Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tim Hortons

Yesterday I walked the 3.4 KM return trip on the seawalk to Tim Hortons with no (very little) trouble. Made it there easy, sat and had a coffee and muffin, and headed back. I passed a bench and sat for a minute enjoying the view, continued on and about 200 feet from my house experienced the beginnings of a leg cramp. Hmmm, what's that all about?


Friday, July 6, 2018

My Exercise Regimine

Aside from one day it was raining too hard, I have been walking the 1.3 KM return trip to the mailbox every mail day (5 days a week) Since June 15. I have to admit the first day was more of a struggle than I like to admit as I had trouble walking a straight line and actually sat down on a park bench half way back home.

Now, I am blasting through it with no problem, am walking straight with a good pace and feel no need to rest part way. It is a revelation!

I am now wondering how I can increase my distance. There is a seaside park a bit further along so today I just might continue right past the mailbox and try for the park. Google maps says it is a 15 minute walk each way for a 2.4 KM return trip. Man, I am getting healthy, I wonder how much I weigh?

Oops, they are calling for rain this afternoon. It may or may not show up. If it is not raining I will head out with my phone so I can call for a ride back if needed. What's a little rain?

Edit: I corrected the mileage. A little problem with Google Maps.

Image result for singing in the rain

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Supporting The Evil Empire

It is with heavy hearts that we are watching the inhumanity that is going on in the USA lately. Concentration camps for children being set up at the southern US border, school children being slaughtered in their schools, idiots with "MAGA" hats on running around with guns. The First Lady sporting a Nazi Stormtrooper slogan on her jacket.

No one is safe from the tyranny. Today it is brown skinned people, Muslim or Hispanic, tomorrow it could be another color or race. Norwegians may be on some future list in the mind of a madman. Or English people. It is unpredictable and there seems to be no effective opposition to the current President.

Are we going to spend our hard earned money in the USA next winter? Not likely. We have to make a statement that what is going on down there is simply unacceptable and cannot be supported. We enjoyed our winters down there and have made friends with many individual Americans. It is not these individual Americans we have a problem with but is the leadership of their country. I know the $20K or so that we spend down there every year is just a drop in their bucket but we have to make a statement, no matter how small.

I don't know what the solution is. Many friends and our son say we should just fly somewhere in Mexico or Central America and rent a house for a few months. That has it's appeal but is not the way we like to travel, we like being able to move around and we like having all our "stuff" with us. Another possibility is to just hold our noses and drive directly through the USA, boondocking as we go spending money only on gas. We could be in Mexico in four or five days. The return home in April would be the same and would limit our exposure to the Death Star that is today's USA. Of course by then they may have concentration camps on their northern border.

The discussion will continue.

In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, stand in line at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)

Friday, June 29, 2018

We Cancelled!

We had reservations at the Cluxewe Resort near Port McNeil, BC for next week. We had been looking forward to it and had plans to meet up with our friends Ken and Kris from Port Hardy. It was going to be a fun week relaxing on the water and a trip to their son in law's restaurant in Port Hardy.

However the weather has been looking worse and worse for next week and the final check this morning showed pretty constant rain with only a couple of days of no rain but cloud. It was also going to be on the cool side. Bottom line, we would be spending most of our time inside watching TV, if we could even hook up to the satellite from the well treed site.

So we bit the bullet and cancelled. We will lose our $32 deposit but that is just the way it goes. It was not going to be as much fun as we were hoping for. We will save the $200 in gas and the $150 we owed the park for the rest of the week. We will do it when the weather is better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Wildlife!

Here I was, lazing in bed this morning at about 7:45 when I heard Norma outside yelling,"Goddammit, get out of here!". Hoping she wasn't talking to me, I peeked out the window to see her disappear around the side of the house. "What is it?" asked I, having an inkling of what the answer would be. "Deer in the yard" was the answer.

I quickly got dressed and went out to help with the wrangling. She had chased the two of them into the southwest corner of the lot where they could do no damage but also where it was steep, muddy and very hard for me to get to. Nothing to eat there but bush and grass, no flowers. We opened the gate and made our plans. I threw rocks behind them to get them moving towards the far side of the house and Norma followed to keep them moving while I positioned myself to keep them from circling the house again, a game they delight in. It worked! They went out the gate and down the driveway.

It does not appear they have done any harm to Norma's precious flowers or freshly planted tomatoes. We don't think they had been in the yard long but we have no idea where they got in! I will have to try to get up the bank and inspect the fence line. It is not an easy task!

EAGLE!

While I was back there checking out what I could see of the fence from the walkway, I heard an eagle squawk! It sounded close and when I looked up, there it was in the tree above me right behind the house! It was  a beautiful yearling, not yet with the white head feathers marking an adult. I went in to grab my camera and it was still there when I returned! Luckily I got a shot from the back because when I walked around the house to try from the front, she/he flew away.

EDIT:

We found the breech! It was in the rolling gate which is made up of a steel pipe frame with horizontal rows of tightly stretched stainless steel wire spaced one foot apart at the top and six inches apart at the bottom. The deer got his nose between two wires and just pushed his way through, stretching and displacing the wire. His brother/sister then followed. It must have hurt!


Thursday, June 21, 2018

"I Really Don't Care, Do U"

This is one of the children the government seized from her parents and now cannot or will not produce. This is not the Man Of The Year cover he wanted. Or maybe it is.


This is the jacket Melania chose to wear when she left to visit one of the border concentration camps for a photo op..


Or maybe it is the slogan itself

Image may contain: text

Monday, June 18, 2018

My Mailbox Walk

Here is the walk to the mailbox and back.

Down the driveway

Across the crosswalk 
And down the path past the eagle carving


A bit of the beach. There are often eagles in those trees!

Hydration for dogs provided, I had my own water. 

The Husky station where Rae worked the winter she was here. 

The boat ramp and fish cleaning station. Honour system payment. 

Time for some water. It is around 80 degrees! 

The old Shell station where Brooks once worked (and was robbed).  Now a restaurant.

The Fogg Dukker Coffee Shop on the beach. Should I stop for an espresso? No, too hot. 

Finally, the mail box! 0.6 KM  No crosswalk from the walking path over to the mailboxes. Time for some political action!

I will walk back on this side of the road. Not too busy and this is marked as a bike lane. 

The Husky station again.$1.46 per litre. See how much I saved by walking? 

Liquor Store and vacation rentals. $300 per night, three nights minimum! Don't worry, we won't make you stay there! 

Back home! Up the driveway and it will be 1.2 KM!



Friday, June 15, 2018

It's Only A Kilometer... Right?

I am not the model of physical fitness. I am not proud to admit that and when the doctor asks me if I get exercise I answer somewhat evasively that we get lots of walking in in Mexico. Which we do, or at least did. We have not been there in three years and do not get the same exercise in the USA or at home. We are far enough from everything important that we tend to drive instead of walk.

We keep meaning to fix this. We talk about it all the time. We just don't actually do it. I have to go in for a cardio stress test in a month or so and I want to be able to walk at least a few steps without collapsing. OK, it's not THAT bad but still...

The community mailbox is located down the highway a bit and there is a beautiful taxpayer funded walkway all along the waterfront to it. Right across the highway from the mailbox is the Fogg Dukkers Coffee Shop on the beach. What a perfect reward for walking to the mail instead of driving! I drove past there and measured the distance. It is a half a kilometre each way. One kilometre in total. It's not going to kill me. EDIT: Google Maps is kind to me and says it is 0.6 KM each way. That makes it 1.2 KM total!

We walked down there yesterday and rewarded ourselves with an Americano espresso, sitting in some chairs beside a beach fire in a big tire rim that appears to be burning all the time. It was very nice.

Today Norma was busy doing whatever around the house so I walked down myself, cell phone handy in my pocket in case I decided I wanted a ride back. No problem, it was much faster and more effortless than yesterday. In fact I skipped the reward of an espresso.

I am on my way to fitness!

Image result for fogg dukkers coffee

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Windows 1803 Update

Called the "April Update", this update seems to be causing problems everywhere! My Acer desktop tried downloading and installing it at least three times and failed every time. My final solution was to reinstall Windows 10 and that seems to work although the computer failed to restart properly a few times after that.

My Lenovo netbook with the tiny 32 GB hard drive was next. It told me it had no room on the drive so I directed the download to the SD card that serves as storage. It attempted the process using this card but failed four times. I finally stuck an empty 16 GB memory stick in it and tried again last night. It downloaded but got stuck on the install process and just sat there for a couple of hours with the spinning wheel and a notice telling me it could take a while and to not turn off the power. Progress showed as 0%. Well, sit there it did! I checked it before I went to bed and it had progressed up to 2% so something was happening! When I got up this morning it had completed!

Now I have to try to update my old Toshiba laptop that started out as a Windows 7 or maybe 8.1 machine and has updated to Windows 10. But first, I need a coffee!

EDIT! The Toshiba updated with no problem and now seems even a little faster.

Image result for windows 10 update meme

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Robert Francis Kennedy. 1925 - 1968



I remember when it happened. He was killed late on a Wednesday night and I did not hear about it until the next morning as I was driving to work and had to pull over to absorb the news. It was a shock to me following so closely after the twin tragedies of President Kennedy's assignation and Martin Luther King's execution. I was not prepared for it, I thought the USA was on the road to recovery, that everything bad that could happen had already happened and then suddenly it was not OK any more, something else inconceivably bad had happened. And then only two years later the students were murdered by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University. Recovery would not come quickly.

Conspiracy theories fly and not without good reason. At least thirteen shots were recorded on tape, more than the eight bullets held by Sirhan Sirhan's gun and there are many photos showing Sirhan standing in front of Kennedy while the killing shot was to the back of Kennedy's head. "They" do not want us to know the truth of what actually happened so probably we never will, at least not in our lifetimes.

"Is everybody OK?"

Rfk assassination.jpg



"Kennedy's approach to national problems did not fit neatly into the idealogical categories of his time...His was a muscular liberalism, committed to an activist federal government but deeply suspicious of concentrated power and certain that fundamental change would best be achieved at the community level, insistent on responsibilities as well as rights, and convinced that the dynamism of capitalism could be the impetus for broadening national growth."
Edwin O. Guthman and C. Richard Allen, 1993

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Windows 10 Mini Crisis

My desktop computer started acting up recently. It wanted to update but refused to install the update when I restarted. I restarted it many times but nothing happened, it just kept asking for a restart. I Googled the problem and got a bunch of suggestions for an "easy" fix, none of which worked.

I dug a little deeper and decided to reinstall Windows 10 but leaving all my personal files and settings intact. If this does not work I will do a totally new install from scratch and then reload all my programs. I hate doing this so I have my fingers crossed.

So far, so good. I am using it right now and it updated and working fine! Hope for the best!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Seabreeze

Another reason to visit Campbell River!



I have been wanting to visit the Seabreeze Food Truck for weeks now but every time I suggested it Norma was too busy, too dirty. too tired or some combination of all three. This afternoon it was her who suggested it!



It is situated down on "The Spit" and has actually been there for a few years. They specialize in hamburgers and fish and chips. Norma had a burger and even though the halibut burger looked tempting, I went for my standby, halibut fish and chips.


Was it as good as Dick's? Well it was a bit different that Dicks where the fish is battered while this was coated in a crisp "breading". It was very good, at least as good as Dick's and maybe even better! The fact that the Seabreeze has outside seating which Dick's no longer has and that it has a sea view may just push it over the top! Norma's bacon (hold the cheese) burger was, according to her, very good. The woman told her she would not be able to eat all of it and she was right, She brought 3/5 of it home. I at all my fish (two large halibut slices) but brought home half my fries and the coleslaw.

A very good "linner"! $16 for the burger and $18 for the two piece fish and chips. We split a bottle of water.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Alberta Oil Shortage

Who says we need Alberta oil to keep RVing?


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Linguine With Red Clam Sauce

One of my most memorable meals was Linguine with Red Clam Sauce. It was many, many years ago, decades actually and I have no memory of where it was. My memory includes a gangster era dark, wood paneled restaurant with small candle lit tables with red checkered tablecloth. The red wine flowed and the jazz singer crooned!

I thought we had found an ideal spot in Vegas last year. The Bootlegger is a Vegas favorite that was favorably reviewed by CNN's Anthony Bourdain.  It had the requisite sultry jazz singer but the restaurant turned out to be over-lit and the tables were outfitted with white tablecloths. The paneling on the walls was not the dark shade I wanted. The food and service was "pretty good" but not good enough to replace my old memories of that long ago great meal. The Vegas meal included a glass of wine each and a coffee and liqueur after. The bill was $128 Canadian!

Tonight I found a recipe for this Red Clam Sauce and discovered I had all the required ingredients on hand. The recipe feeds six and there was only me as Norma hates garlic and I refused to leave it out. There will be plenty of leftovers.

It turned out to be delicious. Not too garlicky, not too tomatoy, just about perfect. I even had french bread to go with it. The total cost was well under ten dollars, a much better deal. No sultry jazz singer but I guess we must make the occasional sacrifice!


Thanks Mastercard!

I received notification this morning that a charge of $175 had been made against my Mastercard. This is a backup card that has not been used in some time so I called mastercard. They asked if I had been using an online gambling site with my credit card. I told them no, I certainly had not! They said their computer had noticed the unusual transaction and had refused it. Good deal!

The amount never appeared on my account and they have now cancelled the card and will send a replacement. They are looking after me.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Lots Of Nothin'

We have been doing a lot of nothing or at least not very much, lately. The weather is so much better, short pants and t-shirt temperatures. Norma and her friend Kelly have been busy in the flower gardens and the new lawn cutting service has the horsetails on the back bank under control. Flowers are starting to peek up from the dirt.

I have been struggling with a bad back and was pretty much flat on my back for a couple of days but I am feeling much better now, maybe 80% back to normal. If it had not improved by today I was going to go to the chiropractor.

I have been fighting with one of our Garmin GPS units that was due for a map update. It informed me that the 4 GB micro SD card I had in it was too small and had to be formatted before the new maps could be loaded. I told it to go ahead and format it but it said it could not (?). I went down to London Drugs and bought a new card but the Garmin could not find the card (!) I then tried to format the original card using the computer but again, it refused, I guess the card is shot, the computer seems unable to determine the size of the 4 GB card. I eventually found an old 32 GB micro SD card I bought on eBay some time ago, formatted it in the computer and put it in the Garmin. The new maps downloaded and installed! Success! We now have two updated GPS units.

I am getting ready to Game 2 of the second round Winnipeg Jets hockey game tonight. They did really great against the new Las Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night so I am hoping they can persevere again tonight. Anyhow, that is my evening planned!




Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Expenses, Last Winter vs This Winter

Around this time of year I usually do a cost breakdown of our winter's travels. We did not travel this winter so I thought it might be valuable to explore the difference in costs staying home vs traveling.

It is a big difference.

First, one of our biggest costs last winter was my dental work in Mexico ($6,500) and I will take that out of the equation.

So the bottom line is, after taking out the dental expenses, we saved around $16.250 by staying home! The dates I used were November 1 to April 30.(6 months).

The big expenses we had last winter that we did not have this year were:

Medical insurance       $4,300
Motorhome Fuel          $2,000
Motorhome insurance  $700
Dining out                    $1.600 last year and only $220 this year
Groceries                      $4,700 last year and $3,400 this year
RV Park Fees               $3,500
Ferries                          $700
Hotels                           $300

RV, dolly, vehicle repairs  were $4,500 I excluded this in my calculations  It was an unusually expensive year in this category.

RV park fees were kept low because we got long term rates in Mesa, AZ.

There were lots of other minor expenses but these are the biggies. "Groceries" in the US includes booze. In Canada it is separate and I hardly buy any in Canada (still have left-overs from the US).

We have pretty much been hermits this winter and hardly went out for dinner at all.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Surprise Visit!

We had a couple of surprise visits from our niece Robin a few days ago! She lives in Alberta and was out here in BC to visit her uncle on her dad's side (me) and her aunt on her mother's side in Comox. It was great to see her as Robin and I have always had a close relationship.

We spent a few hours catching up on our lives and family and on Thursday night the whole group met down the beach at the Driftwood Cafe for dinner. It was a beautiful evening and a fun time was had!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cardioversion!

Today Was The Day!
Cardioversion - done
A Fib - gone
Heartbeat - normal
The process started at 7:30 AM and took only a few minutes. I am home and feeling great. I can't drive for 24 hours as I am legally impaired but other than that, I am done! 

I had a really good nurse who stayed with me right through the procedure. He answered all my questions. Does this always work? He said stats say no but he personally has never been involved in one that failed. He said Doctor Dhansay is very good. The nurse stuck the electrodes on early as perfect contact is important. He wrote himself a reminder to remove them while I was still "out" as it hurts to remove them. He said I might have two burns (front and back) from the electrodes but there were none so the contact must have been good.


He told me if the first shock does not work they will probably give me one more at a higher voltage. Some doctors will keep going for several shocks but my doctor normally stops after two. They only had to give me one before my heart fell into "normal" rhythm. That was it. The nurse told me that when they shocked me I bounced on the bed and my heart fell into normal rhythm but I was not breathing which is not optimal. The anesthesiologist tipped my head back to open my airway and I quickly started breathing on my own. Everyone except me knew what they were doing! Thankfully!
 I had to lay there with the monitors attached for one hour and then for one more hour under observation. Another cardio technician gave me an ECG and then they let me go. The specialist wants to see me in about two weeks.
He gave me a coffee soon after I woke up and refilled it when I asked. In hindsight I thought that a little strange but maybe they wanted the stimulation.

Anyway, I feel great!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Changed Title of Blog

I changed the title of the Blog by removing the term "Mexico". It has been three years since we have been down there so it seemed appropriate to do this. It makes no difference to readers, the Internet address remains the same, only the title you see when you get here has changed.

Like Trump is so fond of saying, "We'll see how it goes".

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Made Norma's Day!

Made Norma's Day!
Norma was at the local Husky / Mohawk station yesterday paying at the till when another customer came in to pay. The gentleman, about her age (mid 70's), looked at her and asked, "Would you go out for dinner with me tonight?" She said, "No, but thank you SO much for asking!" The clerk told her he was a regular customer and had recently moved here from Newfoundland.
She is quite pleased with herself! "Well, I still must look pretty good"!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Making Plans

We are going a little stir crazy here. The weather has been cold and wet for months and we are hardly ever out of the house. Our friends Ken and Kris have booked space in the Cluxewe Resort and RV Park on north Vancouver Island near Port McNeil for later on in the summer and we have decided to join them. We called and booked a waterfront site for a week starting July 2.

During my work life I have spent a lot of time on north Vancouver Island and actually lived in Pt. McNeil's Dalewood Inn for several months back in the early 70's. It will be fun to go back to see it!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

CPAP Sleep Apnea Test

For some reason my doctor became concerned I might have sleep apnea. I must have answered a question like, "Are you feeling tired lately". wrong. I said, no I didn't have it but he said sometimes you can have it and not know. He thinks sleep apnea is associated with the A Fib they are going to shock me out of in a few days. Anyway, he ordered a test and yesterday the equipment arrived by courier from the sleep centre in Courtenay.

I know I don't have it and Norma says the same thing. She worked with a guy who did and I display none of the same symptoms. I sleep well, don't or seldom snore, don't wake up in the night gasping for air and wake up refreshed. So I don't have it, I used the equipment anyway.

Well, it probably made it look like I have it! I hardly slept, waking up several times in the night and woke up for the day at about 6:00!

The test consists of a controller that straps to your chest, two tubed that go up your nose and a rubber device that goes on a finger to register blood oxygen content.

It is uncomfortable and has lights that blink all night. The thing on your nose has to be taped to your cheeks and the finger device is tight. It took ne at least an hour to get to sleep and Norma says I was tossing and turning all night as I tried to turn on my side but the wires and hoses would not let me.

I finally took it off at about seven, called the courier this morning and it is on it's way back. They will analyse the recordings and notify my doctor. We have decided no matter what they report, I am going to insist I do not have sleep apnea. Because I don't.

Imagine trying to do a "normal" night's sleep with this!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Still Cold And Wet!

It is still winter here on Vancouver Island. It has rained almost every day with no sign of letting up soon.  The drainage on the bank behind us held up well over the winter although we have been told this is one of the mildest winters we have had in the past few years. It was almost warm enough to have morning coffee on the new porch the other day so we are hoping things will soon improve.

We got a notice in the mail telling us that the shoreline in front of our property would be worked on over the next few years to prepare for rising sea levels. Our house will be OK but it is the seawall and road we are concerned about. Right now in a big storm accompanied with a high tide and south east winds, waves and driftwood can wash onto and even across  the highway to the foot of our driveway. I am very curious to see what work they will be doing. Do they intend to raise the highway?

We lost our lawn mowers, they have moved on to other endeavors. We called around to a few places and found one we are going to give a try. They say they cut 400 lawns a month and I neglected to ask how many crews they had. The cost will be a little higher than last year but I guess that is to be expected. The previous guys wanted to be paid in cash every time they cut but the new outfit will email us an invoice every month with a link to pay them with a credit card.

Our taxes are done for the year, thanks to Turbo Tax. Our total is just over $7,000, some of which has already been paid and I will delay paying until just before the due date at the end of the month. We may as well enjoy the .01% interest rate the bank pays us. LOL.This is probably more than Donald Trump pays.

Anyhow... that is it for the Randle household for now. We are alive and kicking and I hope all of you are as well. We are looking forward to some better weather and maybe hitting the road for some short trips in the motorhome. We strangely miss living in it.




Sunday, April 1, 2018

Motorhome Accessory Testing Day

Testing Day

Generator - works
Hot water tank - works
Fridge on gas and electric - works
Furnace - works
Air Conditioning - works
Extra 115 volt fridge above driver's seat - works

Now we wait for some good weather when I will pay the insurance and take it in for a lube and oil change. We are anxious to get out in it!

This is the first year in a long time that everything works right from the start. Usually there is some problem, usually with either the water heater, the fridge or the propane system, all expensive repairs. Last year was an exceptionally expensive year, costing us a total of $4,800 CAN over the winter of 2015 - 2016 plus another $850 for car dolly tires and repairs, This was more than double our average costs.

Friday, March 30, 2018

De-Winterizing

I just realized that the motorhome has not run except for short periods over the winter to keep everything lubricated, for 11 months! It cannot be good for it and I have 3/4 of a tank of almost one year old gas in the tank.

The waterlines and hot water tank were also full of RV antifreeze and yesterday I decided to clean it out and purge the system. I drained the water tank, refilling and draining it several more times. I then hooked up the water hose to the RV, opened the gray water valve to allow the water to drain out onto the ground and turned on all the taps inside. I let the water run until all foam and telltale antifreeze smell had been purged out of the system. I then gave the six gallon hot water tank an extra few minutes to be sure it was completely clean. Then I re-filled the fresh water tank, adding about two cups of bleach. When it was full I used the water pump to pump water from the tank through each hot and cold tap until I smelled bleach and let a couple more gallons run through each tap just to be sure. Done!

Today I will tackle the black (sewage) tank! In theory it should be empty but just to be sure I will put a bucket under it when I pull the valve! When I know it is empty I will leave the valve open and use a hose from up above in the toilet to rince out the tank. Once it is spotless I will close the valve and put in a couple of gallons of bleachy water. Where does the dirty water from the tank go? Into the driveway gravel and maybe into the grass and hedge beside the parking area where it will join the deer and raccoon poop. It will do no harm.

Our intention is to put road insurance on the motorhome when the weather gets warmer and use it a little on the Island this summer.

Image result for rv sewer dumping

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

So Here Is The Deal

I am currently dealing with some atrial fibrillation or A Fib, a minor electrical problem with the heart that results in an irregular heartbeat. They are going to treat it with an electrical shock in about a month that will get it back in rhythm. My 17 year old, five foot, Iranian Cardiologist says it is not a big deal, no one has ever died from AFib and he sees it all the time. He has me on blood thinner to reduce the increased possibility of strokes so I have to watch bleeding. I guess that means extreme sports are off the agenda. Just another of the pleasures of growing older.

I had no complaints and had not really noticed the problem but when I was at the doctor's to discuss my latest lab tests (all OK) he noticed something in my colour and sent me for an ECG. The results clearly showed a strong but irregular heartbeat and the telltale "fluttering" in the upper chambers indicating A-Fib. He referred me to a specialist who examined me, did his own ECG, explained the shock treatment and was delighted to hear that I do not eat meat.

I am not overly concerned about this as the doctor is pretty confident he can shock things back into shape (he has done it many times) and either way he says my life expectancy is exactly the same with A Fib as it would be without it. The only downside I can tell is an occasional "vibration" in my chest after exertion. A little scary now that I know what it is but nothing to worry about.

A sign in the Cardiologist's office stated that the best diet for heart health is a Mediterranean Diet. This works well for me as I love that kind of food. I downloaded some recipes and mad a pot of Greek Lentil Soup yesterday. It is delicious! Norma even liked it even though she hates garlic (I only used half the amount called for). The local deli makes a great Greek Salad probably for less than I could make it for. Tonight I will try a Greek fish dish.

I am actually looking forward to experimenting with this diet.

Image result for afib ecg

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mexico Memories

I was commenting on a friend's Blog today and was reminded of this occasion in a Guadalajara restaurant a few years ago. I thought I would share the story.

It was in a Guadalajara restaurant where we encountered our best example of the Ugly American! A couple had just gotten their bill and the guy shouted out, “This is in Mexican! Give me a bill in Real Money”! The waiter was unable to help him and the jerk just got louder and the waiter more frustrated and embarrassed. I tried to help by asking the jerk what the problem was and he indicated he wanted to pay with “real money”. I told him to just give them a credit card and the banks would work it out. He said, “I’m not giving anyone my credit card, I want to pay with CASH”, showing me a wad of US cash. I asked what the bill was and he said “490 whatevers” (about $30-35 US at the time). I said, “Just leave $50 US plus tip and that will be close enough”. He said, “Thanks, why couldn’t they have told me that? I don’t suppose they would have any change?” I said no, they wouldn’t have change so he slapped three US twenties down on the table and they stormed out muttering something about that expensive restaurants should have someone who could speak English. On our way out the manager thanked us and asked if we would buy the three twenties from him as it was difficult for him to deal with. We checked on the Internet and gave him fair value in pesos. The peso was much higher then but it was still one killer propina (tip)! The waiters followed us out to high five us. I love Mexico!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Thought I was Going To Jail

Or, "For Gawds Sake, It's Only Forty Cents"!

Back in the 80's Norma and I were very involved in politics and there was a Federal Election going on in Canada. Norma worked for Jim Fulton, the Member of Parliament for Skeena Riding in Northern BC and served as his very capable Campaign Manager during elections (ie: he never lost). My union had sprung me from the job and was paying my wages to work full time on the campaign as Jim and the entire New Democratic Party was and is very worker friendly.

I either volunteered or was seconded into acting as the candidates Official Agent, the person who is the legal representative of the candidate and is responsible for the proper recording of the finances of the campaign, a position that carries a great deal of responsibility.

As the campaign wore on, our days grew longer and by the end Norma and I were working twelve to fifteen hours a day (I was only being paid for 7 1/2 so the balance was my contribution to the Good Fight).

Back then we were doing the books the old fashioned way, double entry bookkeeping on balance sheets. All was going well until after the first month I balanced the books and discovered I was out forty cents! OMG! How could this have happened? I went back and compared all my entries with the invoices and receipts and the error would not go away. I don't know how many times it had been stressed that the books HAD to balance when I turned them in and I could not find the error! This amount was over a total cash flow of probably  $25,000 so not that big a percentage of the total. Still, my books did not balance and I was sick about it. To me, being out a penny was the same as being out a thousand dollars. I HAD to find that damn $.40!

Then one day we had a visitor to the campaign office, a local accountant who came in to drop off a donation for Jim. As I was writing out his receipt he asked how I was doing with the books (knowing I was an electronics guy, not an accountant). I spilled the beans to him, telling him I could not balance the books and that Jim would probably lose his seat and I would probably go to jail. To say I had put 100 hours into looking for the error is probably an exaggeration but I am pretty sure I put twenty hours into it, time I could well have spent on something more productive for the campaign.

He pulled a chair around to my side and had a quick look while I tried to explain. He waved me into silence, took a pencil, erased a random entry of $xxx.44, wrote down $xxx.84 and changed the total at the bottom of the column. "There, all fixed. This is why accountants use pencils" he said. Twenty seconds. Done.

"How is that going to work?", I asked. "These books have to pass two audits, the Party and Elections Canada! Someone will find an invoice that does not match the entry! I will be caught!" By now I was in a panic. Losing forty cents is one thing, hiding the fact is another!

He said, "Relax, they are looking for international money laundering, illegal contributions and thefts and misappropriations in the order of thousands of dollars, they could care less about a forty cent entry error, you are not going to jail!"

And he was right. I sat on the edge of my chair until the results of the audits were posted and campaign expenses were published and I did not get a late night knock on the door by the RCMP. Jim won the election and once again took his seat in Parliament. The world was once again as it should be.

Jim and his overworked Campaign Manager in or around 1983


Thursday, February 8, 2018

What's Up?

What have we been up to lately? Not much! The weather has been, to put it scientifically, "shitty". We have been hanging around the house getting a few jobs done between rain storms. The new wall on the workshop cannot be painted until after it had been subjected to at least three days of sunshine and that has not happened. Like so many other things, this job is on hold.

Our friend Garth is retiring and he and Nancy are having a retirement party here on Saturday as we have so much outdoor entertaining area. The weatherman says there will be no rain on Saturday but if he is wrong, we have the covered porch that we intend to surround with a large tarp to keep the wind and rain out. If it doesn't rain we have the outside fireplace to help keep folks warm. It will be fun regardless and Garth and Nancy are heading for Mexico the day after the party. He is very happy to be retiring from Canada Fisheries.

So, there is not much to report but that is it! End of story. We are not having as much fun as we would be having if we had gone to Mexico. Lesson learned.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wall Done!

We had the first nice day that was actually forecast in a long time. My handyman helper, Ross, showed up right on schedule at 9 AM and we started tearing off the old wall. We discovered three of the studs and eight feet of sill plate were rotting. Luckily I had some spare material so we replaced all the water damaged wood.

We then stapled some left over roofing paper on the outside of the studs and nailed on the new 3/8 plywood sheeting and added the trim boards, ripped from boards left over from Brooks trip up to do the deck and roof.

It looks really nice but I have to wait for a few dry days to let the caulk dry before I paint it. The whole job took just over four hours including replacing the rotten 2X4's. Total cost was around $260 plus the left over material that I paid for with the porch.

I was really happy with Handyman Ross, he is a hard worker and has a lot of talent and experience. I can highly recommend him and I have his number if anyone is looking for someone. I was able to help quite a bit and my back did not start hurting until after we were done. But it is making up for it now. Along with my ankle. 😏



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Still Kicking

We are surviving the winter! We are not doing much, Norma is glued to her curling and figure skating on TV and I am reading on my KOBO. Aside from that and keeping the drains on the back slope clear, not much is happening.

It is raining as usual and when I checked my workshop I noticed the floor was wet! I quickly determined the back wall was leaking at a few places where the old plywood sheeting joins together. I built that 12 X 12 foot workshop when we bought the house back in 1989 and the wall that faces the prevailing wind and rain is giving up.


I checked Craigslist and found a handyman who claims to be capable of such repairs and sent him a message and a photo. He charges $25 per hour and estimates the job will take three to six hours. I called Brooks and he confirmed that was a bargain. He would do it but it would cost him $100 in gas just to get here.


I messaged the guy back and booked him for next Thursday. I will meet him outside Home Depot with four sheets of 3/8 inch plywood and some 1 X 4 trim boards on a dolly. In the meantime I will move everything away from that back wall. Total cost should be no more than $300, all in. About as much as it cost me to build the entire shop back in 1989.


The wall: