Musings

Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Way smooth!

What is hot and smelly and very desirable in our drive-way and under our Golden Honey Locust tree?  Answer: asphalt, pavement in our driveway. 
 
 
Yes we were way happy to have a smooth hard surface drive-way again.  The crew did a good job.  No more spinning our tires in loose gravel to get out of the driiveway.  Just sorry we will have to dig it up next year to complete the sewer installation to the back yard.
 
 
June 27th -- a day of celebration!  The next photos were taken in front of our home when three streets in our neighbourhood were paved in one day.  As soon as the asphalt was laid, it was compacted, so people could get out of their drive-ways.  That's mainly steam coming off the pavement because it is delivered at 180 degrees.   I put my head close to the pavement to hear the snaps and crackles, just like Rice Krispies.  Wouldn't like these hot and smelly jobs though. 
 
 
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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sewer Installed

The
process is this:  a community meeting is called for the neighbourhood affected a year before any action is taken.  There must be a majority of homeowners vote to have the sanitary sewer installed.  We want it because we never know when the septic field in our clay soil in the back yard might cause a costly failure.  The street work is government subdized but will still cost each home owner around $8,000;  plus another $8,000 to hire a private contractor to connect our home to the pipes buried in the street. These are only a few of the photos I took of the big backhoes and dump trucks and compactors, etc.  All of these photos taken in front of our home. It was quite exciting.
  
The trench down the middle of our street was 16 feet deep, and it is still above the grade of the bottom of our house.  That means we will have to have a pump installed.  No sewer if the power goes out.

 
 
 
 
 
The sand around the pipes and the fill on top of that is well compacted, as you can see from the man-handled compactor in the bottom, the machine compactor on the boom of the backhoe, and the roller in the photo below.  Anything that vibrated, like the compactors, shook our home.  Didn't matter what room we moved to, things were rattling and shaking.  After several days of this, my nerves were vibrating.  Told my friend I came to visit him to get away from it all. 
These last three photos show them digging up our driveway.  The white pipe goes to our property line; one for us and one for our neighbour.  We will hire someone next year to connect to the black pipe for our personal connection.
  
 
 
I have to give the guys credit.  They were pleasant and worked at using acceptable language and answering all our questions.  They even compacted a section of fill for my new wall that will widen my parking pad.  That was real nice of them.  I got to know Mike, the engineer, best.  He represented our municpality to make sure the contractors did the job right.  Everyone tried to keep the roads open to one way traffic just about every day.  We parked a block away only a few days.  Tune in to my next blog for the last photos to see our new road.  We all shouted for joy, when after three months of vibrating, dust and very bumpy road (though I liked neighbours driving slowly), our street was done.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sacred music

 
 
 
 Just after Christmas we enjoyed another family session singing around our piano.  Left to right: Rebecca and Carroll; back row Javan, Hensie, me, Amelia, Quoc.  Thank you John for taking the photos.  One of the joys of my life, singing around the piano started when my mother would gather us around the piano on Sundays.  Dad would play the piano.  What Mom lacked in ability she made up for in enthusiasm with me and my brother and sister.  Carroll and I started out our marriage by singing at our own wedding reception.  Our family has been blessed with Carroll's ability and willingness to play the piano for our children.  In turn, our children bless our lives with their singing.  We are glad to see their children developing their musical talents in band, piano, dance, and singing.

One of my callings at church is to lead the congregational singing while Carroll plays the organ.  It's another blessing that we can choose the hymns and practise together.  We all have our favourites and we make sure we sing some every Sunday, but we also introduce those that are not so familiar.  Carroll found a hymn for us to sing last Sunday that supported the theme of the talks on service.  It has become one of our favourites.  Hymn # 155, "We Have Partaken of Thy Love", has a simple melody and some of the following phrases:  1. "We have partaken of thy love, O Lord, this sacred hour; We have renewed our covenants And felt thy cleansing pow'r"  2. "Let us go forth refreshed, resolved to Serve our fellowmen, Forgive our neighbors, live thy word, Until we come again,"  3. "Raising to thee in song and word Our praise, most holy One, We ask thy benediction, Lord, thru thy Beloved Son".   Hymns contain powerful doctrine but also beautiful expressions of the heart.  Sometimes when Carroll and I are practising alone in the chapel, I ponder on the meaning and my eyes glisten.  I am grateful for this opportunity for such a musical association and a focus on sacred music.
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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Family Visiting

 
 
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In April Carroll and I visited Ammon and McKinley in Calgary.  Taylor was working at the local movie theatre so we didn't get to see him.  We visited both going and coming to Regina, but I'll tell more about the Jennie and family when I find their photos.  Ammon, McKinley and Taylor, we wish you well.

Occasionally I surf the blogosphere.  I am impressed with the number of bloggers that write about family, travels, and their religion, just like me.  This morning I came across a professor at BYU, Idaho who included parts of his journal for a year previous, and included wise sayings.  I like that idea so I am going to include parts of what I wrote in my journal during this week, two years ago.

"June 4/5th … [Referring to our visit to the Vancouver temple] So rewarding to see C sitting in the endowment room flanked on each side with a daughter. And so nice to see old friends there like [the Senft’s, Burnham’s, Barrie’s] The Barrie’s live on the Island and are on a trip to visit their children in Penticton and Lethbridge - just like we were.
I really enjoyed Sianne and Tali. Sianne surprised me by cuddling and hugging me so much. Loved it.

"Monday, June 7, 2010 Rebecca visited our home for three hours last evening. (The time is 6:21 AM and the sun is just peeping over the mountain and I have just completed my OT reading and note making.) Rebecca came with John when he rented a car to visit his brother in Kelowna. Rebecca and John didn’t come until 5:30 yesterday. C had a delicious dinner waiting…They were both very complimentary...Rebecca suggested we play games but I jumped on her idea of singing. She had fun going through Mom’s music and picking out sheet music of sacred songs. I gladly joined in singing when she requested..."
I'll conclude with a saying that I copied from another blog:  "Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away."  by Arthur Helps (1813 - 1875)
Who do I love?  My wife, my children, my grandchildren all mean so much to me and in them I find much meaning for my existence.  I love my Heavenly Father and Know He loves me, family, friends and everyone else.  As I feel of His love, I can more easily love you and accept myself.  I am grateful to my family for including me in their lives and hope I make a difference in theirs.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Vancouver Family Visit

Picnic in the Park, in the City of Vancouver.  Carroll and I were joined by Javan,    Hensie, and Havie in our drive to the temple and then to Vancouver.  The day was beautiful.  We were impressed by the beautiful rododendrons in full bloom.  Hensie bought Filipino food and that along with Canadian food made by Amelia and Esther filled our tummies.                       




The day was highlighted by lots of visiting as we caught up on each others lives.
starting back left:  Amelia, Rebecca, Esther & Dave, Javan, Havie, Hensie, Grandma, Grandpa, Tali.


Grandma has started taking yoga classes (in addition to workouts at Curves, Zumba and Tai Chi). Her daughters are checking out her muscles.











Tali and Havie are both four years old.  They had fun playing together - like putting gravel down the other slide.









Amelia left today for Mexico with her boyfriend for a 3 week course on how to teach yoga. Watch out for the experts.  Amelia is never one to let the grass grow under her feet.  She was able to get time off from her dental hygienne job.






     The  monkey bars provided the opportunity for some friendly competition.  Sianne gets a rhythm going to get all the way across.  Rebecca made it too so she challenged her oldest brother.  Maybe she didn't remember that he just built monkey bars in his backyard, from the pink castle to the walnut tree.  Fraid to say, he swung across in quick time.  You notice Grandpa is not in the monkey bar photos.  He knows better than strain long untested muscles.   More fun to take the photos.




























Havie fits right in with her precocious cousins.  She has great verbal skills; yes her mother is a great talker.  (Hensie is the only family member that phones us about every other day.  She just about has me convinced that she stays awake to drive better while she is talking on her blue tooth on the way to work at the Suko Thai restaurant in West Kelowna.)  Havie is a very determined and very strong little girl - don't you think?








All three of these girls, including 8 year old Sianne, are very charming when they want to be.  Grandpa just loves to have lots of hugs with them, and read stories when he gets the chance.
Meanwhile Grandma is still showing off her newly learned yoga moves.
And Grandpa is still looking for more photo ops and grand daughters to hug.

I am writing this blog right now because Rebecca wrangled a commitment from me to do so, with the contract that she would get back to writing in her blog.  Your turn Rebecca.

Grandma and I look forward to more family visits and maybe even blogging the ones we have taken while I have not been blogging -- like our visits to Calgary and Regina last month.  We love you all.








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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Are we having fun yet?

Carroll, Grandpa, Jean and Pieter.  We are having fun in spite of our muscles feeling like old dried out leather strips suddenly asked to stretch.  Last week Pieter and I went bowling.  This week, after the muscles in the back of our legs recovered, the "girls" joined us.  We played five pin because the balls is much smaller and therefore lighter.  Took us awhile to discover the sweet spot that gives strikes.  I expect it will take much longer to get the ball to that exact spot with any kind of regularity.

Bowling used to be a popular sport.  Judging by the empty lanes on this Friday afternoon, and the greatly reduced times of seeing bowling on TV, I conclude bowling needs a revival.   Carroll and I bowled in a league in our early marriage days.  Pieter and Jean both bowled with teams from work.  Cost is a factor today, like $48 for four persons for two games, including shoes.  As previously noted, the exercise is good.  The game also provided us a different social interaction as it's good to get out together.

Notice I haven't said anything about scores.  After throwing our first few balls, we decided that we came for fun and not to get uptight about every gutter ball.  When our scores can withstand scrutiny then they will be available for publication.  I can divulge that Pieter had the very respectable high score of 194, and   we all bowled strike(s).

What's to learn in this little outing?  Repeating activities from the past can bring back memories of good times.  Social activities improve the mind and the spirit.  If you haven't used a muscle lately, it hurts the next day, but with persistence, that muscle quickly regains its elasticity and serves its purpose.  What part of your body has lost its elasticity and purpose: mind, muscle, spirit, social, creative or emotional?  Have a merry tune-up and enjoy giving the abounding love of Valentine's Day.
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Monday, 6 February 2012

2 writing courses




A Big Leap 
(a true story)

 Frantically, I run along the stream bank watching the roiling
water of the flooding Logan River. Where is Donna, my co-worker? My adrenalin is pumping. My heart's thudding in my chest. This normally gentle stream is in spring's flood stage with the snow melting and rushing down the mountainside. I stop here and there looking behind trees at the water's edge. Then I see Donna's head bobbing in the turbulent water. The current is bringing her closer to me and to a big log angling out from the bank. I must save Donna. I don’t swim. I don’t know how to swim. Can I jump out far enough to snag Donna with my right hand and still grab the log with the left? I run at the bank, and jump. In mid-air I remember that I am wearing my new shoes, my first expensive pair of Florsheim Wing Tip shoes. Will the water ruin the leather?

I entered a writing competition last week.  I thought of the most dramatic moment in my life and wrote about it.  Lest you get excited, the competition is only for local residents and has no entry fee so that tells you how small time it is.  This all came about after I registered for two writing classes through SLR or Society for Learning in Retirement.  A classmate gave me info on the competition so I submitted a 1400 word assignment I had written for class.  You just read the first paragraph.  This story has incorporated into it many suggestions from Rebecca.  I am very grateful for her help.  If you would like to read more of my story(s), please leave a comment to tell me.

These classes make me write, and I am writing my Life Story.  Time to get it on paper before I don't remember anything.  "Let's Write" requires a copy of my story copied and handed out to each of my 8 classmates.  Everyone critiques it and hands it back with helpful comments the following week.  SLR has an account that pays for the copying.  The 8 week class called "Writing Your Memoirs" also requires weekly writing, but on assigned topics like this week's, "My First House".  Quite a mix of interesting people attend and I feel quite accepted, eventhough most of them have previously attended these classes.  Fees are only $21 because everything is run by volunteers.  One class is held in rented classrooms at the Martin Educational Centre and the other at a swank care home.  I am having fun and it's motivating to receive feedback.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Expensive homes

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Study was released Jan. 25th.  It confirmed that homes here and in Vancouver are too expensive for an ordinary family to buy.  In all the world, only Hong Kong has more expensive housing than Vancouver.  Some median house prices are listed as:  Vancouver - $678,500; Abbotsford - $443,700; Victoria - $417,300; Kelowna - 385,100; Toronto - $406,400; Saskatoon - $274,700; and Calgary - $353,700.  The writers of this report use this information to argue against restrictions on land use; saying that prices are down in places like Atlanta and Houston because they have less intrusive policies on land use.

If you are interested in economic policies, I recommend you check out Jay's blog, The Seen and the Unseen, at:  http://www.theseenandtheunseen.com/

Doesn't look like any of my children are buying a first-time home any time soon.  Sorry.  I have always thought that the best investment Mom and I ever made was the purchase of our home (except for our children of course).  We always put a higher percentage of our income into our home than we needed to because we thought owning our own home was so important.  It worked for us but these days I don't know if the rules have changed or not.

On a closely related topic, I attended a meeting at our local library (organized by the Friends of the Library to which we belong) where I listened to Carl Zanon who told us how to go on line to find the bcassessment.ca site where we could compare our recently mailed property assessments to those of our neighbours.  Not every property is fairly assessed.  Gratefully our property, assessed below our local median, is in the lower range of our neighbours.  Another way to compare is in how much our assessment changes in comparison to others.  Locally, the assessments have gone down in value an average of 2%.  Ours went down 5%, so that is good for us too--as long as we aren't selling, and we aren't.

My bit of wisdom: Be patient and watch closely.  Like anything else, prudent use of money, money management, or wise purchases, all take effort to research and sort out.  Decisions require more wisdom than most of us have so ask for help from others, and in the end ask Heavenly Father.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Snow


A little lighter subject for the topic today.  Yes the snow is very light.  Light snow is much easier to shovel off the driveway and deck than heavy, wet snow.  So I am happy these last few days when I get a little exercise in a light way.  I wouldn't even let your mother shovel snow, like she often does. 

We particularly enjoyed ourselves over breakfast of oatmeal this morning.  First I turned off the radio because it just didn't seem right to be hearing about planting on the Garden Show, when everything outside is white.  I played a CD with nature sounds complimenting Christmas carols.  Then we watched the winter wonderland through the patio doors.  A little breeze came up, shook some branches of the trees, and caused snow to fall, cascading down from one branch to another.  At one point when the wind blew harder, it looked like a snow storm, only it lasted for one minute.  A magical winter time while we were toasty and warm inside.

We appreciate the snow more than we might because our temperatures have been unseasonably warm; just like most of you in Western Canada.  In fact you on the prairies have often been warmer than us.  Now we've had a week of colder than normal temperatures and that's OK.

I've been reading Grandma Gubler's autobiography again.  She often describes beautiful scenes of nature around her.  I hope you appreciate the beauty around you too.  We have been blessed with variety: variety in what we see, feel, hear, taste, and so on.  When the cold or bad weather starts getting to you, remember these two things.  (1) When my sister lived in Hawaii she said the weather became boring because it was so much the same.  (2) I read that more inventions are made by people living in temperate climates like ours than by those who live in continuously warm climates.  Aren't we fortunate to live in such a wonderful part of the world?  Let's count our blessings.
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Saturday, 14 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's fireworks are a little late, but it is never too late for New Year's resolutions.  Some of us ponder a little longer than others on what we want to accomplish for the coming year.  Perhaps as I share my thoughts, you can think further on your goals for 2012. 

What is priority?  Relationships: relationships with God, wife, family, friends, and self.  One of the books that shaped my thinking early in my marriage, was a small book by Paul H. Dunn and Richard Eyre called, "Relationships...Self...Family... God", 1974.  I recently re-acquired it in the paperback printing of 1990.   Course I love how the book starts with the relationship building between father and daughter and then an evening walk that discusses daughter's question, "Daddy....what is the most important thing of all?"

I want my goals to help me enrich my relationships.  That involves learning, as I read about David A. Bednar's new book called, "Increase in LEARNING, Spiritual patterns for obtaining your own answers".  It's an appropriate topic for the past president of BYU Ricks.  It includes a DVD and embedded video content featured on the Free Deseret Bookshelf app.  I discovered I can also access his answers to learning at:   http://seek.deseretbook.com/david-bednar-how-can-we-measure-our-progress/i
This particular 1 1/2 minute video answers the question: "How can we measure our progress in becoming effective learners?"  He suggests that the best time to evaluate our learning is when we worthily partake of the sacrament.  The measurement is: one, worthiness, and two, seeing how the Holy Ghost fuels our intensity and desire for learning.  He asks, "Are we inviting the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost?"  So my goals for 2012 need to include learning.

At Meridian Magazine I enjoy reading the column by Wallace Goddard.  See his article on New Year's Resolutions at:  http://www.ldsmag.com/church/article/9144?ac=1
He also suggested we reference information at the U. of Arkansas (I think that is where he teaches).  I subscribed, and like this info that came to my in-box:
"January 11, 2012
Personal Well-Being
Grow strong by challenging yourself

"Here's a great idea ...
In their book, What Happy People Know, Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth say, "The human mind, body, and spirit thrive on struggle and challenge, just as a muscle thrives on exercise. Satisfaction without effort doesn't create happiness. It creates only dissipation, alienation, boredom, weakness, and a sense of worthlessness." (p. 164)

"In other words ...
Few things give us a greater sense of accomplishment than when we work hard to complete a task. We just don't get the same feeling of pleasure when we finish a project that doesn't require much effort. The more we can pour ourselves into the things we do the more contentment and satisfaction we can find in our lives.
Here's how you can use this idea to have a better life ...
Find something you can do that you enjoy, but will challenge you. It can be exercising, reading a book, or working on a new project. When you've finished, take some time to appreciate the effort it took and the feeling of accomplishment."
navigatinglife@uaex.edu

I expect that all of us have plenty of challenges, but perhaps you can round out your life more with a different challenge; perhaps in a spiritual direction.  (Yes one of my challenges is learning to navigate more quickly through things to do with computers and the Internet.  Today I am showing I have learned to save and paste addresses.)  In retirement it is easier to accomplish nothing, as often there is nothing I have to do.  I have discovered that it is just as important today as in my youth, to know I have made an effort and worked on something worthwhile.

You may or may not be having fun yet, so I am adding, have fun through wholesome recreation.  And to that I am adding service.  One of the things that makes my community great is the large number of people who help one another, both by happenstance and through organisations.

Remember that writing down your goals increases the likelihood of you achieving them.  Reporting your achievements to a trusted person increases that likelihood even more.  See recent research that came to this conclusion:  http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-backs-up-strategies-for-achieving-goals

Happy New Year, and success in your New Year's resolutions

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Birthdays

3 birthdays celebrated around here from the last part of December to the first part of January: Javan, then Carroll, then me. We took Javan and Hensie and Havie to Montana's for a fun lunch. We had just enough snow that Havie could sled down our drive way. She kept saying, "again". She even rolled her own snowman. Our weather has been very warm for this time of year with above freezing temperatures most days. Hardly any snow on the ground right now.


























Carroll was completely surprised by her birthday party. 4 of her closest friends that were able to come for lunch on her birthday were: front lt, Kay Muir, Jean Bakker, back lt, Shirley Stanek, me, Esther, Diana Moyer. Esther took her shopping, and shopping, so she was late for her own party, but she didn't know it. We ate take-out from the Sukho Thai Restaurant. Her best gifts were the nice things everyone wrote about her in cards and letters.

We celebrated my birthday lunch at the Sukho Thai Restuarant where Hensie was our server. We like Thai food, do you think? I also appreciated receiving some very special phone calls and emails from my children. Their emails are now part of my personal journal.
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