Sunday, December 22, 2019

Papa Noel Getting Ready!

This is a repeat of the post I did when we spent Christmas in New Orleans.

While Santa is up in the North Pole readying his sleigh which is pulled by reindeer, way down south in Louisiana, his alter ego, Papa Noel is preparing his Pirogue (pea-row) to be pulled through the swamps by his eight pet alligators, Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee and, if it is misty, Nicollette, lighting the way with her glowing green eyes.

In the tiny villages and communities along the Louisiana Bayous, residents gather to light community bonfires to show Papa Noel where there are children waiting for his visit.

It will be a busy night for both Santa and Papa Noel!

Papa Noel!
No photo description available.

Monday, December 16, 2019

New Bed

I am treating myself to another early Christmas gift, a new bed! The old one was my parents bed and I got it in 1994 when my mom died. So it has twenty some years on it (it was not new when I got it) and was beginning to show some sag.

I looked around town for something and eventually settled on a BeautyRest Queen size from SleepCountry in Courtenay. With a set of new Egyptian Cotton sheets and a mattress pad it came to just over $1,400 with free delivery and disposal of the old bed. Bed salesmen are a lot like car salesmen. They advertise the bed for $900 but by the time you get out of the store you have spent $1,400.

The new mattress is 14" high, 5" higher than my old one so I might have to keep a step ladder standing by. It also has a "Gel Pad" on the top surface which makes it non flippable but they say to swap it end for end every time I change the bedding.

I have been waking up at five or so every day so it will be interesting to see if the new bed gives me a better sleep.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Early Christmas Gift For Myself

Several years ago (decades actually) Brooks bought us a 42" Plasma TV, state of the art for it's time, As I recall it was around $1,000. It served me well and had the added feature of being able to heat the bottom room as that thing put out a LOT of heat!
But over time it started to seem a little fuzzy and I became envious of the larger size screens available so I have been watching. I finally found one at Canadian Tire's Black Friday Sale, a 58" "Smart" 4K Chinese brand for $365. too good a deal to pass up. I did a quick search for reviews on line and determined it was worth buying. If I didn't like it I could always return it.
Well, I like it. If it was set up beside one of the better known ($$$) brands it might be a little inferior but for my 74 year old eyes it is just fine and it is 1/3 the price of the better known brands. I am happy!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Norma Honoured!

Norma was honored today with a (posthumous) Honorary Lifetime Membership in the New Democratic Party of British Columbia! I was very pleased to accept the award on her behalf from our friend Premier John Horgan on the stage of the Victoria Conference Centre at the 2019 BCNDP Convention.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

In Victoria

I came down to Victoria a couple of days early to get my bearings and to pick up some clothes to wear on Saturday to Norma's presentation of her Honorary Life Membership (posthumous) in the New Democratic Party of British Columbia. This is in recognition of her decades of dedicated work with the Party.

My friend Penny, who lives in Victoria, offered to help me choose some clothes and I was surprised to find that I had dropped yet another size of pants. A few years ago I was size 42, then 40, then 38 and now I am 36! Mark's had a buy one, get one for half price sale on so we chose two spiffy shirts and two pair of chino pants. I am going to look pretty sharp at the ceremony but will have to work to keep my weight stable. I do not want to lose any more and nor do I want to gain any back! I will try to find someone to take my photo at the Convention.

I passed the clothes over the change room wall for Penny to hold while I got dressed and when I got out I found she had already paid for everything! An early Christmas gift she had been secretly planing since she heard about the award ceremony for Norma during our trip to the Okanagan and Alberta when I would not let her pay for anything. It was too much although very much appreciated. I will have to work on a Christmas gift for her. I have a couple of ideas.

Hopefully the work on the house repairs will be completed by the time I get back on Tuesday. The concrete guy has promised to have the sidewalk done by Friday. The plumber's bill turned out higher than the estimate because of the difficulty burying the water line down the driveway. They could not use the backhoe very much because of the proximity of the gas line, sewer, bank drainage pipe and the old water line in the tiny strip of land they had to work in. A lot of digging had to be done by hand and this was very time consuming. I hope the insurance company is understanding. Right from the start they told me they has a limit of $10,000 for this job and the total will be just under $6,000. Fingers crossed as the original estimate was for just over $4,000.

The weather has been "OK" for mid November with days around 10 C and nights around 2 C (35 F - 50 F). there has been no rain in Victoria but Campbell River has had some rain.

I am sitting in the Victoria Cancer Centre's visitor's lounge waiting for Penny to complete her once a week volunteer shift, something she enjoys doing after being a patient here herself seven years ago. They have excellent WIFI here. We will be going back to her place for a dinner of Wild Sockeye Salmon over pasta! Portion size designed to keep my waist at 36"!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Project End In Sight

The water line is in, buried and cleaned up. Next spring I will sprinkle some grass seed over the filled in trench and I will soon be back to mowing it.

The concrete work still has to be done but I was referred to a good concrete guy who specializes in small jobs. He has already torn up the remains of the old sidewalk and will be pouring the new one in a day or two, depending on weather. He will also repair a small section of the retaining wall beside the driveway that got damaged by the backhoe. The original plan was to just patch the sidewalk but he informed me that his minimum charge would replace the whole thing. Nice. The retaining wall repair will be billed directly to the plumbing company because it was their fault. the result of having to dig in a very confined area.

This is all covered by insurance, less my $1,000 deductible.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Slow Days

I have not been posting because not much is happening. We got back from our Okanagan / Alberta adventure and I dropped Penny off in Victoria and I returned to Campbell River to deal with the broken water line. In the meantime I developed the first bad cold I have had in years and then successfully passed it on to Penny during a short visit back to Victoria. This was not good because she has been told by her doctors to avoid colds because of her compromised immune system. We are both fine now but have avoided each other for a while to prevent the cycle of passing it back and forth.

The plumbing company started digging the trench for the new water line on Thursday and have at least one more day to go this week. The house is about 200 feet away from the water connection at the street and the new line must be dug into a very narrow strip of grass between a retaining wall and the driveway. This tiny space already contains the old water line, the natural gas line, the sewer and the pipe carrying the bank runoff water and therefore requires very slow, careful digging. What could have been a fairly simple job is turning into a major project. When the plumbers are done I will have to deal with getting someone in to lay a new sidewalk to replace the one they had to jackhammer out to expose the water line.

So all in all the last month has passed quite quickly. I have been making sure to get as much sleep as possible, stay warm and to eat well. The eating part does not come easily for me. It was easier when there were two of us but now I usually just look for something quick to satisfy my hunger and this is not always the healthiest choice. My weight loss has tapered off and is now (just now) 223 pounds. Down a lot from my maximum of around 260 and my more recent (5 - 10 yeas) "normal" of 240. I am happy with 223 as long as it does not drop too much further.

There was a deer in the yard earlier this weekend and when I investigated I found a section of fence about 20 feet long flattened with three steel posts bent right over at a 90 degree angle! A deer could not do this, this is the work of a bear! I will have to find some more posts, drive them in and re-hang the wire fence. Oh yes, the same bear got into my garbage can and spread the contents across the yard. This is getting old very fast!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Norma Is Being Honoured

I received a letter from The New Democratic Party of British Columbia informing me that they would be bestowing an Honorary Life Membership (Posthumously) to Norma in a ceremony at the next Party Convention in Victoria on November 23. They want me to attend to receive the award on her behalf.

This is a great honour for Norma and reflects the last fifty years of dedicated work she has put in organizing and working on behalf of the Party.

I am very proud of her and the work she did and will be pleased to take part in the ceremony.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Feeling Better

The few days rest seems to have done the trick, I feel much better. My cold is not gone but at least I don't feel like laying around all the time. This morning I slept till 9, got up, did the dishes, drove down to the Advance Poll to vote, went grocery shopping, cleaned out the motorhome fridge and then climbed the bank behind the house and repaired a pushed down part of the wire fence that the deer were using to get at the few remaining flowers. And it's not even one o'clock!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

I Need Cataract Surgery But My Brakes Are Fixed!

I knew my eyesight was going slowly downhill and my exam yesterday confirmed it. The doc has me on the 6 month waiting list for cataract surgery so that will probably mean in April 2020. They are doing the left eye (the worst one) first and then after that, the right, He says the goal is to have me driving legally without glasses and he sees no reason why that can't happen. He also said that virtually everyone either has had or needs cataract surgery by age 80 so at 75 (which I will be when it is done) I am right on schedule.

Brooks' neighbour mechanic did the motorhome brakes yesterday. Only the rear needed work, the front are fine. The cost was lower than I expected at $1400 and that included an oil change which was also long overdue.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Home Again

Home Again!
We had one final "emergency" while parked in the RV friendly Abbotsford Walmart Thursday night when we suddenly lost our 110 volts from the generator. It was raining so I did not investigate but in the morning I found the main breaker on the side of the generator had tripped. Strangely, this has never happened before. I have overloaded the generator but that only resulted in the generator bogging down and quitting. This time it kept running but the breaker tripped.
Anyway after donating $285 to the BC Ferry System we got to Victoria by dinnertime. Minutes after we arrived at Penny's condo, the fire alarms went off and the parking lot was soon full of fire trucks. I grabbed my computer, Penny grabbed her cat and we went to stand in the parking lot with everyone else. It turned out that one of the owners had "smelled something funny" and hit the alarm. Thanks a lot, we all ended up wet and cold and decided we did not want to make dinner but ordered a Romeo's Pizza instead.
Other than that, it is nice to be home but sad that the little five week vacation is over. I will spend a couple of days here, visit Brooks for his birthday on October 1 and then head home to deal with the flood damage. Never a dull moment!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Update On The Flooded Crawlspace

The plumber has been busy, He determined the leak was outside the foundation and jack-hammered a hole in the sidewalk to get at it. He dug and found a split in the pipe near where it passes through the foundation. He made a "temporary" repair with a vinyl sleeve and clamps and left it like that awaiting further instructions.
Brooks talked to the plumber and the recommendation is to replace the entire 150 foot line down to the road and up to the pressure reduction valve in the crawl space. A big ($) job.
The cheapest way to do it would be for Brooks to come up for a couple of days. hire a bobcat, dig a trench, buy a roll of water line, place it in the trench leaving a coil long enough to go into the house, cover it up and call the plumber back to make the final connections.
In the meantime my friend John is going to try to find something to cover the 3' by 3' hole in the sidewalk and make it safe and that will give Brooks and I time to decide what to do. In the meantime I have water to add to my scotch!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Quieter Day

A much less frantic day today! We had a leisurely breakfast and then drove on the east side of the lake road from Okanagan Falls to Penticton and then on to Naramata. We were amazed by the number of wineries on that side of the lake! We stopped at a couple of them and increased our wine supply a little bit. Then we had a small lunch and came home to cook a great dinner of Alaskan Black Cod from the freezer. This stuff is expensive but is oh so good....

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Stinky Problem

All the time we were boondocking at Tanis and James place in Vernon we were storing our sewage (black tank). When we got to Oliver I hooked up and dumped. I thought the black tank emptied quite quickly - as in not enough time to dump five or six days worth of poop but since I have not had problems with this for years, ignored it.

Until this morning. I got up and discovered a small river of water crossing the hall floor, following the wall to the door and forming a puddle on the ground! The tank was full and PLUGGED! On one of our middle of the night trips to the commode some toilet paper had become lodged in the toilet valve and opened up the water supply very slightly! This kept a slow but steady stream of water flowing which in time (very little) filled the system and overflowed the toilet!

I immediately turned off all the water and used a container to eliminate some of the water out of the toilet. I then checked the position of all the outside valves and tried to dump. Nothing going! After considering all the options I could think of (none of them good) I went to see Nate, the new owner of the Maple Leaf RV Park. He thought the best thing to do was to phone his septic tank guy who thought he could at least empty the tank without the contents ending up on the ground.

He came over and attached his pump onto the black tank and started sucking. This only resulted in the tank looking like it was being collapsed. No good! Next he thought of trying to suck everything out the top and gave me a pipe and valve to try to push down into the tank from the toilet. Well, it met with a little resistance and then it suddenly went down and the tank emptied on it's own! Success!

As he was loading up his equipment I asked him how much and he said that as he had actually done very little, $25 cash for gas would make him happy! Well, that made two of us happy as I was expecting at least four times that amount! I followed up by flushing the tank with my "Magic Wand" and many gallons of high pressure water from Nate's irrigation water supply. All fixed (well after washing the floor that is).

Later on we drove west to the Nighthawk Crossing into the USA and took a drive through backwoods Washington back to Oroville and the border crossing to Osoyoos, BC. We didn't stop except to take photos of several old barns and some landscapes. A great afternoon!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Back In Oliver

We arrived back in Oliver BC yesterday only to be greeted with some bad news from home. My house sitter Kelly reported a flooded crawl space and reduced water pressure in the house! She called a plumber and he has determined the leak is in fact from the city water pipes. He thinks the leak is outside the cement wall and is getting inside under the foundation wall. He got the city to come and shut off the water at the street and is going to give it a day for the water to sink down through the sand and dirt floor of the crawl space. Tomorrow he will jackhammer the concrete sidewalk in front of the house to get a look at what exactly is going on and will plan repairs from there. My homeowners insurance is $1000 deductible and that is about what Brooks thinks the repairs will cost. There is no real damage in the crawl space, just the cost of drying it out which I may be able to do myself by simply leaving a fan on down there for a week or two to keep the air moving.

Other than that we are having a wonderful time here in the Okanagan. We left Robin and George's on Saturday, had dinner in Jasper and then drove to a hotel in Valemount, BC. Back to Vernon on Sunday where we spent three more days parked beside Tanis and James' barn. We stocked up on garlic and visited a couple of old friends.

We are now back in the Maple Leaf RV Park in Oliver where we went out for dinner tonight to celebrate Penny's seventh anniversary of being declared cancer free! A good reason to celebrate!

Image result for 7 years

Friday, September 13, 2019

Lacombe, Alberta

We have had our feet up in Lacombe for a few days now, enjoying our visit with my niece Robin and George. Great conversation, food, wine and visits from Robin's kids (at least all the ones who don't live in Ireland) :).

George works two days a week in Edmonton, inspecting a fibre optics job being done for the City of Edmonton and is away one night a week. Robin, Penny and I took advantage of the time to go and visit Robin's daughter Chrystal where her kids took great delight in playing tricks on their old great-uncle and their new friend Penny.

It has been cool here and is actually raining today. We are planning on leaving Saturday morning and if the weather cooperates, we are thinking of returning to Vernon where the motorhome is waiting for us, via the Yellowhead Highway 16 with it's better view of the Rocky Mountains.

This has been a great little vacation for us.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Rocky Mountain High!

We made it as far as Golden, BC today. It was raining when we left Kelowna but it had let up by the time we dropped the Motorhome off with our friend Tanis in Vernon. She has a garlic farm with lots of room to park and even offered us some power to keep the fridge running. The solar panels would probably handle it but with the dreary weather forecasts we accepted her offer. We will stock up on garlic on the way home!

We are heading to Lacombe, Alberta to visit my niece Robin and George. We are taking the car to save a few $ in gas.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Data Hog

I Tethered for a half hour while we did our individual banking and emails and it used up about 300 MB of data, way more than expected. The extra two GB I just bought for $32 will be used up very quickly. We are using the park's free wifi at the office right now.

One more night in Kelowna and then we are storing the motorhome at a friend's farm in Vernon and taking the car across the Rockies to visit my niece Robin in Lacombe Alberta, After that, we shall see as neither of us has to be home until the end of the month.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Back On Line

I am almost back on line. My motorhome Wi-Fi device failed and naturally my device and plan is no longer offered. So...... I am experimenting with tethering my smart phone to my tablet and this is the result.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Kelowna, Part Two

We drank a whole bottle of wine between us last night and that is why the TV dish would not line up. OK, lesson learned. I tried again this morning with no luck when Colin offered to help. He had a compass (which I had left at home) and some local knowledge. He took one look and told me I was too close to the hedge. He was right. We moved the dish a couple of feet back, turned on the TV and it was working! Thanks Colin.

We made an attempt to go to one of the local wineries, Grey Monk, but when we arrived at the highway traffic was lined up in both directions as far as the eye could see. We didn't need that so we returned to the rig and are blogging and reading. A nice, quiet day.


We left Oliver at about 10:30 and after a propane stop, headed for Kelowna. Our friends Colin and Contessa live at Holiday Park Resort, about 20 KM north of Kelowna and that is where we had reservations. We checked in, hooked up the power and headed to our friends lakeside site for Happy Hour which turned into much longer than an hour.

We came back to the rig and made a half hearted attempt to set up the TV but gave up until daylight tomorrow when it will be a little easier.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Oliver, Day Six

Our time in Oliver is over. We couldn't have had better weather and we toured our share of wineries. Penny's parents liver here after her dad retired from the Vancouver Sun many years ago. Because of her many visits up here she has become quite the Okanagan wine connoisseur. She became a member of the Tinhorn Winery Crush Club and gets a selection of six bottles of their wine shipped to her house twice a year. She also gets a 15% discount on everything including the fancy on premises restaurant. This is where we were last night.

Tonight we ate one of the two large crabs I bought in Campbell River before we left. What can I say? Steamed crab, melted butter and garlic. Yes, it was wonderful!

Tomorrow we move on to Kelowna after a stop in Oliver to fill the propane tank. Somehow I allowed it to go dry and we finished up the week here with having to heat our hot water on the induction stove. Tines are tough!


Penny and Croft on Vancouver's Granville Street, Theatre Row 1961. Foncie's Fotos. 16 years old. Date Night!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and night

Who Am I With?

People are asking, "Who is your traveling companion"?
Her name is Penny, a woman I have known since my mid teens, almost 60 years. We met in 1960, dated from 1961 until 1963 (grades ten to twelve) and have remained friends ever since. A while ago we started talking on the phone and texting. She volunteers at the Victoria Cancer Center and was able to offer a sympathetic ear and an insight that I was lacking. Our conversations went on for hours. When I had to go down to Victoria to meet with Norma's Pension Office, we met for lunch. I had last seen her 6 years before at our last High School Reunion but during our lengthy lunch the years just seemed to evaporate.
She is unattached, has a son just a year or so younger than Brooks, is retired from the banking industry and owns a condo in Victoria. Like me, she loves to travel but also like me, is not excited about doing it alone. She is an excellent chef and loves cooking and eating gourmet meals! Which just by chance as do I!
We are traveling as friends but are both open to whatever develops. So far we are having a great time and she is teaching me to laugh again and the rapid weight loss I was slightly concerned about seems to have stopped. So far, everything is on the plus side.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Oliver, Day Five

Another quiet day in the hot Okanagan (after a bit of morning rain) for us until we drove down the road to our dinner reservation at the Tinhorn Creek Winery restaurant. We ate on the patio, enjoying a great meal of Arctic Char for me and Braised Lamb Belly for my friend. We shared a nice bottle of Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir. Also featured was a great view of the valley and vineyards.

Oliver Day Four

It was a do nothing day. Well, except for a frantic early morning trip to Canadian Tire to replace a coffee maker that decided to give up the ghost. It was less than a month old so I took it with me (no packaging or receipt) and after checking their computer, they allowed me to exchange it for a better brand. Other than that we did nothing. Dinner was another batch of the Shrimp Pasta Alfredo, a baguette and a very nice bottle of wine!

On a personal note, I am learning to laugh again and my appetite is returning!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Okanagan Trip!

Many of you know I was getting ready for a nice trip down the Oregon Coast. That is until I got a quote for travel medical insurance of $900 for a month. My friend who is traveling with me was hit with $1,500 for the month so it was a no brainer to switch to a tour of BC's Okanagan Wine Country. The following are cut and pastes from Facebook.

Change Of Plans
Not an unusual thing for me. Medical insurance costs have caused me to substitute destinations for my little vacation . Instead of Oregon's Pinot Noir I will be sampling British Columbia's Pinot Noir!
I am off to BC's Okanagan on Friday morning for a very leisurely voyage of discovery, I must admit to a certain feeling of relief for avoiding contributing my hard earned dollars to Trump's America. The wine here is just as good but the politics oh so much better!
Plus I will have a lot more money to spend on wine and food. I will not be missing out on the crab either as I will be taking a couple of very large fresh frozen ones with me. Add garlic butter to suit.
So aside from missing a possible meeting with my American friends Bill and Dee, this change of plans will turn out for the best.

Sunday morning in Princeton, BC and it is raining and cold! What is going on? This is the Okanagan!
We had a nice visit with my old workmate/friend Keith Olsen, resident and former mayor of Princeton. We spent an hour or so catching up on each others lives.
Today, on to Oliver and the start of the wine tours! And hopefully some better weather!

We left Princeton around 10:00 am, stopped at the fabulous fruit/vegetable stand in Keremeos to stock up and carried on to Oliver. My buddy Rick no longer owns the Maple Leaf RV Park so no deals here and we ended up paying $50 per night but for a week we got one day free. So we are staying for a week.
We drove back to Tinhorn Creek Winery for a tasting and bought a nice bottle of 2015 Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir. It will go nicely tomorrow night with one of two slabs of salmon we brought with us.

Oliver Day One
Nice breakfast of eggs, toast and hash browns and then headed out to tour three wineries. Tasted many wines and bought one bottle at each place. We are stocking up!

Dinner was a beautiful slab of Sockeye Salmon.

Oliver Day Two
Lazy morning, breakfast and visits to two more wineries. We didn't find any wine we couldn't walk away from but did buy a nice bottle of Burrowing Owl port and a bottle of very expensive balsamic vinegar. Back at the rig now enjoying a nice vodka and V8 before dinner. Dinner was the rest of the Sockeye.

Oliver, Day Three
We decided this morning that this was going to be a "do nothing" day But after a message from our friend Contessa we decided to book a spot in their RV park north of Kelowna for next week (Sept 1 - 8). That done we went to check out a nearby winery that came highly recommended but which disappointed our taste buds - except for their Merlot which we purchased two bottles of. Maybe tomorrow will be our "do nothing" day.

Dinner tonight was a fabulous Shrimp Linguine with Alfredo sauce with Russian Red Garlic added. Delicious. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Change Of Plans

Not an unusual thing for me. Medical insurance costs have caused me to substitute destinations for my little vacation . Instead of Oregon's Pinot Noir I will be sampling British Columbia's Pinot Noir!

I am off to BC's Okanagan on Friday morning for a very leisurely voyage of discovery, I must admit to a certain feeling of relief for avoiding contributing my hard earned dollars to Trump's America. The wine here is just as good but the politics oh so much better!

Plus I will have a lot more money to spend on wine and food. I will not be missing out on the crab either as I will be taking a couple of very large fresh frozen ones with me. Add garlic butter to suit.

So aside from missing a possible meeting with my American friends Bill and Dee, this change of plans will turn out for the best.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


The endless paperwork is nearing an end, summer is drawing to a close and I want to get out of town! The Oregon Coast has always been a favorite destination although I have usually been in too big a hurry to explore it on the way south and on the way back north, well.... weather.

The motorhome is almost ready to go and I am planning a trip down the Washington / Oregon Coast later this month. A leisurely pace with lots of time to explore small seaside towns, coffee shops and seafood! Staying with my usual method of travel I have no itinerary, no reservations and no final destination. Maybe as far as California, maybe not My moves will occur whenever I tire of a place or think I have seen all there is to see. Travel days will be short and my feet will spend more time "up" than on the pedals. I will be gone four to five weeks.

I am going to have a good time! Did I mention I am going to eat a lot of crab dipped in garlic and butter? And Oregon's Pinot Noir?

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Great Sendoff!

Norma got to celebrate what would have been her 77th birthday with a great sendoff! Her Celebration Of Life was held on our lawn Saturday afternoon with a gathering of many friends and political allies!

Our good friends Sharon (her main political ally) and Rick came a couple of days early to help me get things ready and Brooks and his friend CJ came on Friday. Brooks rented chairs, tables and a sound system which we set up on the front porch looking out over the lawn. Everything worked beautifully!

Our granddaughter Jayde emceed the whole affair with help from Sharon. Between them they read out about a dozen letters from politicians Norma has worked with and for over the years, These tributes included letters from the current Premier John Horgan, two former Premiers (Clark and Harcourt), the current Minister of The Environment George Heyman and a former Minister of Education Moe Sihota. Many other organizer friends also sent letters with many humerous and some serious stories of Norma. She was hugely respected among her peers. Our old friend and former Premier Dan Miller was also here and spoke a beautiful tribute to Norma.

Here are a few lines from the letter from our long time friend and former Premier of BC, Glen Clark;

"Norma Randle was a hero of mine.......... Inside the NDP there are a few Norma Randles. Men and women (mostly women) who do all the hard work - the unglamorous work of organizing and trench warfare. Because of Norma, people like me could get elected. And because of Norma, I got a chance to be part of a government that tried to make a difference."

I found these words particularity touching because Norma loved Glen Clark and there was nothing she was more proud of than the countless weeks, days and hours she spent getting him elected. He was her hero as well!

There was some doubt in my mind that I could pull it off without tears but I managed to get through my speech. After thanking everyone I recounted some of my stories about Norma including the one of how we met and of some of her other antics over the past 55 years we were together. Jayde did a fantastic job keeping everything on track and moving along and Brooks, after watching Jayde and I get through it decided to forget his pledge to not speak and gave a wonderful tribute to his mom.

It was a wonderful day. The weather was perfect and the food prepared by Brooks and CJ was even better. My biggest mistake was in forgetting to give my camera to Sierrah to get some photos so if anyone has any photos, please send them to me.

Norma was so loved and respected and would be so pleased with her Celebration. It was a wonderful day and may help provide some closure for her friends and family. Her loss leaves a hole in our hearts that will be very hard to fill!

Here is a photo of our immediate family provided by our friend Les. It is LindaLee, Brooks, Jayde, Sierrah and myself.

And some photos taken by Richard

Monday, July 22, 2019

Goodbye Honda!

The Honda is going! She accompanied us on so many adventures and was a faithful companion. I remember the day my dad proudly drove it home (brand new) in 1988! But sadly at just over 300,000 KM it has reached the time it has to go. I donated it to the Kidney Foundation who has promised to have it gone by Thursday. It is leaking oil as fast as I can put it in and something serious is wrong with the electrical system. It would cost far more to fix it than it is worth and I simply do not need two cars now. I am sad to see it go. Here it is in Veracruz, Mexico with it's fresh paint job!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Living Alone

It is just about four months now since I lost Norma on March 24th. I am doing relatively fine, leaning on friends. I have been down to visit Brooks a couple of times and he has been up here to help me with a fence repair and the granddaughters were up with their other grandmother to take some of Norma's clothes so I have not really been alone for extended periods.

Still, loneliness does take it's toll. I try to "do" something every day and have been pretty good at accomplishing this. Norma's (and my) friend Kelly has become my official housekeeper slash gardener and has been doing a great job at that although she never accepts what I figure I owe her. I have been keeping the house fairly clean on my own and in fact last time Kelly came in, looked around and announced the house did not need her attention. She also went through all of Norma's clothing and separated it into several categories and did most of the work in the dispensing of these clothes. I have told Kelly this and I really mean it, I don't think I could have managed the first few months without her. Thank you so much Kelly, I will never be able to repay you! Norma and I worked away from each other so much that I remained or became very adept at feeding myself  and doing my own laundry and such so that is no problem.

Overall, I miss having someone around to talk to. We always discussed things like financial and travel decisions and now I am on my own on these issues. Also the little things like our resident pair of eagles having a conversation from the trees in the back yard. I find myself wanting to call someone to come out back and listen to their performance with me but there is no one to call. The house is so silent now.

Brooks and I are holding a Celebration of Life on July 27th (Norma's birthday) and I am hoping that will bring some closure for us. I sent out an invitation to most of my email list but really have no idea what kind of a crowd to expect. I hope the weather is good so we can stay outside on the patios and the porch but either way, rain or shine it is happening. If you are a friend of Norma's or mine and I missed you, please try to drop in around four on July 27. Bring your favorite beverage and if you are local, a snack to share as well as a couple of chairs if you have them as seating is always limited. Bring your favorite "Norma" stories as I am sure many laughs will be exchanged.  Our friend Sharon tells me there will be some letters from people Norma worked her political magic with and for and these will be entertaining.

I know now that I am going to be OK! I will get through this period of my life! I know I am not good on my own and like Brooks says, "Dad, you need a traveling companion". I know he is right and I am starting to look toward the future instead of just the past and the present. I will be OK!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Credit Card Compromised!

Just what I need! A mysterious charge of $13 for "shipping" appeared on my Visa card a week or two ago. I called Visa and they gave me the name of a company and a phone number. I called and they told me I had signed up for a "subscription" to "Men's Health Pills" for $44 per month with the first month being free except for the shipping.. I explained I had done no such things and knew nothing about it and to please immediately cancel the subscription. He refused to do so saying he was only authorized to offer me the first three months at half price. I yelled at him but it did no good, he hung up on me.

I put in an online fraud complaint to Visa and was contacted the next day. They were very familiar with this company and had dealt with them before. He reversed the shipping charge and told me the only way to avoid ongoing monthly charges was to cancel my Visa card and account number and get a new one! This is very inconvenient as I have some recurring charges using this card and would have to change all of them. But my card number is evidently "out there" so I have no choice.

I got my new card, tested it and all is well. However a few legitimate charges totaling about $200 (all made about the time of the fraud) have been lost in the process. Grocery purchases, gas, etc that I legitimately made. I called Visa and they have no record of them ever having been charged and can offer no solution. I could go to these companies and offer payment again but then what if the original charge should then appear? I would be paying double. If I simply wait it out I might be in danger of affecting my credit rating.

In the meantime I received a package in the mail with a bottle of pills. Who knows what they are made of? I put them away unopened in case at some point I have to return them. Damn scammers!

Image result for credit card scammer

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Norma's Clothes Are Gone!

It has been just over three months since Norma passed and her friend Kelly has been busy sorting through her closets, drawers and storage bins. She ended up with two piles, one pile of ten large garbage bags of Norma's everyday clothes that we sold for $50 on Facebook in a "no sorting, take it all or nothing" sale and another pile of twenty-two large garbage bags of her higher end clothing and one huge cardboard box full of shoes. Much of the clothing and many of the shoes still had price tags on them.

Norma had mentioned how much she liked the fact that the Women's Transition Society provided nice clothing for women leaving shelters and re-entering the workforce so she did my work for me in determining a worthy recipient for her clothes. Those of you who knew Norma know she had excellent (and expensive) taste in clothes.

The Transition House has a driver and he came over today with his trailer and we carried everything out. His trailer was almost full when he pulled out. I should have taken a photo but I did not.

I am now moving my stuff out of my drawers and into the bedroom closet. Her other two closets will find a new use, yet to be determined.

Thank you for all the help sorting and dealing with her clothes Kelly. I literally could not have done it without you. I am feeling sad and relieved at the same time but the job is done. Maybe one of the hardest jobs.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Norma's Roses!

They are coming in. Thanks Kelly! I know it was your Green Thumb!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Everest Traffic Jam

Mount Everest (From

So many people are climbing Mount Everest these days that "traffic jams" often develop. And these jams may have contributed to the deaths this week of two mountaineers. Indian climber Anjali Kulkarni, 55, died on her way back from climbing to the summit, and American mountaineer Donald Lynn Cash, 55, died after fainting from high altitude sickness while descending. One climber posted a photo Wednesday (May 22) of the heavy human traffic on Everest, estimating that about 320 people were in a line waiting to stand on the summit in an area known as the "death zone." More than 200 climbers have died on the peak since 1922. Most bodies are believed to still be buried under glaciers or snow.

320 people lined up to summit Mt. Everest! Sir Edmund Hillary will be turning over in his grave!

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


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.

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