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.