Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What An Day Without Me!

At the request of someone dear to me I have removed this blog post for now.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

While I Was Out...

It's sort of funny really.
Since I was elected onto Village Council I didn't get much media coverage.
This was understandable.
I haven't had too much of interest going on to warrant coverage so I understood.
This morning Cheryl emailed me that I made the front page of the Gleaner.

When I read the article I was surprised and couldn't believe that someone outside of my friends and family was really looking at my blog!
Then I realized that it was because my pal Charles mentioned it in his blog.

At least I know that Charles is taking care of business while I am here in Ontario.


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Monday, December 29, 2008

Re: Agenda for Dec. 30th Special Session

I am not prepared to write a long blog right now since I am still with my Mom in the hospice in Ontario.
She is still giving a fight.
I do want to show you a letter I send to Council last night though.
This had been bothering me and I was relieved to get it off my chest. For those not familiar with this topic I will try and post a link to the article later.
I may be reprimanded when I get back, especially if anyone actually finds out that I put this on my blog.
From Mayor Dunn's reply today I understand the vote is going to proceed without me.
I am not pleased about this and know that at least two of the other Councillors are not either.
This will be interesting but is not of great concern to me at this time.

Mom is continuing to battle bravely but is so tired.
She has been asleep for almost three days and hasn't eaten or drank anything.
I stay here holding her hand and tell her it's okay to let go now but her body doesn't want to yet.
I haven't left this building since Christmas day or this room except to shower or eat.
Sleep has been very unusual since I wake up at least every hour to make sure she is still breathing.
I've lost track of the days and if it weren't for the clocks you could tell me any time and I would believe you.
There will be plenty of time for sleep later.
My Mom doesn't want to leave yet so I'm not going anywhere until she decides that it's time.


------Original Message------
To: Gisele McCaie-Burke
To: 'Cynthia Geldart'
To: Frank Dunn
To: Judy Wilson-Shee
To: Frank Dunn
To: Paul Leblanc
To: Scott Sparks
Subject: Re: Agenda for Dec. 30th Special Session
Sent: Dec 28, 2008 1:42 AM

Good evening everyone. As some of you know I am presently in Ontario with my mother to be with her for her remaining time in life.
She has been deteriorating as I have sat here with her and I don't expect her to last too much longer.
However, my sister was also a fighter and stood her ground for a good amount of time before succumbing.
I may or may not make it back in time for the December 30th meeting but either way we are going to have an issue with 40-01-2008 Bylaw reading.
If Your Worship wishes I can present the following personally at the next meeting I am in attendance but this is also for you all to read.
Last week I received a call from a resident who also lives on Phillips Drive. She had a question to ask me but also wanted to express her displeasure at what I am doing with the water and sewer rates.
Please note that her displeasure was directed at me personally because I am the Chair of the Water and Wastewater Committee.
She did not wish to direct her anger at the Council but to me personally.
She said that she voted for me because she trusted that I would be working for those who elected me and now she sees that I don't care about residents with fixed incomes or financial difficulties.
I tried to explain to her how we were calculating the water rate and that we were working to lessen the impact of a loan for the future water tower.
She did not seem to even want to hear it but remained focused on something that I am doing to affect residents of the Village which will have a great impact.
It occurred to me afterwards right or wrong this lady had a valid point.
What right do I have to make a push for something that will affect so many of the residents but not myself?
If my name is to be attached to something as far reaching as this then it should be something which involves me too.
Otherwise I don't feel that I have the right.
That is my feeling on that.
The day following the election I personally attended the Mayor's home with only one pleading request, that I please don't be given the Water and Wastewater Committee chair position.
I was completely willing to be co-chair of the committee but I made it completely clear that I was not comfortable with taking the chair role.
Even though I had been a member of the committee for four years I did not feel qualified and correctly realized that there was some information that I would not be fully aware of in a public member capacity.
For some reason my request was disregarded and I was given the exact position I had asked not to have.
Up to this point in time I have been a trooper and have done my best with things I do not claim to be an expert in.
I am not going to do this any more.
It has been suggested to me that with the meters and the tower was also to come much protest from the residents. It was suggested to me that who better to have the displeasure and protest aimed at but the new guy on Council? What a perfect way to assure that he does not stand a chance at reelection? The difficult items are sent through and the new guy will be disposed of come next election.
Of course I scoffed at this theory as conspiracy minded.
The problem that we are going to have with 40-01-2008 Bylaw reading is how am I to be the one reading it when I am now planning to vote against it?
I feel that the water tower project and water meters have been pushed by others and I have been along for the ride.
I expressed my displeasure at the financial burden on the residents quite a while ago and never felt that displeasure went away.
When Deputy Mayor Wilson-Shee presented her disagreement with the figures I felt distraught as I felt that we had done so much number crunching and figuring based on data and statistics that we HAD to be right. It had taken so much work.
I now agree with our deputy mayor fully.
I realize that we as Councillors hope to present a united front to the public as far as our decisions are concerned but I feel that if the Village Deputy Mayor is able to publicly voice her displeasure with what is occurring on Council then I am permitted to do so as well.
I do not feel that I have been treated fairly and I am prepared to express these feelings publicly before my public image is completely destroyed.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going back to holding my mother's hand and watching her breathe.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Fall

Cheryl, the boys and I arrived in Ontario in time for Christmas Eve a few minutes after mom got here at Hill House hospice.
This place is quite nice and the boys can play games in the basement.
There are only three patients in this place at a time. Usually with only a month or two remaining.
We read "The Night Before Christmas" last night with Mom here in her room before going to Mom's house for the night.
We brought a little tree to set up since no-one has lived in Mom's house for a few months.
I was looking for Christmas wrapping paper in the basement and found Mom's boxes of Christmas decorations.
There were all of the things that Hayley and I had made when we were little.
Mom had still been using them all of these years.
I wasn't too bad while looking through them all but when we were eating dinner everything hit me at once and I broke down.
Cheryl and the boys comforted me very well.

We will be driving back to New Brunswick on Saturday after visiting Cheryl's mother.

I am staying here tonight in Mom's room sleeping in a spare bed in her room.
Earlier this evening I was looking around the place, especially at all of the books in the front room.
Practically all are about dealing with grief and explaining death.
There are a few that are meant to help explain death to young kids.
I browsed all of them and one really struck me as a wonderful book, considering the topic.
Fortunately I was able to find it written out in full on so I don't have to type it all out to show it to you.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages,

by Leo Buscalgia

Spring had passed. So had Summer.
Freddie, the leaf, had grown large. His mid section was wide and strong, and his five extensions were firm and pointed.
He had first appeared in Spring as a small sprout on a rather large branch near the top of a tall tree.
Freddie was surrounded by hundreds of other leaves just like himself, or so it seemed. Soon he discovered that no two leaves were alike, even though they were on the same tree. Alfred was the leaf next to him. Ben was the leaf on his right side, and Clare was the lovely leaf overhead. They had all grown up together. They had learned to dance in the Spring breezes, bask lazily in the Summer sun and wash off in the cooling rains.
But it was Daniel who was Freddie's best friend. He was the largest leaf on the limb and seemed to have been there before anyone else. It appeared to Freddie that Daniel was also the wisest among them. It was Daniel who told them that they were part of a tree. It was Daniel who explained that they were growing in a public park. It was Daniel who told them that the tree had strong roots which were hidden in the ground below. He explained about the birds who came to sit on their branch and sing morning songs. He explained about the sun, the moon, the stars, and the seasons.
Freddie loved being a leaf. He loved his branch, his light leafy friends, his place high in the sky, the wind that jostled him about, the sun rays that warmed him, the moon that covered him with soft, white shadows. Summer had been especially nice. The long hot days felt good and the warm nights were peaceful and dreamy.
There were many people in the park that Summer. They often came and sat under Freddie's tree. Daniel told him that giving shade was part of his purpose.
"What's a purpose?" Freddie had asked.
"A reason for being," Daniel had answered. "To make things more pleasant for others is a reason for being. To make shade for old people who come to escape the heat of their homes is a reason for being. To provide a cool place for children to come and play. To fan with our leaves the picnickers who come to eat on checkered tablecloths. These are all the reasons for being."
Freddie especially liked the old people. They sat so quietly on the cool grass and hardly ever moved. They talked in whispers of times past.
The children were fun, too, even though they sometimes tore holes in the bark of the tree or carved their names into it. Still, it was fun to watch them move so fast and to laugh so much.
But Freddie's Summer soon passed.
It vanished on an October night. He had never felt it so cold. All the leaves shivered with the cold. They were coated with a thin layer of white which quickly melted and left them dew drenched and sparkling in the morning sun.
Again, it was Daniel who explained that they had experienced their first frost, the sign that it was Fall and that Winter would come soon.
Almost at once, the whole tree, in fact, the whole park was transformed into a blaze of color. There was hardly a green leaf left. Alfred had turned a deep yellow. Ben had become a bright orange. Clare had become a blazing red, Daniel a deep purple and Freddie was red and gold and blue. How beautiful they all looked. Freddie and his friends had made their tree a rainbow.
"Why did we turn different colors," Freddie asked, "when we are on the same tree?"
"Each of us is different. We have had different experiences. We have faced the sun differently. We have cast shade differently. Why should we not have different colors?" Daniel said matter-of-factly. Daniel told Freddie that this wonderful season was called Fall.
One day a very strange thing happened. The same breezes that, in the past, had made them dance began to push and pull at their stems, almost as if they were angry. This caused some of the leaves to be torn from their branches and swept up in the wind, tossed about and dropped softly to the ground.
All the leaves became frightened.
"What's happening?" they asked each other in whispers.
"It's what happens in Fall," Daniel told them. "It's the time for leaves to change their home. Some people call it to die."
"Will we all die?" Freddie asked.
"Yes," Daniel answered. "Everything dies. No matter how big or small, how weak or strong. We first do our job. We experience the sun and the moon, the wind and the rain. We learn to dance and to laugh. Then we die."
"I won't die!" said Freddie with determination. "Will you, Daniel?"
"Yes," answered Daniel, "when it's my time."
"When is that?" asked Freddie.
"No one knows for sure," Daniel responded.
Freddie noticed that the other leaves continued to fall. He thought, "It must be their time." He saw that some of the leaves lashed back at the wind before they fell, others simply let go and dropped quietly.
Soon the tree was almost bare.
"I'm afraid to die," Freddie told Daniel. "I don't know what's down there."
"We all fear what we don't know, Freddie. It's natural," Daniel reassured him. "Yet, you were not afraid when Summer became Fall. They were natural changes. Why should you be afraid of the season of death?"
"Does the tree die, too?" Freddie asked.
"Someday. But there is something stronger than the tree. It is Life.
That lasts forever and we are all a part of Life."
"Where will we go when we die?"
"No one knows for sure. That's the great mystery!"
"Will we return in the Spring?"
"We may not, but Life will."
"Then what has been the reason for all of this?" Freddie continued to question. "Why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die?"
Daniel answered in his matter-of-fact way, "It's been about the sun and the moon. It's been about happy times together. It's been about the shade and the old people and the children. It's been about colors in Fall. It's been about seasons. Isn't that enough?" "That afternoon, in the golden light of dusk, Daniel let go. He fell effortlessly. He seemed to smile peacefully as he fell. "Goodbye for now, Freddie," he said.
Then, Freddie was all alone, the only leaf on his branch.
The first snow fell the following morning. It was soft, white, and gentle; but it was bitter cold. There was hardly any sun that day, and the day was very short. Freddie found himself losing his color, becoming brittle. It was constantly cold and the snow weighed heavily upon him.
At dawn the wind came that took Freddie from his branch. It didn't hurt at all. He felt himself float quietly, gently and softly downward. As he fell, he saw the whole tree for the first time. How strong and firm it was! He was sure that it would live for a long time and he knew that he had been part of its life and made him proud.
Freddie landed on a clump of snow. It somehow felt soft and even warm. In this new position he was more comfortable than he had ever been. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. He did not know that Spring would follow Winter and that the snow would melt into water. He did not know that what appeared to be his useless dried self would join with the water and serve to make the tree stronger. Most of all, he did not know that there, asleep in the tree and the ground, were already plans for new leaves in the Spring.


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I don't have time for a long blog and may or may not get to one in the next few days.

Our family has decided to head off to Ontario tomorrow to be with my mother for what is likely to be her last Christmas.

Cancer is the nastiest, most horrendous disease that has ever plagued the Earth.

It's not done ripping out my heart and soul yet. It started years ago with my close friend Andy, then my step-father Tom almost 6 years ago, Hayley a couple of months ago and now it's going to steal my mother from us.

They say that if these things don't kill you they make you stronger.

If that's the case I'm ready to be Hercules.

The weather has been a nightmare. Last night we had what I believe is the worst snowstorm since we have lived in New Brunswick.

Last night the blowing blizzard felt like it was about to blow the windows in.

I am crossing my fingers that the highway from here to Ontario through Quebec is a little less terrifying than it usually is during the winter.

We are driving through the night when Cheryl and I get home from work tomorrow.

There is nothing pleasant about this trip at all.

We have a beautiful Christmas tree here but we aren't going to be here on Christmas morning to see it. The boys are being real little troopers about this and I'm very proud of them.

We all realize that no matter what we have to endure over the next few days it's nothing compared to the thought of my poor mother in a hospital bed without her family with her on Christmas.

We will do our best but I honestly don't feel that it's possible to have a Merry Christmas this year.

I hope that everyone else is able to do so on my behalf.


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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wish Us Luck

I'm just going to get political again for a moment to say that New Maryland Council is presenting our first budget tonight since I have become a Councillor.
We changed this meeting from the usual Wednesday to Thursday night because Fredericton did their budget last night.
We decided to be nice and not steal their thunder. :)
I am a little nervous.
An awful lot of time and work went into this. I can say with confidence that this is a good budget.
However, we have all heard the saying that "you can't please everyone all of the time".
I won't say any more now but will comment further in the next little while.
Wish us luck!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

THAT'S serious rain!

I know that these little pictures aren't going to do this justice but this rain is crazy!
Last night we had snow then freezing rain and rain ever since then.
The roads have huge puddles (lakes!) everywhere.
When I left my office there was a stream that had backed up flowing across Cliffe Street.
I took these clips with my real camera.

Hey! What happens when I don't close my car window fast enough when another car drives past me? Have a look.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Amazing Birthday Girl

I'll bet my wife is going to see this headline and think that it's about her.
Her birthday is tomorrow (12th) and it's a milestone for her.
Sorry sweety. You are amazing but I want to mention someone that I've known a little longer.
My whole life actually.
My grandmother was 96 years young yesterday (10th).
What a fantastic lady! She lives in her own house in Fredericton.
Granny loves it when anyone visits her and can always tell you of what's transpired along the street that day.
She is the best Neighbourhood Watcher the world has ever seen.
If she isn't doing a puzzle of some kind, reading or playing cards she watches the world go by from her favourite chair.
I really wanted to do this blog on her birthday but haven't had a chance until now.
I'm sure she won't mind.

Happy Birthday Granny!
We all love you,


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Could we please stop for a little while? Or just slow down?

I am the first to admit that I can be a little slow to pick up on things sometimes. This morning was another perfect example of this.

I was in the shower planning my day in my head when a sudden realization struck me. As I got out I said to Cheryl
"Did you realize that today is the last time we will ever see the boys in a Christmas show like this?"
She had already thought about this of course. (She's quite clever.)

I had not realised this until now. Suddenly I felt very sad. The next time I go to a show like this should be when I have grandchildren in it.

I can still picture that day just over 5 years ago in September 2003 when the boys were ready for their first day of Kindergarten at New Maryland Elementary School. I have a picture somewhere of them and their little backpacks with their snacks and supplies in them. They were so little and it really doesn't seem like that long ago to me.

Suddenly, they are 10 years old and in Grade 5! They will be gone from this school at the end of the school year! This is happening far too fast for me. I'm still digesting the fact that their shoes are as big as mine.

Why can't I slow this down? It's not fair. Our whole family has put so much into this school. I'm not ready to let go of it yet! When the boys started Kindergarten I joined the Home and School Association. I was President of that for 2 years. About 4 years ago I figured that I had too much free time on my hands (I'm joking, honest) and was elected onto the Parent School Support Committee.
I am still a member of both groups but I'm not as involved as before since getting onto Village Council and the boys being active in their music and sports.

It just feels so odd though that I have spent the last 5 years doing everything that I can to help make the school a better place, and they won't be there anymore. I feel good thinking that future students will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labours.

When I was president of the Home and School Association our huge accomplishment was getting the drainage problem and groundwork resolved in the Grades 1 and 2 playground. That was an enormous undertaking and a lot of money had to be raised.
In Ontario we were used to the fact that the school board took care of these things. In New Brunswick groups of parent volunteers raise money to look after the school grounds and equipment. That's hard to adjust to.

My legacy as Home and School President is the Grade 1 and 2 playground. It's not a swamp anymore.
I think I'll get a teeny tiny little plaque with my name on it. I'll go over one night and hide it in the gravel or on a tree.

Many years down the road maybe someone will realize how much the Scammells put into New Maryland Elementary School.
We will never forget how much we got out of it.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'd like to try something

I want to try and add videos into my blog like Charles does. Let's see if these work. They are one of the hat-trick goals as well as a clip showing my little defenceman in action. Wish me luck!

My guys are numbers 4 and 6.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

How's this for timely?

If you happened to see my last two blogs you will understand what a coincidence this is.
The boys just played a hockey game against a team in Burtts Corner. They lost 4-1.
Neither of our lads scored the goal but one did get the assist.
It was fun and nice to play against a team they've never played before.

Anyhow, as I was in the main hallway waiting for the chaps to take to the ice I saw these signs on the big bulletin board.
They relate exactly to what my previous blogs talked about with the pressure some parents put on the kids and taking the whole thing too seriously.
I just wanted to share that. I thought it was rather cool.

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I would like to dump a little cliché in here if I may.
What a difference a day makes!
Or in this case six days.
You recall my last blog that one of our sons scored three goals in their team's 5-4 hockey victory last Sunday.
This morning I could feel that something wasn't quite right and the energy was not quite there.
Sure enough, our lads lost 8-0.
The other team had some amazing little players.
We didn't seem to have a chance.
Many of our kids have a natural chemistry with each other. On the good days they just click. One passes the puck and knows that the other is there to get it.
This skill is rare.
Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr had this magical ability.
It was a foresight that they used to place themselves exactly where the puck was going and place it where they wanted it to go.
I suppose even the greatest players of all time had their off days.
This morning it seemed like our entire team was feeling funky.
They just seemed to meander around waiting to see if the puck would come to them so that they could go with it.
The other team made sure that it didn't get to our scorers.
I'll tell you something though. I was really darn proud of our boys.
Nobody complained when the puck went into our net or if they missed a breakaway shot.
Everyone took it in stride as an experience on the other side of the win/lose equation.
They all lined up after the game politely shook hands with the other kids.
These guys are just happy to be out there playing!
My little superstar used to have a difficult time accepting a loss situation last year. He wasn't the worst but I wasn't happy with it.
He has completely changed now and is like his brother.
Our other star is a solid little defenseman who digs in and gets the job done.
You want that puck cleared out of our end? Give him a moment and he will be delighted to take care of that.
Keep the puck in the blue line? Not a problem.
And if he does happen to miss it he hustles and chases that thing.
His heart is in the game. He doesn't want to try and be a Bobby Orr and score a bunch of goals.
He wants to play and have a good time.
They both do.
For that we are enormously proud.
It seems Cheryl and I are doing pretty good so far.
Forward we go.
They have an exhibition game tonight against a team not in the FYHA in Burtts Corner.
Let's have fun.
By the way, the picture above is of the arena we usually play in. The Willie O'Ree Place.
I took it as I was driving away this morning.


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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Greatest Doctor Who Ever Lived - Part 2

I suppose that I could jump into this one with comments and opinions about the silly state of our country's federal government and the bizarre fear that Canadians were mere days from being taken over by Separtists, Socialists, Anarchists and the morons that accompany them.
Or, I could talk about how my photo pal Stephen Harper convinced the Governor General to giving him and his minority Conservatives (including my pal Keith Ashfield) a reprieve until January 2009 from being overrun by the twerps mentioned above.

No siree, I'm not going to do that. There will be plenty of time in January to talk about that if I choose to do so.

I'm going to start this one off my announcing to the world that one of my sons got his very first hockey hat trick on Sunday morning!!
In all the years I played hockey I only scored two goals. That's all.
Last year they only had one goal each but so far he has scored 5 goals in 4 games.
Darn right we're proud!
That's real NEWS! Isn't it? These are the most important things in the world.
Seeing our children doing well and having fun at the same time.

Cheryl and I do not push and nag our boys to excel and be the best at everything they do. We would like them to do their best, but they don't have to BE the best.
They are playing to have fun!

If they happen to develop or discover that they have an extraordinary skill in the process that's wonderful, we'll nurture it in a loving way.
Don't get me wrong. We will continually tell them that they have the ability to be great if they put their minds and soul into it. That's inside them as it is with us all.
But that's up to them.
Far too often we have seen parents pushing or pulling children to win and that nothing else will do.
It's not up to me to say that they are wrong. In fact, I'll bet that their kids do win quite often.
I just hope that they enjoy the path getting there.

The only thing we will insist on is that they are involved in some type of sport or activity in the summer and the winter.

Their interest in music has been a fabulous bonus to us.
Cheryl and I are overjoyed that the lads enjoy playing the drums and piano.
They are pretty good too! The lessons are not wasted by any means.

I suppose this big preamble is a perfect lead-in to my next Dr. Seuss book item.
My favourite book ever written by the good doctor also happened to be his last. I wonder if he knew that he wasn't well and set out to write the most brilliant and educational story of his life?
The first time that I saw this was when the boys were very little and we lived in Mississauga, Ontario. That was at least six years ago and they are ten now.
The public library in Meadowvale Town Centre was perfect for kids. The children's area had big piles of books on the floor with mats to crawl around and get comfy while reading everything in sight.
I thought that I knew all of Dr. Seuss' stuff but I had never seen this one before.
I sat down and started to read it. As I did so I knew that I was holding one of my favourite books ever.

I bought a copy of my own so that I could read it to the boys (or myself) whenever I wanted.
I have done just that. It has been a little while but I guarantee I will be digging it out tonight to read to them again.
I'll talk about it more after you have a chance to read it yourself but there are certain parts that I choke up every time I read.
Hopefully you'll see what I mean.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! was first published in January 1990 and talks about life and its challenges in the way that only Dr. Seuss could do.
It is written in the style of his classics such as Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, but this one has specific characters including a narrator and the person reading it.
He calls the young boy “you” and this boy initiates the story's actions. This character helps us to identify with the book.

I learned on the internet that in the United States and Canada, Oh, the Places You'll Go! is a popular gift for students graduating from high school and college, with its biggest sales every spring.
This book sells up to 300 thousand copies every year! That's incredible!

I'll stop rambling so that you can read this for yourself. See if you agree with me.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

---Dr. Seuss

See what I mean? Was I wrong? I don't think so.
The story is so motivational while being cautious at the same time.
The title tells you that you're setting out on a big wonderful journey. The content emphasizes this too but warns you of the speed bumps that you will encounter.
I can't think of any other person or possible way to talk to kids about the trials they will face in life.
Youngsters may not see past the Seussisms and wonderful pictures in order to see the deeper wisdom of this story. But I'll bet that as they get older and start to experience life this story will make more sense to them.

As I read this to my sons they don't understand why Daddy gets tears in his eyes and chokes up when he gets to the " All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot." part.
One day I hope they have children of their own. Then they will understand this feeling.
The feeling that I can't bear the thought of them being alone in the world at any point and there will be nothing I can do to stop it.
As a parent I wish beyond measure that I could always be there for our babies and shield them from the ugly parts of life and the "dragons" that are hiding out there.

Reluctantly, I see it realistically and know that this is not possible. I can't always be there.
One day I won't be there at all and that thought pains me.

You and I need to have faith that when our children reach those "waiting places" and arrive at their "mountains" that they have equipped themselves with the right equipment to make that climb much easier and have surrounded themselves with the right people to make the journeys a little smoother.
As parents it is up to us to educate our kids so when they "look up and down streets" they will have the knowledge to see why a street may be a "not-so-good" street and say "I don't choose to go there."
With the help of the great Dr. Seuss I should be able to do my part.
Could there possibly be a more fun way to do so?

Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good Reporting Folks, Now Fix It!

I'm still having pretty strong emotions of the death of Kenny MacLean.
Even though I saw Bill Clinton in Moncton yesterday and enjoyed it very much, Kenny is at the forefront of my mind.

The emotions are not all sorrow at this point. There is quite a bit of anger now.

This anger is at the media outlets who reported yesterday that "Local police were releasing few details last night, but early reports suggested Mr. MacLean succumbed to a drug overdose".

Today this same media has told us:
"Canada Washington/Toronto  - The death of Kenny MacLean, the former Platinum Blonde bassist, was likely due to heart problems, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday."


"Mark Holmes, a friend of MacLean, told the newspaper that the preliminary results of an autopsy suggested his death was due to a heart problem."

Who the hell gave out these "early reports"? Was it a police source? Was it a friend of Kenny? Was it an ambulance attendant?
Perhaps it was someone walking by the reporters and commented that he had once seen someone going into a house with a big bag from Shopper's Drug Mart and thought to himself "Wow! That's a big bag! I hope it's not all cold medication in there. That could cause an overdose!"

Does this same source go around to all of the papers etc. afterwards and apologise for being wrong?
Who apologises to Kenny's family and friends?

I know what the answer is. Noone apologises.
There is no accountability for poor research and journalism.
And that stinks.
I spent time today hitting numerous web sites and forums correcting and scolding people for making stupid comments about Kenny based on stupid information.
I know it was an exercise in futility but he deserves some respect!
Kenny MacLean did so much for so many, including extensive volunteering and charity work, that I'll be damned if I don't try.

If the ones doing the damage won't help repair it, the rest of us will have to.

On the National Post web site I commented "Wednesday, Nov 26, 2008 Why the heck would this article mention a drug overdose? Today it is being reported that the preliminary results of an autopsy suggested his death was due to a heart problem. Why don't you wait for the facts before saying something stupid! You owe many people an apology."
Another reader responded to me "Gargoyle_7,  Wednesday, Nov 26, 2008 Tim, Do you want a list of 80's rockers who have died in their early 50's due to 'heart problems'? (not to mention the rockers who actually OD'd) My understanding is that (excessive) cocaine use weakens the heart and even if someone has been clean for years (or decades) the damage may be done. I have no opinion as to Mr. MacLean's lifestyle, but it seems at least reasonable to mention it."

While I admire Gargoyle_7's manners and diplomatic writing style I don't agree with his/her logic at all.
To me, if a malfunction of the heart is the cause, it is the cause.
There is absolutely no way that anyone could say beyond a doubt that Kenny's heart stopped functioning because of a substance in his past.

He was brushing his teeth getting ready for bed!

That's enough about this foolishness.
I've done all that I can to battle the forces of stupidity for today.
I'm not wasting any more time on it.
We all have to start healing now.
Personally, I'm going downstairs to listen to some Platinum Blonde before I go to bed.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Goodbye to another Canadian Great

I just found out from my old school friend Bruce Barker that former Platinum Blonde bassist Kenny MacLean has died.
This is tragic news.
A good friend of mine, Sascha replaced the original drummer for several years before Platinum Blonde disbanded.
Sascha remained very good friends with Kenny and continued to work with him on his albums and shows.
The last time I saw Kenny play was many years ago in a downtown Toronto club promoting his 1995 album Clear.
Sash played drums at that show and on the album.
I loved the show and loved the album.
So much that I bought a cassette at the show.
My best friend Mike just mailed me with this.
"Had the pleasure of meeting him once in the early 90's at the Unicorn pub on Mount Pleasant road. Had a good conversation about guitars (He was also a very good guitar player as well) and watched him play with the house band. He was in a band called the Aliens (I still have the album) and I asked him what happened to that project because I played that album a lot. Thought they were really good. It's a sad day for the local music

Now Kenny is gone. Damn.
I offer my deepest sympathy to Kenny's family, friends and fans.
I have no doubt that we are numerous.
We will always have his music to remember him.
How sad that there won't be any more.
I have a special sadness for Kenny's poor sister who found him. Poor, poor girl.

I found this on

Platinum Blonde bassist Kenny MacLean dies
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | 8:40 AM ET CBC News
Kenny MacLean of the 1980s band Platinum Blonde has died in Toronto. The 52-year-old bassist was found in his apartment-recording studio.
MacLean had just released his third solo album, Completely, last Friday at a club in the city. "This is devastating," Mark Holmes, former lead singer of Platinum Blonde, told the Toronto Star.
Holmes performed with his old friend Friday night at the Mod Club. "He was incredibly happy – everything was going well for him." According to the Star, MacLean's sister Pamela had been unable to contact the musician and decided to get the landlord to let her into his studio and living quarters on Yonge Street in downtown Toronto.
Pamela found her brother collapsed in the bathroom with the tap running, Holmes said.
MacLean had another home in the city, but likely stayed at the studio after the Friday night party. The cause of death is not yet known, but police say they are not treating MacLean's death as suspicious.
Platinum Blonde, a New Wave band that sported big hair and synthesized sounds, hit it big with singles such as Crying Over You, Standing in the Dark and It Doesn't Really Matter. Guitarist Sergio Galli and drummer Chris Stefller were also band members.
The band broke up in 1991.


Hanging Out With Bill

I'm headed to Moncton to a conference tomorrow. Or I guess I should say later this morning.
The speaker is Bill Clinton.
You may recognize him as the husband of Hillary Clinton.
I received the notice of the conference through the Village a while ago.
I felt that it could help me become a better Councillor and representative of the people so Council agreed to pay my way.
It should be good.
I'll report further tomorrow.
The notice says that we can't have any cameras or recording devices. What a drag.
That's one of the ultimate schmooze photos I could ever hope for!
Oh well.
Whenever I think of Bill and Hillary Clinton I'm reminded of this old joke from when Bill was president of the U S of A.
I really like it because I understand what is close to the truth.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are driving in the country near Hillary's hometown.
They are low on fuel, so Bill stops at a gas station. The man at the gas station comes out and looks into the window.
"Hey, Hillary! We used to date in high school, do you remember me?" he asks. They talk merrily for a few minutes. Bill pays, and they leave.
As they drive, Bill is feeling very proud of himself and looks over at Hillary. "You used to date that guy? Just think what life would be if you hadn't married me," he says.
Hillary looks at Bill and says to him, "Well, I guess you'd be pumping gas and he'd be President"

I wonder if Bill has heard that one?
Maybe I can tell it to him?

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Great Guy and a Great Place

I'm not planning to turn this blog into a place to advertise and promote businesses and companies.
I will however do everything I can to support my friends and decent people in their ventures.
Last night Cheryl and I were invited to a pre opening event at the Garrison District Ale House at 426 Queen Street in Fredericton. I never even knew that this place was here but found out that it's been here for a while under other names.
My friend Doug Williams has taken it over and is opening on Tuesday.
Doug is a wonderful guy and really knows his stuff. He's had many years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Recently he had found himself stagnating in his position and decided to take a chance and strike out on his own.
From what I saw last night he is taking a good chance and should do very well for himself.
We loved this place!
Of all the times not to bring my real camera this wasn't one of them.
I would like to apologize right now to Doug for the lousy quality of these pictures.
They were taken with my Blackberry and aren't very good. I felt that even lousy pictures were better than none but these certainly don't do the amazing decor justice.
The ceiling is a cathedral ceiling rounded at the edges. I've always been a huge fan of cathedral ceilings.

As one enters there is a long bar which runs along most of the left wall. There were bartenders spread out over its entire length making anyone's waiting time very short. I don't need to tell anyone how frustrating it is waiting at a huge bar trying to get a server's attention for 10 minutes.
I don't think Doug is going to allow that to happen in his place.
You really have to see it in person to appreciate how nice it is.
I ran into a beautiful young lady that I work with named Mary. It turns out that she and her husband are very good friends of Doug and his wife.
Mary told me that Doug's wife did all of the decorating of the place.
I assume that she meant Doug's wife chose the colours and the style of the decor and not that she physically did the actual decorating.
Either way she is a very talented lady and I salute her.
For the open house Doug had free beverages for all. Cheryl and I enjoyed pop since we don't drink alcohol but the beer being served looked pretty darn tasty.
The server girls were circulating in the room with large glasses of dark ale for anyone that wanted them.
As tempting (it was indeed) as it was we passed.
From what I understand the selection on the beer menu is VERY extensive.
It's highly unlikely that one won't find at least one that they like.

The best thing about the whole night was the food!
The lovely server girls did an excellent job providing finger foods throughout.
Everything was amazing but the things that stuck out the most were the "feta fingers" - deep dried feta cheese sticks and some wonderful little hamburgers. I've never heard of a feta finger before. I am happy that I have now.

One of the small burgers is pictured above.
Certainly not your average burger. Apart from the obvious smaller size, the bun was like a fluffy tea biscuit. There was something else which I tasted in the meat but I'm not sure what it was.
It was spiced with something that we loved.

There were four of us sitting at a table near the back. We met a very nice couple and sat chatting for most of our time there.
Between the four of us the servers almost never made it past out table with a tray of chicken wings.
Cheryl and I don't like spicy wings and the ones being served were nice and mild and crispy under the sauce.
Another thumbs up!
I'm certainly hoping that the food last night represents the usual fare when Doug opens up this Tuesday. (If it's not I will be speaking with him about it.)

The place was absolutely packed with many people of all ages. Well, over 19 years old anyway.
I wish I had my camera with me. I could have done one of those "seen about town"
article things here.
There were many people that I recognised from around town.
I confess that even though it was wall-to-wall people the atmosphere was still like the comfort of my living room.

Personally I am going to do what I can to visit this establishment as often as possible. I'm also going to recommend it to everyone I speak to.
I know Doug well enough to trust that everyone who enters the Garrison District Ale House once will surely want to come back again.

The web address is
I don't think the site is up yet though.

Best of luck to you Doug. You deserve it!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

And so it begins....

I was mentioning the little bit of snow the other morning.
Today we woke up to this. It's still coming down.
I just took this as I drove past Fredericton city hall after my Saturday morning coffee mob thing.
Actually it's only 9:40 a.m. but I've been up for many hours already.
The boys had a hockey game at 6:45 today so we were all awake and bushy tailed by 5:15.
I want to tell you something interesting.
On an average weekday when we are working and going to school it's pretty tough to drag our behinds out of bed at 7:00.
On hockey mornings we get up before most of the world but we pop out of bed raring to go.
I barely have time to open their doors to tell them it's time to get up and they're already half dressed!
We love our hockey, that's for sure.
I haven't personally played for many years. I can still skate but with the extra pounds I've accumulated my ankles don't take very long to scream in pain.
One of our lads scored his first goal of the season this morning. What a thrill!
The other lad almost scored a winning goal with only a few seconds left in the game!
As it was we (do you like how I say "we"?) tied 4-4 which was perfect.
Our boys started hockey last year and were the first year guys on the team. It took a while to get their grooves but it was a great season.
Now they are the older boys in the division and have that experience behind them.
They are doing a very good job of becoming team leaders and motivating the others.
It doesn't matter if they win or lose, they are just completely stoked to be on the ice.
We are very proud of them.

Back to this weather.
I wasn't overly surprised about this snow since my family and friends in Ontario have been telling me about all of their snow for many days now.
It's a darn good thing that Cheryl kept at me about putting the snow tires on the car two weeks ago.
If it was left up to me I would be scrambling around right now trying to find some and get them installed.

One thing is certain. This is only the first of what will undoubtedly be a long cold New Brunswick winter.
Bring it on! We're ready for it!
We've started hockey!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sneaking In

Do you see this??
I'm pretty sure that this is the first snow of this winter season.
It didn't blast in but did a little blow last night while everyone was sleeping.
How sneaky.
Before you know it this little bit of snow invites all its friends and family to join it and hysteria and mayhem follows.
There goes the neighbourhood.
I'm not looking to this but I accept that it's coming.
Bring it on. I can take it.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Who's got time?

It amazes me every time I read Charles blog.
He has videos, pictures, typing, more videos and more pictures.
He does this for a bunch of stories every day!
I can't even find the time to get my Dr. Seuss blog started the way I want to do it?
Is it building reader's suspense or just making you ignore me? I would say ignore.
I know I said this last week (or the week before) but Dr. Seuss IS coming. I swear.
It's just that I want it to be great so I have to get the perfect time to do it.
Until then I'll just read Charles' blog and marvel at him. You should too.
He doesn't have twin sons who have started another season of hockey and take music lessons.
Or, Charles isn't on local Council and the school PSSC and Home and School Association.
Heck, that guy doesn't even have a phone to ring and interrupt him in the middle of trying to do something!
Whenever I need to contact him I have to send an email and hope he's near his computer!
I'll tell you something though.
I do what I can in my way to save the world bit by bit. It's not always fighting the forces of evil. Most of the time it's using my superpowers to build things the way I think they should be built for the future citizens of Earth, or at least New Maryland.
I am Big Mouth Man.
My fight for the train station is best fought mouthing off to the media.
I fight on Council by saying things that I want to say.
At the school I say what I feel to affect the policies of the school.
I am a superhero.

Charles and I are so much alike it's scary.
He fights evil and corruption where he sees it.
Charles patrols the City of Fredericton just the same way as Spiderman patrols New York.
At the first sign of danger he whips out his trusty camera and saves the day!
What a guy!
He is Far Bigger Mouth Than Even Tim Man.

He's a superhero's superhero.

Plus he even has his own comic of him with a cape!

I'm jealous.

Keep at it Charles. We'll clean up this province soon enough.


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

To Those Who Wait...

I truly want to thank those of you who dropped in and left good wishes the other day.
Please accept my apologies for taking so long to do my follow up post.

The Remembrance Day service at Victoria Hall in New Maryland went very well.
One thing I wasn't thrilled about was that for the first time in all the years I have attended this ceremony they decided not to have chairs for those on the stage.
You recall that I was very sick the entire day prior and really could have used a seat. I almost took an involuntary nap a couple of times but stayed upright thankfully.

My reading expressed Remembrance Day completely.
It was quite short though.
So short that I don't mind typing it out for you.

Act of Remembrance
Read by Councillor Tim Scammell

Shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

I have found out that this passage is part of the poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943).

It is unlikely that I could have found a more fitting passage and hope that everyone really listened to the words and thought about their meaning.
I tried as hard as I could to speak in such a way that might make people do so.
I think it worked but I was too nervous to look up from the paper to see.
The kids told me I did very well. Those little guys made me so proud by behaving perfectly and doing everything when the rest of the people did.
This was the first time in their lives that neither Cheryl or myself were with them during the ceremony.
They're little men now. I wish they would stop growing up but I'm happy that they will have the chance to do so and become anything they choose to be.

Could we ever imagine the thoughts of the mothers and fathers of the boys (they were only boys) as they watched their childen leave home to fight in the wars?

Nothing could possibly describe a parent's fear that their child may not come home alive.
In these times it's difficult to imagine but it was common not very long ago.

I want to remind everyone of something that is more easily identifiable to us.
Remembrance Day is just as much about the loss of men and women in modern times.
On October 2nd 2003, a young Canadian soldier Sergeant Robert Alan Short was killed when the jeep he was in drove over a landmine outside of Kabul in Afghanistan.
That is Robert in the photo above.
He was only 42 years old at the time. Only slightly older than me.
I will always remember his passing with great sadness.
You see, Sergeant Short was from Fredericton.
He was buried in a little cemetery only a short way down the road from my house. The funeral was one of the largest and saddest events I have ever seen.
Some friends of ours at the time had known Robert for many years from their time at Petawawa, Ontario in the Forces together.
When his body was flown back to Canada it was televised across the country. Our friends had to send their son over to play with our boys while they watched it to spare him the emotion.
The most powerful memory I have of Sergent Short's passing is that on November 11, 2003 his wife, son and daughter were at the Remembrance Day service in New Maryland.
Just over 1 month later!

I felt such sadness that day as I saw Robert's family and the overpowering grief they were feeling.
I remember looking at his son's face and wondering if he could ever feel happiness again.
At the end I shook his hand and he gave me a small smile in appreciation.
He didn't know me but I wished I could have been his best friend.

On November 11, 2008 Robert's family was there again, as every year.
I am very happy to say that his son was smiling this year. He was there with his own little one and it was clear to see he has been feeling much happiness.

I smiled when I saw them together.

Robert would be so proud.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Lest We Forget

I really wanted to get into my Dr. Seuss blogs but they'll have to wait for a few more days.
The past 7 days or so have certainly not been very good for me.
My mother in Ontario has had some setbacks in her progress to recovery so Cheryl has gone to be with her for just over a week.
I would like to have been there with her but one of us should stay with the kids and I don't have any vacation time at work.
Cheryl has been there every day with Mom which seems to be helping Mom's spirits.

Today I was to be at work all day. The kids have a PD day (right before a holiday day, imagine that.)
I had a sitter all lined up. I just had to drop them off in the morning.
It was all set.
Then it all went bad last night.

Around 10:30 my stomach didn't feel quite right.
From then on I was up every 45 minutes or so. It hasn't been nice at all.
Then one of the kids started.
What an adventurous day we've had!

I don't care how I feel tomorrow though.
For the first time in my life I will get to speak at a Remembrance Day ceremony.
It will be at Victoria Hall in New Maryland.
I have this honour as a Village Councillor and I am tremendously proud.

Remembrance Day is one of the most important days to me. I think about relatives and strangers who left home to fight and offer their lives so that Canadians they would never meet could live freely.
This is the least we can do for them. I wish it could be more.
Upset stomachs didn't stop these brave souls from marching ahead. It won't stop me from doing the best public speaking of my life tomorrow.
My sons will be sitting in the front row seats watching me. I'll make them proud of their daddy.
Almost as proud as I am of our brave soldiers.

This poem is the best ever written in my mind.
It always puts a lump in my throat.
When The Last Post plays the tears are always in my eyes.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

I hope to see you all tomorrow.


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Greatest Doctor Who Ever Lived - Part 1

The greatest doctor who ever lived on this planet is one who passed away several years ago on September 24, 1991.

I remember hearing the news at the time and feeling very very sad at the loss.

I'm quite confident that his work had an effect on everyone on the planet who had ever experienced it.

I feel that his wisdom far surpassed any of the great minds in history.

I am unable to say if he personally saved any lives directly but guarantee that indirectly he saved many.

Amazingly, his writings are read and studied thoroughly by thousands every single day over most parts of the world.

More amazing is that the most open young minds understand his work instantly where the most studious analytical persons may miss the meaning for a little while.

Even though most of his work was done decades ago it remains completely relevant to today's society.

His name was Theodore Geisel.

We all knew him as Dr. Seuss.

The greatest doctor who ever lived.

In my next blog I'll start to tell you why I honour and respect him so highly.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why Thank-you!

Something quite interesting happened the other day.
In a letter addressed to Charles and copied to practically the whole world I was mentioned and referred to as Big Bald Timmy and something about being Charles' Blogger Buddy.
I'm pretty sure that was talking about me since I am big and bald and am a friend of Charles.
But to be referred to as a Blogger?
Is that my claim to fame?
That's a new concept for me.
I have been writing this as a sort of diary and some folks have actually stopped in to read it.
But to be thought of as a "blogger"? That's pretty heavy and quite a compliment.
Over the last few years I learned what a blog is and have read some remarkable blogs that I could only dream of holding a candle to.
I have come to the realisation that there is likely a blog about absolutely anything.
So it just stands to reason that the topic of politics is being (b)flogged to death.
Is that really fair to the folks browsing to read some cool items about cool stuff?
I suppose it doesn't really matter. I don't do this to be a crowd pleaser. If no one comes to read it that's fine.
As long as I am happy with it.
Charles' blog is packed with pictures and videos and hits the hot topics in the news.
When something goes down and I am interested or involved with it I'll write about it.
Not much interesting is going on at New Maryland Council at the moment though.
Really, it's pretty dry. We're doing our budgets for 2009 presently.
Let's think about it this way. In 10 years if someone like my kids read through this blog is it going to be somewhat interesting for them?
It will be interesting to see how some of the more political topics of today turn out in the future but certainly not every one.
For example, if I could travel into the not too distant future I would like to see how(if) the York Street Station works out. Or maybe not.
It looks to me like Charles and other local folk are doing a pretty good job of digging and prodding into the hot local topics of today. There's not much that I could add to that really.
I will when I can.
With that in mind I think I will try to focus this blog on other things on my mind.
If anyone comes to read it I hope they enjoy it.
Let me know either way.

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Monday, November 3, 2008


Just heard that Jack Carr won by 270 votes.
He's my new MLA.
That's a good thing. He's a nice chap.

Interesting Numbers

I'm watching the numbers of the provincial byelection for my area.
At this time liberal Debbie McCann has 1312, PC Jack Carr has 1767 and ND McCaffery has a whopping 97.
20 polls have been done.
This should be good.
Stay tuned.
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

It was great! You should have seen it!

Stupid BlackBerry.

I was working on a great blog this week about air travel and how it's changed since the 1950's and 1960's.

I wanted to write it after my trip to Vancouver last weekend.

I had a great old picture of the grand old glory days showing the friendly stewardesses smiling and everyone was so happy.

Nowadays nobody smiles because we are all crunched in like sardines and miserable.

For a 6 hour flight we didn't even get anything to eat. They were selling a little pack of Pringles for 2 dollars. What a deal.

At least we had pop at no extra cost.

Oh yes, they offered us a candy!

That's all I'm going to say about that amazing blog. It's gone now.

Let me tell you why.

About a year ago I bought this BlackBerry Pearl.

One day I noticed that a bunch of my emails were gone.

I figured out that when the memory of this thing gets full it just arbitrarily dumps email messages and Facebook notes without asking me first.

If I happen to do some web browsing for a while the BlackBerry memory fills itself up with web page stuff which stays there until I do a "battery pull" (reset) and clear it off.

This burns me. Even more when I note that I can't save any emails or messages to the 2 gigabyte card that I put in.

I researched forums and web sites everywhere to see if there was a solution for this.

I found out there is none.

Since learning this I have had to monitor the memory and clear it when it's getting full.

Sometimes I don't catch it in time and this is what happens. I lose something that I've been working on. Most reading this will think "why don't you blog on your PC like everyone else?"

I could do that but don't want to.

It's far easier doing this when I'm comfortable.

I suppose if I lose too many more of these I will consider the old PC again.

Stupid BlackBerry....


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Millions of Leaves + Lots of Rain = Plugged Storm Sewers and Flooding

I was sitting my car trying to make my way to the office.
Unfortunately the driving is very slow this morning around Fredericton.
Many streets have been closed due to flooding from all of the rain.
The weather report on the radio this morning said that it's going to be like this all day.
I hope that this doesn't go and flood a bunch of homes, especially the houses that have barely recovered from the nasty spring floods.
The way I see it is that the problem is not that the sewers can't take all of the water. It's that the water is not reaching the sewers because of all of the fallen leaves.
Those things clump up and stick like pieces of paper mache when they get wet.
If the city wants to get ahead of this they had better send their staff out in raincoats with brooms and shovels.
That's a little harder than raking the leaves.
Hopefully there aren't any problems in New Maryland with water backing up.
If there are I'm sure I'll hear about them soon enough.


Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Perfect City

If I could afford to live in this town, I would live in this town.
I am in Vancouver right now and got here on Thursday night.
Today I skipped out of the afternoon of talking and speeches and boring things and rented a bike.
My hotel is right beside Stanley Park.
I rode around the Beach wall trail.
And the trees were huge!
The best thing of all is that as I was about to fall asleep a few minutes ago I heard a train!
Loud and clear and in no danger of being ripped up from the landscape.
I just wanted to say that before bed.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Completes My Family?

This one is really long (sorry Charles). I actually started it 3 days ago but I put it aside.
I don't mind writing about my feelings, whether good or bad, but I prefer that the feeling not be too intense at the time that I'm writing.
This one isn't about politics.
It's about one of the most emotional things that many people face in their lives.
Family pets.
I was brought up to love and treat animals well. It is difficult sometimes living in a province with so much hunting.
One of my best friends is a hunter and loves to tell his stories. I'd love to share the enthusiasm but I can't.
He created an amazing multi staged geocache with a hunting theme. It puts the cacher into the role of a hunter tracking the kill.
My son and I really enjoyed it.
But it's just pretend. The blood is paint and we knew that.
Regardless, Sporty is a good friend and I would not judge him by his activities if I don't share them (as he doesn't judge me for being a politician).
Besides, he has a great dog that he and his wife treat as their child.
This dog goes hunting with Sporty but only if he's up to it. Otherwise Sporty goes solo in the woods while Archer stays home and guards the fort.
It is by the kind gentle nature of this dog that the characters of Sporty and his wife are revealed.
I have found over and over again that if a pet shows hostility or fear towards people the chances are good that the animal has been abused at some point and has yet to recover.

Over 19 years ago my girlfriend (now wife) and I moved into an apartment together in south Mississauga, Ontario.
We agreed that a pet would make a great start to our family.
My mother was very involved in the Alliston and district humane society and arranged for us to go and pick a cat.
We looked around at the beautiful cats we spotted 2 that had similar colouring but were not related.
It made sense that we take two of them since we would be at work all day. They would be company for each other.
We named the boy Lester and the girl Maggie.
The names fit them perfectly.
For the first few months we ran back and forth from Mississauga to Snelgrove, Nobleton and points in between to the vets for various ailments.
When all that had worked out we were good as gold.
Lester was a lovable suck right from the start. He was daddy's boy.
The picture is him sitting on the toilet waiting for me to finish my shower.
To say he was friendly is understating. Everyone who knew us also knew Lester. He said hello to everyone.
Maggie was more timid and nervous.
I don't recall their backgrounds but I know they weren't nice.
There are so many situations out there of abusing animals that it makes me sick.
But right away Lester was willing to give humans a chance to be as nice to them as he wanted to be to us.
I appreciated that and made sure that I was worthy. Les was my little pal.
He always said hello when I came in the door and asked me about my day.
We had a couple of scares but the vet always sent them back home with us.
Once, we had to leave Lester at the vet overnight. He was not happy about that but forgave us as soon as he got home.
It was funny whenever he was really happy and enjoying a good stroke his mouth and nose would scroonch up. We knew then that all was good in his world.
If I was in bed on my side Lester loved to scoot in beside me to demand some loving. If I stopped for some reason such as to sleep, Les bopped me with his paw to get my attention.
If he was right up close to me having a really good time he gave me little bites.
These tended to be on my nose.
I couldn't even see for the tears and pain.
Lester had a heart murmur so purring was pretty rare from him. He never really needed to purr to express himself though.
Maggie was a less outgoing but still very lovable little girl. She was much mellower.
They were perfect for each other.
The two of them loved to lie there and give each other a long wash.
Most times it would end in Lester getting too playful and biting Maggie to get her stirred up. She would go along with it but when she didn't want to play anymore she told Lester in no uncertain terms.
Lester and Maggie followed us all along our trail of houses and apartments.
It was a nightmare when our apartment on Mississauga Road was flea infested. Someone before us had left us this gift.
We got out of there as soon as possible.
We ended up leaving my favourite sofa as a sacrifice to the fleas.
Lester and Maggie were always indoor cats so we took them from the flea palace directly to the vet for a flea bath before being taken to our new condo off Southdown Road.
It was while we lived here that we were married.
The next step was to buy our house in Meadowvale and go for the next part of the family.
Through every step, Maggie and Lester just bounced along with us and made themselves a home where we landed.
Just over 10 years ago we did something that created some concern among the kitties.
We had not 1, but 2 babies. At the same time!
During the first couple of blurry years Lester and Maggie were there for us whenever we wanted to stop and talk for a few minutes but stayed out of the way whenever we didn't. I was surprised that Lester hid whenever the kids were tearing around but Maggie stayed and didn't mind the two whirlwinds running rampant in the house.
As time went on and the boys got older the cats started to come out for longer periods.
The peppy little lad Lester didn't always like to be where the action was.
Maggie just strolled by on her way to chill out somewhere.
Almost every night as soon as the boys were in bed Lester would pop out to rule the roost again.
In January 2003 our family moved out here to New Brunswick.
We didn't have our own house bought yet so we stayed at my father's house outside of town.
Dad has always had plenty of cats and dogs so it wasn't a good idea to throw Lester and Maggie into the mix.
My mother and step-father Tom offered for our kitties to stay there until we had our own house to move into.
A couple of months later we had that house and were ready to introduce the furry kids to the maritimes.
While this was going on Tom began to get sick. First the doctors thought it was a back problem then a lung problem before realizing that he had cancer.
There were discussions of the best action plan to help him.
My mother told me that herself, my sister, Tom's daughters and the doctors were planning a meeting to decide treatment. I was to sit out here in New Brunswick to wait for the date of this meeting before heading to Ontario. One night I was in bed and said to my wife "I'm not going to wait. I'm going to see Tom now."
I packed up my little Suzuki Aerio and off I went to Ontario.
This turned out to be one of the smartest plans in my life.
I spent some great time with Tom talking about everything. He knew I loved him like a father and he loved me like a son. We also both knew this would be the last time I would see him.
Harsh reality is good for clarity but does nothing to ease the pain of a loss.
Thinking back I think I should have left the cats for a while longer instead of taking them home with me.
Mom had been through an awful lot and having the happy cats around certainly helped cheer her up a bit.
But I packed up a big metal cage with the litter box, food and water bowls for the kits. Very early on the morning of April 1st 2003 Lester Maggie and I said goodbye to Tom for the last time and my lonely mom and trundled to the east.
A big nasty ice storm was crashing into Ontario from the west that morning so I spent my first several hours watching it in my rear view mirror as it followed me towards Quebec.
Lester lay on top of the litter box lid and Maggie lay on the towel in the bottom of the cage.
Every time I turned my head to look their way they both said "Meow! We're still here with you keeping you company! You're doing just fine."
The ice storm got further and further back until it was gone just before I hit Montreal.
With that off my mind and I had time to reflect on my Ontario visit.
I'd like to think that Lester and Maggie knew how sad I was feeling since they stayed right there behind me talking to me the whole way to cheer me up.
It was so funny the way that Les would reach out of the cage to tap me on the shoulder when he figured that I should pay a little less attention to the driving and more to them.
The arrival home was a great reunion for us all. Cheryl and the boys were so happy to see the kits.
The kits took some time to explore the new digs but must have recognised our stuff and that was good enough for them. The place was all theirs in no time.
It was back to the old routines in a new place.
Tom did pass away shortly after my visit. The timing of my visit had been perfect.
The SARs scare hit Toronto at that time and when Cheryl arrived there she couldn't get into the hospital to see Tom before his passing.
The boys and I met Cheryl at the airport when she came home from Toronto and I got right on the same plane to head back to Toronto for Tom's funeral.
Tom's death hit me very hard. I had lost one of my best friends to cancer years before but this felt worse.
Cheryl and the boys were a great help but I was still in a sad place for quite a while.
One thing that remained totally constant was the affection that Lester and Maggie gave.
They never cared what was going on. They saw us as the people they were growing up with and were happy with that.
The following year Cheryl took a trip to Ontario to see her father. The trip was overdue for her and well timed.
The boys and I took care of business while she was away and Lester and Maggie took care of everything else.
For a while we thought that Lester was becoming hard of hearing or scared of being left alone. Many times in the night we would hear him yelling from some part of the house.
Often we would call him and he would come running to our voice and all was well. If he was further away in the house and didn't hear us I would get out of bed and find him.
As soon as he saw me he was thrilled and came along with me to chat. Even if it was really late or far too early.
Maggie would look to see what was going on but return to her napping once everything was okay with Les.
One night when Cheryl was in Ontario I heard Lester yelling. I called him and he didn't yell again.
I don't recall if he came to see me but I must have gone back to sleep.
The next morning I got up and went in to wake the boys up for school.
When I came back into the hallway I saw Lester lying on the living room floor. He never slept there.
"Lester, what are you doing sleeping there?" I asked.
He didn't move. Right away I knew that something was wrong and said "Oh no."
The boys both heard me and asked what was wrong.
We went over to Lester and he was gone.
It looked like he had lay down at that spot and went to sleep. That's all.
Maggie came into the room but didn't seem to react at all. I wonder if they know what goes on at times like this?
We cried and called Cheryl to tell her. It was very upsetting to us all.
Before heading to school the boys wrote letters for Les telling how much we would miss him and not to worry about Maggie since we would take good care of her.
And we did. We took care of Maggie and she certainly took good care of us.
She was graciously patient and tolerant with us when we disrupted her life and moved her again to another house.
For years Maggie slept between Cheryl's legs at night in a ball which felt like concrete.
One night Maggie looked over at me and decided that she wanted to sleep between my legs instead. She walked over and did just that from then on.
Did she know how much I missed Lester?
I was her new pillow.
If I wasn't there or was sent out of the room for snoring Maggie played it smart and stayed with the bed.
From that time on Maggie became more and more lovable.
Any time I sat down to do something she was right there ready to jump up and get comfy.
We developed a nightly routine.
After I had put the boys to bed I would go out into the living room and lie down on the couch.
No matter where she was in the house Maggie would know. She would jump up and lie on me while I read, watched TV or typed on my Blackberry.
We agreed that if I had to get up I don't do it suddenly. She needed to dismount properly.
Every day she would come to the door to welcome us when we came in.
I would pick her up like a little furry ball and she didn't resist as when she was younger. She always trusted me that I would put her down safely. I'm proud to say that I always did.
The picture was taken less than a year ago while was lying on me.
I'm convinced that we were her pets.
We placed cups and bowls of water through the house so she was never far from a drink.
The recent passing of my sister has affected me worse than anything to date. More than Andy or Tom.
Since returning home from the funeral in Ontario many people have given me space to sort this out. I appreciated that.
Maggie, on the other hand would have none of that and jumped up on me where I landed.
My job had was to be her pillow and in return she'd let me.
My grief wasn't going to keep her from giving me loving.
Who would have known that hers was the best idea to help me feel better?
Her cuddling and purring made me forget about feeling sad for a few minutes.

Over the last year or so we found spots of blood here and there once in a while.
Early in 2008 the vet decided it was likely a bladder infection as he did not see any tumours or blockage.
We gave her pills which helped.
We knew deep down that it could not last forever. She looked like a kitten but was now 19 years old.
She was as loving as ever but moving a little slower every day.
Maggie still purred like crazy but it was quieter now.

The most worrying change was when she started losing weight.
She wasn't eating or drinking very much. I got some cans of the food which she loved but it just sat in the bowl.
I tried mixing up water and milk. She had a tiny bit but went for a nap.
She stayed on our bed all of the time.

It was so cute when she lay in the sun in dining room bay window. I called her little sun bunny. If I looked at her at the right angle she reminded me of a rabbit.
I would come home and she would be in the window but when I came in the door she was there yelling hello and waiting for her stroke.
She wasn't doing this as much anymore.

Over this last Thanksgiving weekend I became very concerned. She was not well.
I had hoped for a miracle but on Monday she didn't look good.
I decided to go to the emergency vet. We talked to the boys and explained what the outcome may be.
Cheryl drove and I held Maggie in a blanket.
The vet confirmed that she was dehydrated and too thin.
We didn't know why.
The vet took her out for a blood sample. When she came back Maggie looked awful. She couldn't even move.
The poor little girl looked so sad.
The vet came back saying that they needed more blood in order to do tests. They didn't have enough.
I looked at Maggie lying there and said "No, we can't do that to her."
Then I looked at Cheryl and the boys and said "I think it's time."
I told Cheryl and the boys to say goodbye to her. We spent a few minutes.
The looks on our faces said it all. We didn't want this but this was about Maggie. She had a great run but it was time to go.

She was taken out to put the catheter in her leg for the needle.
I talked with Cheryl and the boys about staying in the room or not.
At first I thought they should leave but knew how sad they would feel if they weren't there and wanted to be.
We all stayed with her.

I held her gently while the needle was put in.
I almost stopped the vet.
Maggie pulled back a bit as the needle went in. I said "it's okay". I didn't want her to hurt.
A second later the vet said "she's gone".
I looked at the boys and Cheryl who were crying and walked over to try and comfort them.
I was worse than they were.

I was the last in the room with Maggie. I put my face to hers like I always did and said "I'm so sorry sweety. I just wanted the best for you."
Then I left her alone in the room on the steel table.

When we got outside we all cried.
We quietly went home.

Maggie had been helping me get over my sadness and now my sadness includes her.

It will take a very long time to get over her.