Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What a Day!

It is going up to 26 here today (78F). Kelly dropped over yesterday to see if her back was good enough to weed a little. It was. This morning I cut some of the front rose bush that was in front of the kitchen window. Yes Norma, I know it is the wrong season for trimming roses. Then I went around back and cut out some prickly vines that were growing in my wood pile. I got a little scarred up doing that but I will live. All in all I half filled a garden refuse bag and am quite proud of myself! It is the first gardening I have done without Norma literally hanging over my shoulder telling me exactly where and how to cut!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Home Again

Home again and rain, rain, rain! Nothing but rain for the next two weeks. Staying inside!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Pension Problem Solved!

I finally got face to face with a BC Government Employees pension plan person after her admonishing me for driving all the way to Victoria without an appointment. Her: "We are very busy, you are lucky I could fit you in". Me: "How can I set up an appointment? You never answer your phone". Her (proudly):"Our records show that 80% of phone calls are answered in 20 minutes or less". 20 minutes is about what it takes to kill a cell phone battery.
After that things went smoothly. The balance of her pension will be deposited in my account at the end of May and the missed April payment will be sent out soon. The Extended Medical payments will be deducted from my deposits.
Traffic on the Malahat was slow but not parking lot slow. I made it back to Shawnigan in an hour and a half instead of the best case 45 minutes.
When Norma was one of the heads of Forest Renewal BC, she decreed that all incoming phone calls were answered by a human being in six rings or less. If you left your desk, you forwarded your calls to your cell phone.If you were in a meeting the call went to your assistant or to the receptionist with the six ring rule still in effect.

Friday, May 10, 2019

At Brooks'

I am down in Shawnigan Lake for a few days visiting my son and LindaLee. I needed to get out of the house. I am driving down to Victoria to meet with Norma's' pension office face to face. That is the last problem I am having with her affairs. She left me a small portion of her pension, enough to cover the {subsidized) extended medical plan payments. They keep telling me it will take "another week or so" to do the paperwork and that is fine except I want to make sure I don't lose my medical coverage because they can't get their crap together.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Chores

With all that has been going on in my life lately I neglected to run the generator in the motorhome to exercise it for two months in a row. This morning I hit the start button and after a few seconds of grinding away, it started! I fired up the air conditioning to give it a good load and after an hour and a half I will turn it off. All is well and if I want to use the motorhome this summer, it is ready to go.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Baby Steps

I cleared out three of Norma's bedroom drawers and all three of her bathroom drawers in the en-suite. She used the en-suite while I used the main bathroom. I may move my stuff into the en-suite. I looked in the hall closet and it is LOADED with her coats and jackets! I mean loaded to the point where you cannot get your hand in to see what is there. I will have to get a large box to move them into until winter when there are charities asking for jackets for the homeless.

Brooks' ex-MIL called to say she was working on the granddaughters to come up and pick what they want out of Norma's clothes. If they can all agree on a date she will bring them up for a day or two.

I know I am slow, but it is a start!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May First

Back when I worked for a living I usually took International Labour Day off to celebrate the "real" Labour Day with my fellow Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW).


From The 90's

Our friends Miriam and Bruce sent this photo from their archives. The best date I can come up with is the early 90's. In my Facebook post I called it, "The Political Organizer and the Union Thug". LOL. She was always the tougher of the two of us!



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

74th Birthday Party!

My niece Susan, nephew Don and his wife Riitta threw a birthday party for me last night! We had a great time exploring Don's liquor cabinet and eating home made chocolate cake! There were many toasts to my sister and to Norma! It was just what I needed.

"Let's do a selfie!"    "OK..... How?"

L to R: Riitta, Don, Croft, Susan

Sunday, April 28, 2019

My Sister Gloria

My big sister Gloria passed away this morning at around 5:00 AM. I flew out to Toronto a few days ago to see her and to be with her. She was 90, had lived a good life and passed peacefully. She leaves five children.
I had some "alone" time with her the night before last and although she was in a deep sleep I bored her with talk of the old days in Edmonton and about our family.
Here are Gloria and I at Wasaga Beach during my last visit in 2011.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

I Am In Toronto

Well,I am in Toronto.... Yet another family medical crisis. I am waiting to gather more information before I say much but as always, positive thoughts never hurt!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Walk On The Wild Side!

Well, that was hardly weird at all!
I have been finding it harder and harder to trim my toenails. I end up using the wrong tool (because our toenail clippers are not strong enough) and just chipping away at the nails. I always end up with jagged edges and sometimes cracks. Lack of nail care recently caused me to tear a nail off when I made a misstep on a sidewalk.
So I decided I was comfortable enough with my sexuality, took a walk on the wild side and visited a nail salon!
They gave me a delicious cup of espresso and after that it took them all of ten minutes to cut my nails perfectly and professionally! They charged me $10, I added a $5 tip and I walked out a new man! 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Garden Solution

Our friend (and Norma's gardening assistant) Kelly Brunelle just dropped in to say she would use weeding Norma's garden as therapy for a year to see how it goes. I think it will go well and I know Norma trusted Kelly with her flowers (as much as she trusted anyone) . so this will be the perfect solution. Have faith Norma!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Flower Garden

Norma, what will we do with your flower garden? Some of the perennials are thinking about restarting and I am not able to look after them or willing to put in the 20 or 30 hours a week you spent on them. I will keep your roses and bushes going, they are low maintenance but the flowers may just have to go. I will have this conversation with Kelly and Rick.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Blog

I do not want this Blog to become a monument to the Cancer that took Norma and I know she would be even more adamant on this subject than I. Therefore I am going to copy all the cancer related posts  along with all associated comments to a Word file  and then delete them from the Blog. I will leave her obituary and this post up but the rest will be gone. I appreciate and value all the comments that her friends (both "Real" and "Imaginary") have left but it is time to make that change. Thank you for understanding!

- Croft

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Norma Randle

JULY 27, 1942 – MARCH 24, 2019
Obituary of Norma Randle

Friend, Lover, Wife, Mother, Colleague, Socialist, Feminist, Unstoppable Political Dynamo, Union Organizer, Fierce Defender Of Lost Causes.



Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Norma Randle July 27, 1942 - March 24, 2019

Norma Randle July 27, 1942 - March 24, 2019
At 10:15 PM Sunday night we lost Norma. Friend, Lover, Wife, Mother, Colleague, Socialist, Feminist, Unstoppable Political Dynamo, Union Organizer, Fierce defender of lost causes. This leaves a gaping hole in my heart and I can hear her telling me to "Get moving and get on with it. Quit whining!"
The photo is at our friends Juan and Chris' home in Monterrey, Mexico. She was always happy in Mexico.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, table, outdoor and food

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Moving up

And the big news of the day is! WE ARE OUT OF EMERGENCY and have a room! Not the fun filled oncology 8th floor "penthouse" but the 4th floor. I think they are still trying to move us up. The dietitian from the 8th floor talked to us earlier and wanted to do a couple of experiments to get better nutrition. Maybe another move tomorrow but at least she is out of the ER and the security guards running around all night. Unfortunately the room she is in now has three beds so I will not be able to stay overnight.

Radiation #2 Done

Treatment #2 done this morning.Easy Peasy! Norma was feeling really good this afternoon so our granddaughter #2, Sierrah and her other grandmother came for a nice visit. It was a good day. They slightly changed the meds so hopefully we will avoid any more pain crises. THAT would be a step in the right direction. All that positive thinking is starting to pay off folks!

One Down Nine To Go

Norma rode down to Victoria in an ambulance with me following in the Mazda. Four hours on the road and then her first radiation treatment a half hour after we arrived.

The hospital is over capacity so no rooms available. Norma slept in a curtained off area of Emergency and I slept at Brooks' in-laws. Norma had a bit of a panic when I was not here when she woke up for her pain meds as she forgot me leaving. Hopefully we will get a room with a cot for me tonight,

Second treatment at 10:00 this morning. They are hi-tech and painless!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Off To Victoria, BC

We are off tomorrow morning to Victoria for treatment. Norma will be in the Royal Jubilee Hospital for two weeks. Keep those positive thoughts flowing, they do make a difference!

Great Memories!

Norma's old friend Sharon Prescott came for a visit yesterday and presented Norma with photos of Norma, Sharon. Patrice Pratt and Angie Schira who together were Mike Harcourt's "Back Room Boys" in the BC Provincial election they won so handily for Mike. The photos included a "before" shot taken just after the election and an "after" shot taken four years ago with Mike at a retirement party. The photos and old stories they shared got a lot of smiles out of Norma and it made her day!

*Update: As Angie just reminded me in a phone call, their other name was, "The Spin Witches"!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Good Trip To Victoria

It was a good trip today. We started with a wake-up at 5:30 and ended when we got back at about 4:00. The day was dry, the highways freshly salted and the traffic light so we made good time. Brooks and LindaLee met us when we got there.

We all met with the doctor who outlined everything we knew. Surgery is not an option because everything in there is all tangled together and they would have to cut it up too much and it would come right back. He also ruled out radioactive iodine and Chemo. That leaves radiation as the preferred method of attack. We discussed pain management and Norma's aversion to morphine.

They took her into another room where they made a "mask" to hold her in the proper rigid position while the radiation is applied which looks something like a sci-fi goalie mask. They then gave her an MRI focusing on their areas of concern.

She will be transported to Comox on Thursday for a bone scan and then back to Victoria in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to start her radiation. We will remain in Victoria for two weeks and it is undetermined where I will stay but it will be either at the Cancer House or at friends. In the meantime they have ordered more biopsies.

This is a very tiring journey for all concerned but our socialized medical system removes any financial strain and for that we are very thankful to be Canadians!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Big Trip Tomorrow!

We are getting ready for the big day at the Victoria Cancer Clinic tomorrow! We leave in the Cancer Van with a driver and a nurse at 6:00 AM, have a two hour meeting and should be back in our room in Campbell River by 6:00 PM. The big treat was Tanya, the Health Care Assistant gave Norma a shower and a hair washing this afternoon! What a great service these people provide and we didn't even know they existed!. I was going to help her myself but this was so much better!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Time To Explain

Some of you know but many of you do not. Norma is in the hospital!

She had some dental surgery on February 1 which was followed by a bad infection in her mouth. This made it hard to swallow and antibiotics were prescribed. The first course did not help and it got worse. This was followed by three more courses, none of which helped. By now she found swallowing very difficult if not impossible and was existing on Boost, juices and other very soft foods. I took her to the doctor and lab tests were ordered. Two days later we went to see the doctor who told her she had passed the lab work with flying colors. He kidneys, liver, lungs were good and her chest x-ray showed clear lungs. She passed the cancer screening blood test. "You are healthy so we just have to deal with the infection. He prescribed a stronger antibiotic and we went home. This was Friday, February 22.

The next morning I was in my office and when I checked on Norma she was passed out on the toilet. I shook her, yelled at her and woke her up. I was helping her back to the bed when she passed out again. I carried her to the bed and called 911.

They arrived and noticed she was severely dehydrated and put her on an IV drip while they transported her. The Emergency Room doctor ordered a scan which showed two "masses" pressing on her swallowing mechanism, blocking the passage. Her breathing passage was fine.

He admitted her and after playing musical beds in our brand new but overcrowded hospital we ended up in a private room with a large couch for me to sleep on.

Many tests, scans, MRI's, biopsies and x-rays followed with some results coming in quickly, some slowly and some we have not seen yet. She was on 24/7 IV drip for many days and soon they put a feeding tube up her nose. This was a difficult job done by her ear, nose and throat specialist because of the problems in her throat.

A couple of days ago this nose tube was replaced with a tube directly into her stomach and is much more comfortable. She is "eating" much more than she ever has. They were feeding her 24/7 for the first two or three days and have now cut her back to 3 "meals" a day. The IV drip has also been removed as she is no longer dehydrated. They are giving her water through the feeding tube every time they flush it. She is much more cheerful now.

Her attitude is so much better now. She refused any type of opium based drug just on general principles and because of unfortunate experiences with both her mother and father. Between the nurses, doctors and I we talked her into trying Dilaudid in a tiny 1 mg dose and it is working! No more severe headaches! She is on that as required (about every 5 - 6 hours.

So far the results are suggesting two kinds of cancer although they are still not sure. Everything has been sent down to the Cancer Clinic in Victoria and on Tuesday Norma, a nurse escort and myself will make the trip down in the Cancer Van for a consultation in Victoria. It is about four hours each way so with a two hour consultation it will be a 10 - 12 hour day. She will be in a bed in the van.

Please send lots of positive thoughts but hold back on the flowers as the room is small with almost no counter space and we have already been asked to remove some of the more odoriferous flowers as other patients and some staff are complaining.

I will keep you all updated but right now she needs a very positive attitude from all her friends (both real and "imaginary" as she calls them) to match her own positive outlook. For Norma this is just another job that needs to be done. She has organized unions, kicked bad politicians out of office and has run campaign to elect good politicians and she has a very good batting average. This is just another windmill for her to tilt!

Friday, March 8, 2019

To all our women friends: Happy March 8, International Women's Day!

Michele Paccione/Shutterstock

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tioga George

Sad news about Tioga George, our friend and long term mentor for many people in the RVing lifestyle! The following was posted on his blog by (I think) his daughter Johana.

Dear Readers

I'm sure you have been wondering why George has not made a post recently. I have some very sad news to report to you. George passed away last week. As a regular reader, you may have noticed that he had been struggling to complete his truck renovation project. His deteriorating health had been frustrating to him and of increasing concerns to his family and friends, and it finally caught up with him.

George loved his life, solving problems, meeting challenges, and seeking out the next adventure just around the corner. He experienced great joy sharing this on his blog and his readers became like family to him. He is considered the "Grand Daddy" of using the internet to connect with people and sharing his travels. He loved you all, and will be deeply missed by many. Now he is on his last great adventure.

George wished to have as little fuss as possible be made upon his passing so there will be no public service for him. I know that many of you may wish to say goodby, so I am making an effort to open the comment section on his blog so that you may have that opportunity to say a few words about him and communicate with each other.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Home!

Home! In de-stressing mode. This will be an ongoing process! I want a dog. Or a cat.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Make It Simple!

Get your affairs in order folks. Avoid probate if at all possible. In BC it is a 12 to 18 month process if not longer and the only winners are the lawyers!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Down To Victoria!

Heading down to Victoria for a duty we have not been looking forward to. Norma's brother Willea passed away yesterday after many decades of dealing with an increasingly malfunctioning body that finally left him bedridden. He was only 75 but was ready to go and is now free to wander wherever and whenever he pleases!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Martin Luther King Day

For this year's MLK Day I am re-posting the Blog I did in 2011 when we visited Memphis and the Lorraine Motel.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The Lorraine Motel

Memphis’ Lorraine Motel was the site of the 6:01 p.m., April 4th, 1968 execution of Dr. Martin Luther King, civil Rights leader and anti Vietnam War Crusader. He was shot in front of room 306 where he stood on the balcony talking to members of his team in the parking lot. The site has been preserved and is now the National Civil Rights Museum at The Lorraine Motel. The site consists of the motel, the surrounding land and the buildings across the street where the fatal shot came from.
The Lorrain Motel and room 306, in front of which King was shot:
king1king2
The Motel and parking lot:
king3
The buildings across the street. The police insist the fatal shot was fired by James Earl Ray from the window on the second floor, top right.
king4
Here is James Earl Ray’s bathroom window, partially open as it was that day. This shot was taken from as close as I could get to the balcony outside room 306.
king5
The actual bathroom window is inaccessible due to a Plexiglas surrounding erected to replace the bathroom walls and to protect the room. This shot was taken from the taller window in the next room and gives an almost identical view. The wreath on the motel balcony was where King was standing. I resorted to my old photography tricks learned in Dallas at the Kennedy assignation site where cameras were also banned inside the buildings. This photo was shot from the hip while I looked in a different direction. Pretty sneaky, eh?
king6
So, what is wrong with this picture? Well, if we believe the official story, everything fits. The problem is, many people including the King family did not believe the cover story and started their own investigation. It was then that the “evidence” started to fall apart. There was a conspiracy trial in 1999 in Memphis that found that there had been a far reaching conspiracy in the murder. The participants in the killing were found to be the Mafia, FBI, CIA, Military and the Memphis Police Department. This trial was hushed up and the findings suppressed.
What was so dangerous about the 1999 Memphis trial that it had to be suppressed? The evidence presented — under oath and on the record — made it abundantly clear that the reports of the 1997 House Select Committee on Assassinations, of the Civil Rights Commission appointed by Clinton’s AG Janet Reno, and the New York Times were all wrong. James Earl Ray did not murder King.
The all Black police detachment that normally protected King when he was in the city was replaced that day with no reason given. The only two Black firemen from the station across the street were told to take the day off while the army told the fire chief they needed his rooftop that day to photograph and observe King. They carried a package to the rooftop which they said contained “cameras”.
The owner of the building next door swore under oath that the bag that contained the weapon police insisted was used by James Earl Ray to kill King was dropped off at his door ten minutes BEFORE he heard the shot.
Federal Judge Joe Brown found in another trial that this gun was not the murder weapon, that the bullets did not match, the scope had never been sighted in and that the gun was incapable of making this accurate a shot.
Loyd Jowers, the defendant in the conspiracy trial was connected to the Mafia and admitted that he was involved in the assignation of King, that he had participated in the killing. He also stated that he had received a “smoking rifle” from a Memphis Police Department marksman which he later disposed of.
Immediately after the shot, two men ran from the bush area in front of the building across the street. One jumped into a green Chev and burned rubber leaving the scene right in front of a Memphis Police car which gave no apparent notice. The other fleeing man jumped into a different police car which drove away.
All this evidence they uncovered was put before a jury in Memphis, TN, in November 1999. 70 witnesses testified under oath, 4,000 pages of transcripts described the evidence, much of it new. It took the jury 59 minutes to come back with their decision that Loyd Jowers, owner of Jim’s Grill, had participated in a conspiracy to kill King, a conspiracy that included J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Helms and the CIA, the military, the Memphis Police Department (MPD), and organized crime. That verdict exonerated James Earl Ray who had already died in prison.

WHY?
Good question. Martin Luther King was adamantly opposed to the Vietnam War. He was organizing a mass protest in Washington to force the Government to abandon this war. He had the charisma, the organizing ability and the public support to accomplish this. There was also speculation that he was planning a run for President of the United States.
This was unacceptable to the American controlled multinational corporations that stood to lose billions if the USA abandoned the Vietnam War. These corporations had (and still have) the power to direct policy. King stood between them and their profits and he had to go. There was more than one rifle aimed at the Reverend King that day. If the marksman had missed or was interrupted, there were backups. His fate was sealed. He was a dead man walking!
All of this information has been suppressed. William Pepper’s (the King family lawyer) 2003 book, An Act of State, The Execution of Martin Luther King, published by Verso, gave a detailed report of the trial. The book was systematically ignored. Pepper said in February 2003 that he had been personally turned down by reviewers for major media. They did not want to put their jobs and reputation on the line. I have my copy on order from eBay.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Honda is Home!

My mechanic called this morning to say the Honda is running perfectly. He plugged the new ECM in, turned the key and it started! He changed the oil because it was due and discovered the oil pan had a lot of gas in it! He thought this might have something to do with the fuel injection getting the wrong signals from the ECM and the excess gas going into the oil. I will have to watch this.
Anyway, the damage. $580 Canadian ($437 US), most of it was the "new" ECM and shipping. Substantial but hopefully it will keep the old beast running for another year.

I looked at what was available locally for $5 - $7K, what I am willing to pay. It is pretty hard to find a Honda with decent mileage and a decent price but there are several mid 2000's Mazdas around my price. Most of these have 175,000 to 250,000 KM (108,000 - 155,000 Miles) on them. The '89 Honda has 300.000 KM (186,000 Miles) on it and is worth nothing.
I have to laugh though. If this was the motorhome that burned out some major electronic parts it would have cost many times that to get back on the road. Then I would have had something to cry about!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Honda Is At The Doctor's.

On Friday morning the '89 Honda performed perfectly, as it has for months. I went downtown, shopped, came home and parked. Friday afternoon I tried to go to the store and it made a horrible noise starting, ran really rough for a few seconds and stalled, refusing to restart.
I called my mechanic on Monday and Wednesday morning he came over and checked a few things. It had fuel, fuel pressure and spark, all the necessities of life but would not start. I told him that I know nothing but the first thing I thought of was that the 200,000 KM old timing belt broke. He admitted he was thinking the same thing but he had to have it in his shop to check.

So I called BCAA and got it towed to his shop. He should have a report later today. We discussed retiring the Honda and buying a "new" $4000 car but like he says, unless it was a car he knew and had worked on I could just be buying another car with a timing belt ready to go and he knew of no available cars at the moment. At least the Mazda is running well.
'89 Honda Part II
My mechanic just called. The timing belt is fine so he started checking more and determined it is an electrical problem with the fuel injection which is controlled by the ECM (Engine Control Module) which is screwed to the floor under the driver's seat. He reached under the seat only to find the ECM half submerged under water from the damn leaking sun roof! He is going to try drying the ECM out in front of the heater overnight and if that does not fix it there is one available from a wrecker in Victoria for $250.
The sunroof no longer works and has leaked for years. He has some magic gasket sealer that he is going to put around it to try to stem the tide. He will also drill a couple of drain holes through the floor under the ECM and remount it raised a little above the floor. Redneck solutions! Probably more to report tomorrow. I suspect and hope the ECM will start functioning when it is dry. It is an electronic device with no moving parts so we might get lucky!
Update:
The ECM is fried, replacement on order. He has sealed the leaky sun roof and will mount the ECM above the floor with some drip drain holes drilled underneath it. In all probability it will run. He says he vacuumed about three litres of water out of the carpets. They were soaked!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019