valley Lodge for the hot tub and elegance. One of the  times we’d done that and arrived here there were at least a half dozen other big motorcycles in the locked basement garage, a couple of Victories, a big BMW and a Gold Wing. The ride down to Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway is the other best motorcycle ride, one I’ve enjoyed time and time again.  My colleague Dr. Horvath does it on bicycle and insists its’ enjoyable.  I can’t imagine how it would be but Pemberton Valley is alive with cyclists these day.

I like the 4x4 trails and am looking forward to getting up here in summer with my KTM 690 enduro motorcycle and a fishing rod.  I’ll never forget eating trout smoked and cooked over a fire on the shore of the  Birkenhead.  I used to downhill ski Whistler for decades till the downtown Los Angeles crowds and chair lifts  palled and I found I preferred cross country skiing and snow shoeing. That’s definitely what’s available here and I ve said for several years how I mean to get up here for just that.  Laura and I brought Gilbert here when he was only a few months old and he has liked snow showing with use, riding on the backs of our snow shoes.  I’d like a ski doo. This is ski doo territory.  I used to love ski doing when I did my northern fly in doctor days but have never had the place to store a ski doo yet a rental would be the answer.  The whole mountain scene is another world when you’re dressed for it cozy and warm and can come back to a perfect place for a hot chocolate.  We loved curling up on the couch last night  and watch a Disney movie on the wide screen tv eating  delicious pizza from Back Country Pizza.  

That’s what Laura and I did this weekend but it would be a good winter retreat given that the Sea to Sky Highway is so well kept since it was improved for the Games.  It’s only a half hour or so beyond Whistler but a whole other era of peace and friendliness. 

I’m very thankful to Pemberton Valley Lodge.  Years of reliable romantic elegant cozy friendly clean hospitality.  I love Pemberton Valley too and the people here are the best.