Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ryan Kesler and the Canucks

I will start by saying that I am a devoted Canuck fan and always have been. I am in no way bashing the Canucks, just expressing displeasure with the way fans are treating him.

Lately I have been reading a lot from Canucks fans about how angry they are with Ryan Kesler for leaving. Talk is that they will boo him during his return game, and are calling him self-centered. This is a total dishonor to what he has done for the team over the years. He spent 10 years playing for them, putting up great numbers, sacrificing his body, and giving his all every game. He carried the team during their playoff runs, when the better paid Sedins did not produce. He had already requested a trade last year, and when that didn't happen, he still continued to sweat blood for the Canucks every game, playing ridiculous ice time each game, wearing him thin.

Can you really blame the guy if he wants to win a cup in the near future? Isn't that every single players dream? Iginla is trying the same after leaving the Flames, and Alfredsson did the same after Ottawa, that's only a couple of examples. Why is it so bad that Kesler wishes the same? He isn't getting any younger and the Canucks won't be cup ready for 4-5 years yet as their young talent develops. Is it a little self-centered? Yeah sure it is, but if he wants to accomplish his Stanley Cup dream before he has to retire, he kind of has to think about himself. At the end of the day he wants to play and he wants to win. Why shouldn't such a hard working, skilled player have a true shot at a Cup ring?

What Canuck fans should be doing is cheering his move, and wishing him all the best in his future NHL endeavors. He gets to play with another class act, Ryan Getzlaf, so be happy for that. take a page from the Flames book, and give him an honor screen at the first game back at the Rogers Arena, just like with Iginla, thus giving the guy the respect he deserves. I personally hope that Anaheim has a deeper playoff run this year and that Kesler can win his Cup the year, getting that out of his system, so that he can return to the Canucks satisfied and use his Cup Ring to inspire the young Canuck prospects to strive for just that. It may make him a better leader in the end.

So stop being a bunch of whiners and grow up, such is the world of sports!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Buried Children by Daniel Farcas

Buried Children by Daniel Farcas  2/5 Stars

This is a write Daniel has at the beginning: In an effort to increase Romania’s population, the communist dictator Nicolae 
Ceausescu authorized Decree 770 in 1967 that criminalized contraception and abortion.
Abandoned and unwanted by their parents, thousands of children ended up in state 
orphanages where they were neglected and abused, and later become homeless on 
Bucharest streets. This is the journal entries of one of them.

Loved the heart felt honesty of the story. For someone to share this so openly demands respect. The book tells the story of several orphans as the grow and struggle with the aftereffects of the cruelty. It does a good job of making one feel for the characters. I found it to be kind of choppy though, lacking a flow or rhythm. with a little bit of filling out and working on the flow issues it could be improved greatly. The end (last quarter) was about the best written and flowed the best out of the book. It was difficult at times to connect with the characters, as they weren't really filled out. They came and went so often, although part of this is due to the fact that they would have actually been doing that and it is a true story. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Graffiti Highlights

I have been taking tonnes of pictures of Graffiti of late, April, May, June. Here are some highlights from these pictures.






















Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Camera Photos


I got my new camera a week ago and I have been playing around with the settings, trying to learn how to use it. It's been a fun, and at times frustrating, process. I have been able to capture some photos I was quite happy with. here is a sampling of some of the ones I liked.

 The above one is called Time for Friendship. in the below photo I love the cobweb going across the top of the photo, took a bunch of photos to capture a few I was happy with, this was one of those.

 Loved the above photo, just wish the light reflection wasn't in the clock face. In the below photo I liked the way that the light brought out the details in the figurine.



 I love the above photo, one of my faves. The below picture is pretty cool as well.




 The lighting in the above shot is really cool, brings out the Love really nicely.
 The above picture has really cool shadow features. The below photo reminds me of a 3D roller coaster ride that would be fun to ride on.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Photographic Memories (Literally)

 I was going through my old photos CDs today and was enjoying all the memories from Millar College of the Bible, to my wedding/honeymoon, to living in Saskatoon. My during these times wasn't that great, but I did manage to find a few nice gems. I will show them below. Most however made me shake my head wishing I had had a nicer camera for taking the photos, but also at my inexperience. I can definitely see improvement in my shots over the past few years, so hopefully over the next few years my skills will continue to improve.


 Above: Although the colour on this photo is kind of dull, I kind of like the way this flower turned out.
Below: This frog fountain from Bouchard Gardens in Victoria, BC turned out to be a really cool photo, after I cut my knees out of the shot of course. My new computer background.

 Above: I love this photo. It is so cool. Would make a good poster I think.
Below: This clock was kind of a cool picture as well. Got that vintage feel.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

School and Getting Married

This is the final segment in the parts of my story I am going to post on here. Thanks to all who have read this. Hope you got a few chuckles out of it.

School and Getting Married

            Moving into the dorms at Millar College of the Bible was a challenge for me. I am such a neat freak, and highly organized so sharing my space with a roommate took some adjustment. My roommate was an extrovert though, so he made friends quickly and was often not in our room, which gave me some of my own time alone. I had my assignment pile where I was done all of my assignments for the whole semester within the first half of the semester. This enabled me to be relaxed and actually hang out and make some friends in the last half of the first semester. While my roommate and a lot of others were busy cramming the day before due dates trying to get everything done, I was relaxing, hanging out, and playing a video game my roommate had introduced me to. Millar had a great mentorship program that was a requirement. It was a huge blessing for me. My mentor was two years above me and he helped talk me through a lot of problems I was having. He helped me remember how helpful it was to turn to the Bible for answers.
            While there, I recall meeting an old friend and although drinking was forbidden while attending college, we would fill up a Nalgene bottle with a bunch of Vodka and Minute Maid juice, and drink after the College and Career that we were helping out with as part of our class at Millar. The other program I helped with was an online counseling chat room. This was really rewarding, and enjoying this program encouraged me to go through with my plans to get into Youth Care Work.
            I found that many people at Millar would enjoy playing cribbage, a game I love, so I got to play a lot of cribbage. Another thing I loved at Millar was mentoring and hanging out with a young boy, the son of one of our older students attending Millar. He was really good at basketball and I taught him to play cribbage. I would take him to church and after Millar he would come to my house to spend the night and play videogames/cribbage. I often took him out for coffee or ice cream. This experience was more beneficial for me than I think this young boy will ever realize. I would gladly do this for other struggling kids. His mother became a good friend of mine while I was there and for some time afterwards. She wanted to become a Christian Counselor and she helped talk me through some of my issues as well.
             After college I moved in with Karen’s brother Daryl, which I enjoyed. I got a job at the Co-op again, only this time I was working in their shipping and receiving department. I was excited about the prospect of getting married to my best friend and was glad to be able to spend more time with her. 
            The day of the wedding was nerve racking. I was excited yet extremely nervous. I do not like being the focus of a crowd, and how much more focused can the attention get? Camera in your face, more cameras flashing, and a video camera rolling, was a little too much for someone who hates their picture being taken. Anyway Kim came down to the basement where Karen was and gave her a bracelet. Karen says she was fine until our wedding song began, then her father gave her Kleenexes as she cried. Most of this day is a blur of hectic busyness, but I will never forget watching her come down the aisle. She was beautiful in her dress. The rest of the world seemed to cease existence and time slowed. She was the only thing that mattered. We said our vows and gave the crowd a hesitant kiss, as we hate public displays of affection. We were then driven around to our photographing locations. It was already a long tiring day, but we still had the reception to go through. It was busy and we didn’t even get to eat our cake. Our kissing game earned more kisses. A pig teapot was sent around for money, as Karen has a pig collection. Her cousins taped condoms and body chocolate around the outside of the pot, which we got a chuckle out of. We were glad when this was all over, but we still had to rush to Regina, as we flew out for our honeymoon in Victoria, BC in the morning. 
            Amy drove us out to Regina and we almost had a run-in with a semi driver who kept shining his bright lights at us. At the hotel room we were exhausted, but my knees were acting up so badly I was in agony, which is what happens when I get too tired. So I had to have a hot bath to soak them. Victoria was a wonderful city. We enjoyed sight seeing and visiting nice restaurants. We had Crème Brule, steaks, scallops, alcoholic beverages, and an assortment of other tasty goods. We visited the Wax Museum, the Legislative building, Bouchard Gardens, and an assortment of other attractions. We also still joke about the “turn down service”. The way they said it was amusing for some reason and they would leave us great chocolates on our pillows every day.
            Shortly after our honeymoon came my heart procedure. The recovery was not so nice this time, as we would discover the pain in my ribs at this point. My rib pain would imitate a heart attack and I still deal with this to this day, only now it is more aggressive.
            Next we moved to Saskatoon to attend SIAST. My Youth Care Worker course was a challenge for me emotionally. I had to deal with all the issues in my life and learn about helping others deal with the same issues. Then during my two practicum placements I would have to deal with kids who were suffering with much of the same issues. I can’t go into great details on these placements for confidentiality issues, but my group home placement was especially heart breaking for me. After my practicum I would work nights at the group home. I made what I thought were good friends during this time, but only one really put in an effort after school, and eventually I would lose touch with that friend as well. After we both passed our first year, we would have to return home to Swift Current after the government failed to give us any student loans for Karen to finish her course.
            While we were still living in Saskatoon I would get my first book published. I may not have sold a lot of copies, but it was a learning experience. It would take much of the enjoyment out of my writing and eventually lead to a break from writing. However I did enjoy doing book readings at schools, a book reading at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon, as well as a writing workshop at a local school. I loved these times. Kids are a lot of fun as they ask the most random questions. Examples of my two favorite questions are: “Do you like pickles?” and “What is your favorite colour?”
            I would work at Liquidation World for a while, and work as a substitute Teacher’s Assistant, before taking a job at Co-op to work in the footwear department.
            We went to Mexico for our Anniversary a couple years after I started at Co-op. This trip was very fun. I loved relaxing on the beaches of the resort with a good book in my hand. We even got free massages while there, as they didn’t have our proper room ready for us until the day after we arrived. There were a couple of things we did while we were there. We went on a city tour, which showed us the rich and poor sections of town, before taking us up the hillside. Our bus stopped at a local restaurant, where we got to decide what we wanted to eat, fish or chicken. Karen chose the chicken and I order the Mahi Mahi fish. A chicken had been wandering around the restaurant, but disappeared shortly after we ordered. I hate avocados, but they had they best guacamole and homemade salsa there. We then headed to a Tequila brewery, where we got to sample different flavours, yum! We also went to an island for a romantic evening. We ate out in the open air with a view of the ocean, and had entertainment of people acting like Aztecs.

            We bought Karen’s grandmother’s place from Karen’s parents a few years back and redid the whole house, which was a lot of work, and is still a work in progress. Then after Karen got back from a work trip to Los Angeles, she was feeling ill. We then found out that we were expecting Braeden. It was an Oh Crap moment, but it was a great surprise. He was born on my birthday which was extra special for me. Now we are enjoying raising him and learning just as much as he is. Parenting is a precious time that I must say has been and continues to be rewarding. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

High School and Frontier

High School
           
            Right before high school we kicked off our Wymark graduation by taking a field trip up north to one of our teacher’s cabins. We had to canoe out to the cabin, which was hard work, but fun. I developed a new crush on this trip, but realized early in high school that she was trying really hard to get into the cool groups, and this was extremely unattractive to me, so this crush ended pretty early on. Anyways we tented on the island and would go out early to try catching fish, something I actually knew a fair amount about. One of the students kissed a fish, and us guys shoved some of the girls into the ice cold water. On our portage my knee gave out on me and I believe Karen’s did as well (little did I know that this must have been a sign of a relationship to come). I felt bad for my partner and had to limp back while someone else helped with the canoe.
High school was spent at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School. It was here that I became a floater. I jumped from group to group. I was friends with pretty much everyone, but not close to very many people. Something that assisted my floater status in grade ten was being labeled a “smart kid”. The “cool kids” who were either too stupid or too lazy to do their own work, would hang around me so that I would help them with their homework, joining my groups in classes. I knew what was happening, and put a stop to it when a couple of guys wouldn’t even acknowledge me when they were with their friends The next time they wanted my help I made it clear to them after that point that I wasn’t being used, so they could start doing their own homework. This cut the cords with a couple of my floater groups, but I could tell they respected me more after that point as others from their group stopped saying insulting things to me as I walked down the halls. One thing that killed this further was when I taught myself to walk up straight and learned to act proud as I walked down the halls, the teasing pretty much stopped after that, and I actually picked up a couple other new floater groups.
My grade ten year found me joining the drama production Antigone as a distraction. I had a lot of fun on this trip, but began to get anxiety attacks while at practice, which I would try to hide from everyone, and not bring up at home. We ended up going to Rosetown and won the regional title. I recall us enjoying this trip and still recall some great moments we had on this trip, including using the shower curtain to make it appear that a fellow drama student and I were caught in the shower. I believe she sent the photo to her boyfriend as a joke. From there we headed off to Regina where we came close to winning the provincial title, taking second. We lost to a group we thought didn’t deserve the title. We felt that the group that took third should have won over us and the group that took first. I went to my first dance at this point and was extremely awkward, but that got a few girls assisting me in trying to teach me how to dance, which was pretty awesome for a young high school student. After the production we loaded up onto the bus to go home and a couple of drunken guys got on the bus. When our teachers started shouting and telling the guys to get off the bus we were shocked, we thought that they were shouting at a couple of guys from our group, only to discover they were ordering these two drunks off the bus.
The summer of grade ten I took a job at Bonanza. The cooks always hogged the fans so I would swelter in my dishwashing corner, and learned fast that I had to drink Gatorade while working or I would be throwing up. I left this job to work at the Pioneer Co-op in town as a student. Here I would work for the last two years of high school. My nickname was Turbo as my organization skills made me really fast at “facing” the products on the shelves, the other students would be asking me to slow down so they didn’t get put to work on something else. I would end up being placed in the dairy section a lot as I was the fastest and most reliable student there. I would also end up picking up everyone else’s shifts when they were too drunk or hung over to come to work. As a result I was able to save to buy my very own top of the line computer, speakers, keyboard, and mouse (the keyboard and mouse are still being used today). I was also able to save a bunch of money while working there, as I drove my parent’s car instead of buying my own.
Grade eleven found me still floating, but as in grade ten my marks were way better than they were in pre-high school years. I still hated school with a passion, but the end was in sight. I would pass the time during classes by writing poems and working on my novels. This was actually a technique that helped me focus and eliminate the distractions of the students around me. Karen and I started sharing more classes and spares, and I began to develop a crush on her. It was grade eleven that Karen started working at Nutter’s with Mandy and they began to get close to each other, which encouraged Mandy to start encouraging me to take Karen out on a date. Sadly that kind of prodding has never worked on me, as I just get defensive. I kept insisting we were just friends, although it was obvious I liked her as I was talking about her more and more. I remember going with her, her sister, and some friends from school to the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. They saved me a spot in the long line outside so that after work I could watch with them. She cried at a few parts and was sniffling so I kept sniffling to tease her. I really got into poetry at this point and would later write her poems when we were dating.
I recall hanging out in the library all three years of school. I would usually end up with a crowd of about 12-15 at my table, and we were only supposed to have four at a table to keep the noise level down. I would end up kicked out many times. Those poor librarians! The librarians would say that it was a library not a party. I would always say “Party at my table” in response. We had nicknames for each librarian that was not the nicest, and I wish I had been nicer to them. I would sneak up the stairs with a friend of mine into the upper library, and we would line up books on the railing, then we’d declare “timber” and push them down into the lower level. Funny memories, but I sure wish I had been more mature.
In grade twelve my parents moved down to Frontier so my Dad could take a position as the CFO of Honey Bee MFG (they make farming equipment). Rather than taking me out of school in my senior year, they paid to rent a place for me in Swift Current. I got a taste of freedom and loved it.
I got the courage to ask Karen to be my escort at our grad and was relieved when she accepted. That was when everyone started asking me if I liked her, to which I would always reply that we were just friends. Eventually I would get the nerve to ask her out on a date. I had a creative way all planned out and even got to put my writing to good use. She had asked to borrow a CD of mine, so I put a poem asking her out inside the CD. One of her best friends almost spoiled this before it even began. When I went to hand the CD to Karen, her friend grabbed the CD. Thankfully she never opened the case! I believe I called her that night to discuss the note, and we decided to meet during our morning spare to talk. At this meeting we set out guidelines. We wanted a relationship that was going to be respectful to our Christian beliefs, and we certainly did not want the disgustingly physical relationships we saw all around the high school. We have never been ones who enjoy Public Displays of Affection. Eventually we would revaluate our relationship and set new guidelines.

Graduation came and it was a pretty happy day. We enjoyed escorting each other around, and the party afterwards was fun. I had a sad note on this day though. I had to leave the party early as we were moving me down to Frontier early the next morning. This would mean being away from Karen for longer periods of time.
Frontier

            Moving to Frontier was difficult. The people are very friendly and are wonderful people, but there is not a lot there for young people to do. I had to leave my girlfriend miles away and I hated losing the taste of freedom I had gotten. I had to move back in with my parents and go to work at Honey Bee MFG which is not the type of job I enjoy. Still the job itself was not bad. I got to drive a parts truck across the border and pack people’s orders. I was doing this to save up to go to massage therapy.
            I would call Karen during this time almost every night, and went up for many a weekend. Occasionally she would come down to visit me as well. I wrote many poems for her during this time. 
            One day they decided to start training me on the forklifts. I was completely fine driving the big diesel, in fact it was fun. However I hated the little electric forklift, it moved too quick and was really hard to steer with just a stick to turn it. I was supposed to practice in open space, but was put in amongst the shelves instead. This resulted in my bumping into our wobbly shelving units which toppled over like dominoes. Luckily no one was hurt during this incident. During the winter, hours slowed down and I was transferred into the assembly line. One day while over there I was lifting a really heavy load with someone else and they did not lift at the same time. This resulted in a tear in my back muscles. I saw a chiropractor who helped me out, and after a few months I was able to return to work. I started out helping in the office, but as my back got stronger I was moved into the fabrication department where I was able to sit and do parts pressing and drilling. After this I decided that it would better if I did not go into massage therapy.
At one point I came to visit Karen and I would propose in poetry, she said yes. It was a time of trepidation for both sets of parents as we were so young, but we convinced them that we were ready. So the wedding planning began and would continue while I was attending Millar College of the Bible. Didn’t quite get our way with everything, but we weren’t paying for the wedding as our parents had agreed to split the cost.
            My doctor down in Frontier discovered that I had a heart condition. It would give me heart palpitations and cause tachycardia. I had to be careful with this and watch not to overexert myself. At one point we thought I was having a heart attack and I had to take an ambulance ride from work to the clinic in Climax. We discovered that it was an anxiety attack and the doctor would teach me how to deal with anxiety attacks and learn how to fight them off. My first heart procedure for correcting this problem was when I was attending Millar Bible College. I would return to Frontier for two weeks after this as part of the recovery. The procedure did not hold very long and I was scheduled to have the second procedure right after Karen and I were to be married. This one held at least so I would not have to go through this uncomfortable procedure again. I remember that during this second procedure I was in the hospital during the NHL playoffs. I was cheering for Anaheim as Travis Moen was on their team, and Anaheim won. I enjoyed giving the nurses a hard time while I was in their ward. My parents and Karen would sneak me in good food during this time.   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Living in Rhineland

Living in Rhineland

            Returning back home involved a lot of cleanup, but our neighbors were happy to see us return home. We were pleased to discover that a new pastor had moved in across the street. Alvin and I befriended the pastor’s daughters. This family was a blessing to us. The pastor’s wife would bring us biscuits and invite us for supper when Mandy’s sister was ill and eventually passed away from Cancer. We would go to their place for the night when our plug-in in the garage would overload and burn our Ford Tempo up, nearly taking the house with it. On this occasion Alvin came to my room a couple of times to say that he smelled smoke. I thought he was just trying to play a trick on me, so I told him he was crazy and that he should go back to bed. His bedroom was closer to the garage than mine, so when the smell reached my room I realized that he was serious. We ran upstairs to tell my parents, who were in bed and thought that they could faintly smell it. The volunteer fire department was brought out, but our neighbors had already stepped into action. They assisted my Dad in getting the car pushed out of the garage and into our driveway. Alvin and I then headed over to the pastor’s place to spend the night. We sat in the basement of their home watching Hogan’s Heroes, while we awaited news of our house. When we heard that the house was safe, we slept the night at their house as well.
            Alvin and I would spend a lot of time playing war around our property, it was out favorite past time. We had two lilac forts scattered around the property, as well as an old granary shed that we converted into a fort. We also played baseball in the large yard, again I would always pitch and Alvin would crack the ball over our barn. My Dad would play soccer and hockey in our backyard which we would enjoy. In behind the pastor’s house was a basketball court that we would often spend time shooting hoops. On one of these occasions Dad would slam into the pole that held up the net. When one of our neighbors moved away they gave each of us bows, without arrows. Alvin and I then made our own arrows out of branches, and would shoot them around. One time we actually shot the wing of one of the pigeons in our hayloft, which resulted in Mandy taking our bows away for a week. I also got a slingshot at some point. I setup a target practice in our hog barn. Alvin I had a fight that I remember well on this property. I thought he was going to kill me so I was screaming at the top of my lungs running around in a section of land behind our backyard. I saw a fresh cow patty so I turned and kicked it at him, I scored a great shot. The manure caught him square in the mouth and eyes, took the fight right out of him. Most times he got the better of me.
            There were a couple of times that we nearly burned down the property, besides the garage fire. Both were because of burning garbage in our burn barrel. The wind came up and blew a cardboard box out setting fire to the property. The neighbors came and helped us put it out before it got to do any permanent damage. I believe this happened a second time as well. I also recall Alvin’s loud snores keeping me awake at night sometimes, so I would bang on his wall to wake him up so I could try to get back to sleep. This would result in middle-of-the-night fights.
            We had a few animals on the acreage. The horse we sold on the move to Calgary, so we didn’t have horses anymore. Now we had a few cows and always had a few chickens. Our nastiest chickens we ever had was when we bought a couple of silky chickens. They would attack anyone who came near, so we didn’t replace them after butcher time came. One rooster we had was also pretty defensive of his hens. We had free range eggs available which was really nice. The chickens would wander the property freely. The cow’s fresh milk was nice as well. We had one barn cat on the acreage as well, his name was Goldy. One year we went on holidays and this cat was gone. A cat that we hated was our neighbor’s cat, as this cat would attack our cat and did not like us coming near it. One time this cat jumped up and grabbed the back of my leg digging in all four claws and dug its teeth into my leg as well. In the barn we would often open our grain bag and find mice in the grain. Alvin would use gloves to scoop them out and throw on the floor, where I would hit them with a hockey stick. We also had a huge garden plot that we grew a wide variety of vegetables in. I remember hating all the weeding and watering this involved.
            Our church youth group was great at this time. We enjoyed a lot of good times with them. We went on citywide scavenger hunts in our vehicles, messy games nights, bottle drives, as well as many other fun activities. I remember one movie night at our youth pastor’s home. As per usual, all of us guys were wrestling. I have always been super flexible and have a determination not to give up. I was wrestling someone and after a long battle, his finger ended up in my nose while he was trying to get to my head. I ended up with a large tear inside my nose and I still have a lump of scar tissue where the tear was. I didn’t even feel that my nose was bleeding until it was on the youth pastor’s carpet and he got us to stop. Another movie night we were at a friends place and we stayed out there way too late. My Dad called to tell us to get our butts home. What I enjoyed most was the nights that we got together to play floor hockey. I would play although I would have sore knees and would end up being short of breath. These were still very fun nights. One Easter, it was grade eight I believe, I got baptized at church.

            My return to Wymark School was met with a lot of excitement. I was happy to reunite with everyone. One of my old friends never forgave me for leaving however, and that friendship was never repaired. We were enemies. One time we were playing four squares and he stole my spot which annoyed me, but I let it slide. The next time I took his spot and I didn’t expect a physical altercation out of the deal, but I ended up being thrown against the wall behind us, which sprained my ankle, just in time for school pictures. I recall giving the noon hour supervisors a lot of trouble in my time there. For one teacher I ended up writing a bunch of extra reports as I couldn’t keep quiet in his class. I would usually stay inside at lunch to read or do my homework, as I hated taking homework home. This resulted in my being a tool for two teachers to use to play pranks on each other, which I enjoyed, and also enjoyed the candy they would use to bribe me into secrecy. At some point I tried out for basketball and my knee made a cracking noise, giving me a bunch of pain. My Dad was at the tryout as part of the coaching staff, and when I started crying he thought I was just getting frustrated as I couldn’t keep up with the guy I was guarding. I tried to push on, but ended up having to sit as my knee swelled up. It was at this point we discovered I had Osgood’s disease in my knees, so I shouldn’t do very much for sports, which was devastating as I loved playing sports. This disease is where your bones get small micro-fractures in them and results in a build up of calcium that still bothers me to this day, although I have outgrown the bone cracking part. For one of our assignments in school, I was in a group with two people from my class. We went to my friend’s place to work on the project. At some point the guy I was working with decided to go into the sheep pen on the property. He ended up landing with his nards on the electrified sheep fence, which was hilarious, and after we finished laughing, we ran to see if he was okay, which he was. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Moving

Moving

            Before we moved I became a Christian, I believe I was five when that moment took place. We moved to Swift Current, Saskatchewan just in time for me to start in Oman School in grade two. I liked this school better than Kent School, but still didn’t like it. One thing I recall about this school was that I had an ear infection while attending. I also recall that we all had to eat our lunch in the gymnasium and they had a noise meter that we couldn’t go past. To this day that seems like just about the dumbest thing in the world, why shouldn’t kids be allowed to talk while they eat their lunches? It was this school that earned me my second kiss. It was a young girl in my class, and was during gym class. We all had to do push ups, and she asked me if I had ever kissed a girl before. I lied and said no. She then asked me if I wanted to. What a stupid question to ask any guy! I was excited but played it cool, responding with “Sure”. We kissed and the teacher saw us. I recall getting in trouble for this when I got home. I also recall a black bird nest that was above the entrance to this school, so in the spring the two black birds dive-bombed kids entering the school so the teachers had to get rid of the nest. We also went crazy-carpeting in the sand dunes. I believe this was the same trip that we took to see Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. I also recall Alvin and I throwing snowballs at some kids who insulted us on our way home from school, we went overboard and got in trouble from our parents, as well as at school, where we had to write ‘I will not throw snowballs’ a bunch of times. There was also a girl there who would chase me around every lunch hour, driving me absolutely bonkers. I would tell her day after day to stop and she would keep doing it. One day I decided to put an end to it once and for all. She chased me and I turned around and kicked her shin. She told the supervisor and I had to sit in the principal’s office yet again (this seemed a common occurrence at Oman). My Dad spanked my butt for this when I got home. I found out afterwards that she chased me because she had a crush on me. Maybe my kick in the shin put an end to that?
            The funny part about our moving to Swift Current is the house we moved to. It was a run down old house that needed to be bulldozed. Karen and I now live right next door to this house and it still is being rented out, despite needing a demolition. I now live in the house that I recall playing in many times. The neighbor girl used to invite me over a lot, and she would give me snacks while we played many games. Usually it involved my being her prince and she would be a princess (I believe Aladdin and The Little Mermaid were recreated several times). I found these games tedious, but I got to eat snacks I didn’t get at home, and I got to steal a peck or two during these games. You will find throughout these memories that I usually found a girl or two at most places.
            We moved out to Rhineland, Saskatchewan at some point, and I would spend most of grade three at Wymark School. We loved this farm, it was a small acreage, but large enough to have a few animals. Wymark School was actually my favorite of all the many schools I attended growing up. Here Mandy finally had someplace of her own to keep her horse. At Wymark School I recall being chased around the playground by a group of girls, and at this time I would actually start enjoying that game. I recall having a huge crush on of these girls who shall remain nameless. I had developed two good friends at this time and they had come over to my house for my birthday. I ran one over with my sled when he wouldn’t move out of the way as I was going down the hill. I got in trouble for this and I apologized to him the next day at school. I believe it was this grade when I started having blackouts during swimming lessons. The instructor wanted me to swim the length of the pool and back again, it was on the way back that I started getting really short of breath and blacked out. Next thing I knew the instructor had dived into the water and dragged me out of the pool. This resulted in my disliking swimming, and I still do to this day. Now I have this thing where I must be really dry after baths/showers/swims and will make my skin really red to make sure I am dry, I can’t stand being wet at all. I would struggle to make my swimming badges after that point. I will avoid swimming now as much as possible. I was devastated when my parents informed us that once again we were moving. It was a short time before grade three was ending. The kids at school threw me a farewell party and Karen gave me Skittles before I left.
            We moved to Calgary, Alberta at this point. I hated this city, especially after being able to live on the acreage. My Dad got a good job at KPMG though and was able to finish his accounting classes to become a CMA. We started out in Huntington Hills, and went to the Huntington Hills School. We only spent a month or two at this school, so I didn’t really have time to make friends. There was a girl who lived nearby that we played with. The backyard of this house was on a hill and Alvin and I used to play baseball. I would always be the pitcher as I loved pitching, and Alvin would always be the batter as he could really cream the ball. On one of these occasions my glove did not come up fast enough and I took the ball square in my eye, giving me a nice shiner for the summer. We then moved to Renfrew. Here we lived in a fourplex, and in what used to be an army compound, so there were lots of homes with kids for us to play with. We used to go for walks in Nosehill Park, where we used to kick the stones away from Druid circles where people would practice their witchcraft in the park. We would often also go for hikes in Kananaskis, which was always a lot of fun. I loved the Bragg Creek Candy Store that was at the park, I have lots of fond memories of this place. A few times Mandy’s nephew Kevin came with us, he and Alvin would talk biking as they both loved their bikes. And Kevin introduced us to chocolate covered coffee beans.
            In Renfrew we attended Renfrew School. Alvin ended up with a couple of good friends in this school. One of these friends picked on Alvin at first until Alvin fought him and the kid ended up with a bloody knee, after that they were friends. I had a few good friends here as well, including a girl of course. I would attend this school for grade four, and part of grade five. Trouble seemed to be easily found in Calgary, especially since a Catholic school was right across the street from this public school. The result of this was a strong rivalry between the two schools. This led to fights, and insults being thrown over each other’s fences. When my “girlfriend” from this school left, it earned me another kiss, but this was a somber occasion. At home we had a few friends we played with. One was a kid who was younger and lived across the parking lot from us. He could be annoying at times, but we still played with him. There was also a Mormon family that lived just down from us. We used to play with their daughter and occasionally her Dad would take us out for ice cream at Peters Drive In. Another family who lived close by was Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their son was our age. We would play with him and we learned a little about both religions through them. Alvin and I took advantage of so many houses being close by during the winter time. We started up our own snow shoveling business, and did quite well. We bought candy and Lego sets with our cash. We also got in a huge mud fight with another set of brothers. They were normally our friends, but we had a disagreement and the mud started flinging, Dad made us clean the outside of the fourplex that we covered in mud. We also went over to another kid’s place to play videogames.
            While in Calgary we rented out our acreage to friends of ours, and I recall that they did not take good care of the place. We had to return home to clean up the place and re-rent it out to another family who trashed the place. We were informed by someone in Rhineland that we should check out our property as it was not being cared for, and the neighbors hated the way it looked as it had turned into an eye sore. We came home to find diapers everywhere, a cat had done terrible damage to some of the house, our chandelier in the dining room was ruined, the living room drapes ahad been chopped in half, the carpets had to be deep-cleaned, an old engine was left by the barn, and there was trash everywhere. It took us weeks to get everything cleaned up. My parents swore they would never rent out again. We moved back to the acreage at this point, finishing grade five back in Wymark, where we would stay for the longest stretch I remember. It was certainly a relief to finally stay in one spot, moving makes it so difficult to maintain friendships. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Visits to Cranbrook, BC

Visits to Cranbrook

I have many a great memory of times I spent in Cranbrook. We used to go there to visit my grandparents every summer, usually on the way back from Kim’s place, and many Christmases. These times may be mixed up as I don’t remember how old I was for many of these events.
My grandparents had bought a property just outside of Cranbrook with many acres of forest land. They built their home there and a large shed/garage area. I remember Alvin and me helping out with this project and watching everyone building them. Later they would add a cabin for guests as well as a small enclosure and shed for chickens.
There were times when our cousins Jen and Tim would come to visit at the same time, and later our much younger cousins Tessa and Mason, when they returned from living in Bermuda. We would wander the property exploring every inch together. We had a lot of fun in those times, but I don’t recall these times in great detail. We have some photos of these times that I would show you, but I don’t have any of these pictures on my computer. They also had a large family reunion one summer. They set up trails for everyone to go hiking on, including maps so people didn’t get lost. We had a lot of singing and performances, as well as a bunch of awesome food. The adults set up a piñata for the kids. We met one cousin that Tim and I got along great with. We went down many trails with him and showed him our favorite spots, playing a game of war at the same time. Someone also had a half-wolf dog that kept tying to attack the other dogs at the reunion, including Mandy’s toy poodle.
While there, we would often catch crickets or toads and put them in homemade aquariums. Usually this resulted in some deaths and stench, but it was fun to catch them. Birds would constantly be crashing into grandma’s clean windows. One of these times it snapped a bird’s neck, and so we put it onto our bike and tried to “help it” to fly again. In the end it died and we had a small funeral for it, burying it near the house. There was also lots of deer and elk wandering around their property, which they fed in an area visible from the kitchen window. This made for many great photo and video sessions for grandma.
We had fires almost every night in the summers when we were there. We would sit out there and watch bats and nighthawks flit about through the air. We roasted many a marshmallow. We would usually end up drinking a lot of pop during our times there and would eat a lot of ice cream sundaes, as grandma usually kept great toppers around. We also loved that grandpa always had chips around, as well as tomato juice to make us virgin Caesars, to this day Alvin and I both like our Caesars. They also had a large satellite dish in the back that kept us in supply of many great channels, which was far better than the farmer vision we had back home (two channels). We especially loved watching shows on TV Land. Shows like Gunsmoke, Mannix, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, Batman, and the Green Hornet. Then every afternoon we would sit with grandpa and watch MASH, after his show grandpa would always take a nap and we would go outside as we didn’t dare wake him.
One summer I recall Alvin and me playing tag in the backyard. We had had a fire in the fire pit the night before and I didn’t realize that the pit would still be hot. The result of this was my running through the fire pit, which we had been told not to play around, and I ended up with large blisters on the bottoms of my feet. For the rest of the day I sat around with my feet in buckets of water. It was at this time that we had one of our many outdoor BBQs there. I remember loving these BBQs. We spent many an evening in the hot tub that my grandparents had there. Us cousins would hang out in there, and when Alvin and I were there by ourselves we would go in there. We loved hanging out in the hot tub
There was also a summer where I actually got the better Alvin in a fight, which didn’t happen very often. It was through an extremely cheap tactic called the nutcracker. I knocked him off his feet with a swift kick where it hurts most. Grandma fake cried to make us feel terrible about our fight, and I ended up in a great deal of trouble. Apparently she tried fake crying for us a few times, as we were usually fighting over something. Alvin and I did enjoy bike riding while at their property, which kept some of the fights from happening. We would ride down every trail and loved hills especially. One hill we really loved was the one right behind their house. The trail led between their shed and the house. We would go up the one side of the house and go flying down the trail on the other side. We could pick up great speed, we really flew. One bike trail I have a bad memory of though. We came up to this hill and stopped, preparing ourselves for the turn it had in the center which was really fun to whiz around at full speed. One time going down this hill though my feet slipped off the pedals, and when I hit that curve I was not only afraid, but I was not in control. I was going full tilt when I hit the curve and flew off the trail. After crashing through a few branches I was finally knocked off my bike by a low hanging branch that clipped me on the forehead. I had scratches and cuts from head-to-toe. Alvin and I headed back to the house, me bawling all the way. I limped into the house and grandma took me into their bathroom to patch me up. Lots of hydrogen peroxide and band-aids were used in this process, but I clearly survived and learned to be more careful going down hills on my bike. We didn’t stop going down hills after that, as it was still too much fun to feel the excitement of high speeds. We also used to hang out beside an old mine shaft that is on their property, as it was cool to think of all the miners at work in there.
Grandpa always went logging to find wood for their wood burning furnace. I hated these trips with a passion as I am not into that kind of work. I do recall Alvin loving these trips though, and he went on them more than I did. On one trip a friend of grandpa’s dared me to eat a big old wood ant, saying he would give me five dollars for eating it. I picked up an ant and stuck it into my mouth. It bit my tongue before I could chomp its head off and it hung on for dear life, until I ended it with my teeth. Everyone laughed at the ant hanging there from my tongue and at my discomfort. I had accomplished my dare though and was very mad when the guy refused to give me my five dollars for eating the ant. I also recall that my first sip of beer came from my grandpa. It was shortly after they had moved to Cranbrook and he was with a couple of his buddies drinking. I asked him for a sip and he gave me one. Apparently my face went funny as he and his buddies all laughed at me. He told me that yeah it was gross that’s why you should never drink it. Of course I have tried it since and am still not a fan of beer.
I always preferred to hang out with grandma during these times. Grandma is someone I love dearly, she means a lot to me. We would often cook fresh raisin bread, or work on supper. I have always liked cooking, and experimenting with seasonings, grandma’s kitchen is one of the reasons for this. The fresh raisin bread with butter, honey and bananas on a sandwich was the absolute best, it was to die for. We would also clean the house. A part of hanging with grandma that I still enjoy to this day is the games we played together. We loved to play crokinole, cribbage, rummy, as well as a few other cards games. She taught me these games and I would end up playing them and learning more from playing them with my dad. Our games could go on for a long time with no clear winner. I recall playing against my dad and we played for hours before calling it a draw. 
We had to get water with them from a mountain spring as their water was too mineral filled to drink a lot of. These trips were fun as well. We would get to the see the occasional bear and cougar while collecting water. Grandpa would also have to drive down the highway to pick up the mail, and we enjoyed hopping in his Tracker to get the mail, as he would usually have Certs or Life Savers in his Tracker. He also had his radar detector as he never wore his seatbelt and wanted warning as to when to put it on. It would go off for every semi that went by, and he would still end up with the occasional ticket for not wearing his seatbelt.
There were several fishing trips that we took out to Cherry Lake in the summers as well. We’d go out in the little boat to spend the day on the lake. When we got home it was always a fish fry. So tasty!
Christmases here were always a pleasure. We always had a lot of food and it was great to see cousins, aunts, and uncles that I hadn’t seen in a long time. Stockings were always a unique mesh of everyone’s ideas of great stocking stuffers. It would be a time when you would catch up on everything you had missed in everyone’s lives and see how much your cousins had grown since you saw them last. Then we’d celebrate all the December birthdays as there were several. 
One summer after I married Karen, we went down for a week of the summer. This was a good time. We saw a bunch of aunts and uncles, cousins, and Jen’s kids as well. We went swimming at a nearby lake which was really fun. We also sat around catching up and reminiscing.    

Grandpa would eventually be diagnosed with cancer. It was tough seeing him deteriorate and I can only imagine how this hurt my grandmother. A couple summers ago cancer took him away from us. This was hard, especially since my health was and still is poor, which resulted in my not being able to carry his casket like I had been asked to do. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Visits with Mom

Visits With Mom

            Some of the times I remember from before we moved to Saskatchewan are when Kim still lived in Agassiz. I remember that one of Kim’s friends owned a pizza parlor, don’t know if this was a boyfriend or not, but the guy was really kind. He would give us free pizza when we came by. There was also a restaurant nearby this pizza place that I recall eating at several times. I recall the eatery having great poutine!
One of her boyfriends during this time was a gentleman named Guy. I have some great memories of times we spent with this man, he seemed like a keeper. He would take us out to his mother’s cabin quite often. Nearby the cabin was a creek that was pretty shallow. We would wade in this creek hunting fool’s gold, of which there was plenty. Lots of herons hung out around the cabin as well, a gangly, but beautiful bird. Alvin and I would hunt the wide array of lizards and garter snakes that also used the cabin for shelter. We had an aquarium to put them in, and they seemed to leave each other alone for the most part while in the aquarium, only a few lizards managed to “disappear” while inside, hope the snakes appreciated the easy meals. I recall both Alvin and I being bitten by a couple of lizards (which believe it or not actually hurts), but that was not enough to deter us, only encouraged us to be more careful and innovate new catching techniques. A bat got inside the cabin one time and boy did Kim scream! It was our mission to assist Guy in getting this crazy bat out of the cabin, not sure how we accomplished this though. One time when Guy and Kim went for a walk and left us at the cabin, we heard Kim scream at the top of her lungs. When the two of them hurriedly ran back to the cabin, they informed us that they had been swarmed by bats. Then one day we were supposed to go out to the cabin and Kim told us that they had broken up. 
This isn’t a boyfriend, but was far easier to get along with. Our favorite pet that Kim had was Anne, or Annie. She was a green budgie we used to play with and loved. We’d let her fly around the apartment once in a while, then one day we went there and Kim no longer had the bird. The bird was replaced by a cat. Kim has owned many cats in her lifetime.
I believe it was around this time that we went up north to visit our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins for Christmas. Only recall two things about this trip. One is homemade nuts and bolts, not sure why that one sticks in my mind. As well as Uncle Garth threatening to tan my hide so hard I wouldn’t be able to sit for a week, which scared the crap out of me, not really sure what I had done.
Another boyfriend was a man named Mike, I believe she was with him briefly twice. He had a motorcycle that we went for a few rides on, that made him cool. Don’t remember anything about him besides his sweet ride.
At some point Kim lived in a house across from our old babysitter Mrs. Fersten. This house had blackberry and blueberry bushes growing behind it. It also had a large garbage heap in back. It was in this heap that while walking through in sandals, I ended up with a nail going straight up into my left foot. I still have a lump of scar tissue on the bottom of my foot that aches at times. I saw a rather massive rat with a disgustingly long tail climbing in this pile at one point. It was at this time that Jim whom I mention in the next paragraph, allowed us to watch his pirated version of Jurassic Park, which gave me nightmares for a week. We also set up a lemonade stand out front of this house, but I seem to recall drinking more than we sold.
A boyfriend that Kim was on again off again with was Jim. He fathered my half-brother Devin. We had our good times with him, one of Kim’s longer relationships. He would take us fishing on an island along the Fraser River. We would camp on this island. It was here that I would disobey Kim’s instructions and go swimming for hours without my t-shirt on. With my fare skin this was a terrible idea, but Alvin had darker skin and never had to worry about wearing a shirt so why should I? Well I learned the hard way. My back was a dark shade of red, and had massive blisters all over. We had to cut the tags off of every shirt I brought along, they were too painful. She rubbed aloe vera on my back and basically I got a much deserved “I told you so”. Lesson learned. We caught many a fish in this river. I though I was doing well with my twenty-four pounder, until Alvin outdid me and caught the largest catch of the month on that island, a thirty pounder. I was so jealous! Although he ended up in jail a few years after Kim broke up with him, his mother is a very nice woman, she treats Devin very well.
I believe Ben was her next boyfriend. He left her to go to college. He would play video games with us and Devin, and I know it was hard on Devin when he left as they were close. He had the complete Louis L’Amour collection as well, which made him cooler in my books. He brought us to his work one day and we all got free hats, which made us proud as punch. I recall being upset when Kim informed us that he had left her to go to college. 
Many of her boyfriends we never met, just heard about on the phone. So I know that there were several others, I just don’t know their names. 
I also recall one summer where she didn’t have a boyfriend. She was living in apartments in Chilliwack, BC at this time. Her best friend and smoke buddy in the same building would come by all the time to smoke. Her son Travis was pining for Kim, and eventually for a short time they would date. At some point in this summer my acid reflux acted up badly and Kim took me to the hospital. Travis came along, but took Devin and Alvin home. I was so mad when I got home and found out I had missed a huge gunfight outside the apartment building. The police had had a shootout with a few men. What an event to miss out on! A real live gunfight! Alvin and I enjoyed the fact that Kim allowed us to watch Bay Watch, as we were not permitted to watch this show at home, the women were too scantily dressed for kids our age to be viewing. At some point Devin got into my candy dish (I always saved my candy in a dish so it lasted a long time, that way I had some when I wanted it). There was candy scattered all over the bedroom floor, and he was not allowed sugar with his ADHD, so he went crazy! We had to find many a creative hiding place for my candy tin that summer, yet Devin is highly intelligent and would find it no matter what. I also recall Aunty Karen coming with our cousins for a visit. Don’t remember much about that, but it was an enjoyable time.
The final boyfriend I recall was Kevin. She would eventually become engaged with him, before it got broken off. Alvin will know more about him as he lived with them for a time while they were dating. I recall a couple trips into the mountains though in his big truck. He seemed like a nice guy to me, but I didn’t really know him well.

            I couldn’t go one summer as I had to see a specialist about my Osgoods disease in my knees, so we went during Christmas instead. I recall that this house was the same one she was living in the previous summer that we had visited. Good friends of Kim’s lived in the house next to her. I believe it was the same place as when she started dating Kevin. Alvin had a massive crush on their daughter, and they spent time hanging out. Kim kept teasing him about it. This is the same family that took us for a visit to a haunted house. This house used to be owned by a devil worshipping cult, until it was raided and everyone was forced to leave the property. This was a really cool trip. Everyone was super afraid of the house, except Alvin and I who kept making jokes as we didn’t believe in haunted houses. We kept scaring everyone. It showed many signs of people having left in a hurry, including old food crusted on the table. We took a painting from this house and a hand-painted banner. Kim and her friends were afraid of the painting as they kept getting “bad vibes” from it, so we ended up getting rid of the painting. My banner though was so cool, that I refused to throw it out and took it home to Saskatchewan. I may still have it buried in a box somewhere downstairs. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Family

New Family
When my Dad first told me that he was marrying a second time, I remember a moment of dread. I was worried that she was going to replace my Mom. Common enough thought for a child. Now I look upon that day as a great blessing from God. Every child needs a mother figure in their life and she fit the bill perfectly. I am not saying everything was always rosy, that would be a lie. It is always difficult for children who come from a broken home to adjust to having two parents in the home again. We all butted heads many times throughout my childhood, what family doesn't though?
Mandy was a nurse. She made sure that we understood that she was not in anyway trying to take the place of our mother, she wanted us to call her Mandy and not Mom. Mandy was a great mother, but we were not afraid to push buttons. I know I could often be cruel growing up as well, my mouth has always gotten me in more trouble than anything else, well that and my short temper. I remember saying that I hated her, and that she wasn't my mom so I didn't have to listen to her. I would always regret these things, the moment they left my mouth, but was always too proud to apologize (a problem I still suffer with).
Back to the wedding, I don't remember much about it as I was only four at the time. It was at Minter Gardens, a beautiful place that Mandy's parents lived close to so we would walk through there at times growing up. I also remember being quite upset and jealous that Alvin got to be a ring bearer and I had to just sit and watch, so I was not in the best of moods that day.
After the wedding we moved to a duplex on Logan Road, which is on the other side of Agassiz. While there we attended the Agassiz Christian School, where my first huge crush took place. She was a beauty whom I stole my first kiss from in Kindergarten, just to make a neighbor boy who always hung out with her jealous. For that the teachers made me sit on my hands for the whole lunch hour, but it was worth it, a body never forgets their first kiss right? Think my kindergarten teacher's name was Rask, as I recall us calling her Mrs. Rats. I know children are cruel. She had to call my Dad into school one time as I refused to do skipping rope. I thought it was only for girls, I got in trouble and ended up skipping rope. I am not sure of the exact timing, but know that it was during grade one that we transferred to Kent School in Agassiz. I recall hating this school. 
Mandy always loved both dogs and horses. She had a horse at a stable nearby, and her toy poodle. I recall two things about this first horse. One is that Alvin was riding it one time and fell off the horse, I don't remember him being hurt or any other details about it, just that he fell off. I also recall Mandy having an injured foot after this horse stepped on her and crushed her foot. Not sure what happened to this horse, but I know it was shortly after that that she got a new horse. This horse we kept at the farm of a family from our church in Harrison (a beautiful tourist town nearby that I recommend visiting).
It was at this farm that I remember being taught how to feed a horse properly by hand. It was a lot of fun. I also recall playing with cats and kittens in their barn. One kitten in particular captivated our hearts. He was handicapped and couldn't walk properly, he stumbled everywhere he walked. He would never survive on a farm, so we were able to take him home. We called him Snickers, I am not sure why, just that that was his name. I remember a few things about this cat. One was that he could not crap in the litter box without getting it all up the wall and on the floor. Two was that you had to watch your feet whenever walking by our couch from the moment he entered our home. He would squeeze himself under our couch and claw any feet that came near. It could be painful at times, but it always made us laugh. The third thing I remember was that Snickers would always switch food bowls with OJ, Mandy's toy poodle. They could never eat from their own bowls, like us humans the grass was greener on the other side. Sadly this cat could not travel with us to Saskatchewan when we moved. It went to a lady with many cats that she found good homes for.
I also remember walking down the road from the farm, where pears grew in a tree by the road, so you could eat fresh pears. As well as the blackberry bushes that grew nearby and the creepy spiders we'd find in the bushes. This wasn't unusual though, blackberries grew wild in the ditches everywhere in the Fraser Valley area.
Let's go now to the house on Logan Road. I had many friends here. There was a girl across the street that we were on again-off again friends with. I remember getting into lots of trouble around her. She watched as I cut big chunks out of my hair, showing her I could be my own barber. What a disaster that was! I will simply let Shila cut my hair now! I also remember getting in a pebble fight with her at the nearby park, for which I got a much-deserved spanking. I remember also collecting shiny pebbles with her as we both thought they were the coolest thing. The neighbor family in the other half of our duplex would often play road hockey with us in their driveway. On one such occasion their dad played with us and he accidentally tripped me, so I got up and slashed his shins as hard as a could. Surprise, surprise I got a spanking for that, I believe I had to stand in the corner as well, but I could be wrong. Then there was Alvin's good friend Matt who often came over. He lived just up the street. I didn't really get along well with him, but hung out anyways as he was always around Alvin. Recall two things about this boy. One was that I got in trouble for lying after they wouldn't follow the rules I made up and Mandy overheard me telling them that she said that they had to listen to my rules. Believe it or not, but I actually used to be a very good liar. Hard to believe now that I can't tell lies at all without smiling or laughing. The second thing I recall was a big pile of wood down the block, one side was beside the road, the other was covered in stinging nettles. We would play inside this fort, as there was a big clear space in the middle of the log pile. One time when we were playing my parents called us away from our fort as we had somewhere to go. Well I took a wrong step and fell into the nettle patch. Very unpleasant being covered in nettle stings from head to toe. Another event I recall from the duplex, is the time Alvin got his head cut up and needed stitches. We and a couple boys from school never once saw eye to eye (the younger brother was the one who always hung out with the girl I kissed in kindergarten). We were all throwing insults at each other near the park. They were on their bikes and carrying a beat up metal bucket. At one point they threw the bucket at us. It clipped Alvin on the forehead right above his eye. We all know how bad head wounds bleed. The boys took off on their bikes and I bawled and screamed more than Alvin did. He got stitches and their parents made the boys come over and apologize to us. I know I enjoyed that moment, seeing them humbled. Let's just say I gloated.
At some point while living on Logan road, I ended up with pneumonia. I found out at this point that I was allergic to Penicillin. I broke out in hives everywhere. Pneumonia killed my immune system and it has never been the same since. As a result I am always getting sick. Alvin and I also ended up with chicken pox at some point. As you all know, that isn't a lot of fun, relief came in the form of baths with baking soda.
I recall trips to Harrison Lake, where we would hike around the lake, including next to a hot pool that absolutely reeked of rotten eggs, I couldn't believe people actually came and bathed in there! My grandparents owned a cabin on the lake that we would visit and they had a boat. We would go fishing from the boat, but I don't remember much about these trips, just remember that they happened.
Sometime in here my grandparents sold their farm and moved to a beautiful acreage just outside of Cranbrook, BC. They came back for a funeral shortly after buying the property. While they were home a lightning strike nearly burned down their new home. Luckily the local firefighters didn't let the fire reach their home, but they lost a bunch of trees.
We would often hang out at my Aunt's place nearby. My younger cousin and I would hang out, while my older cousin and Alvin hung out. One of these times resulted in a boot or a pot ending up in a wasp nest, one of the four of us threw it there. Wasp stings aren't a lot of fun believe it or not, especially not when they are really mad. After they calmed down we got our revenge by drowning out their nest with a garden hose. Alvin and Jen also climbed to the very top of two tall trees after being forbidden to do so, which led to them getting in a lot of trouble. We always were a daring lot, especially Alvin and Jen. This house had a man's personal golf course next to it. He never collected his old golf balls, so we went about and took a bunch of them home.

When we moved to Saskatchewan it was a sad day, but was good for me. I had terrible allergies in BC. I remember one allergic reaction. It was on a trip to Vancouver. Acid rain struck when we were outside and my whole body broke out in rashes, apparently I was allergic.