Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yes My Grand Children There is a Santa Claus!

This post is for those 5 little munchkins running around the continent that have taken over keeping me young and anyone else whose friends try to tell them that there is no Santa.

PaPa Hovan believes in Santa Claus. He is the same one that is described in Francis P Church's answer to Virginia O'Hanlon's letter. And he is more. Here is my story.

When I was about 10 and my younger brother David was about 5, things did not go well for the family in the last half of the year. My dad worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. As is often the case in business, the company and the union agreed to disagree and there was a strike. If was a long a bitter struggle and lasted several months. All Dad made was a few dollars strike pay a month. Luckily Mom was working but even then there was not much more coming in than was able to cover the mortgage and bills. The two sides finally came to an agreement and the trains started to move again in mid November. Just after Dad got back to work, he came down with a bad case of influenza and was off for another couple of weeks. We had never been big on a lot of expensive presents but even still things were looking pretty sparse for Christmas.

Mom and Dad put on a brave face but kids have a way of sensing things were not going well. My brother and I were expecting even less than normal. It was confirmed on Christmas Eve when we over heard Dad through the bed room door: "Well that is all of it. It is not much but at least they got something." They then went to bed and soon we heard them snoring. Dave and I got up and snuck a look. It was very sparse but there was a small present or 2 for each of us and a couple for Mom and Dad too. Later just as we were deciding whether or not it was safe to get up, our dog Rusty went berserk like he did when someone he knew came into the house. Dave and I jumped out of bed and let Rusty out of the bed room and followed him down the hall to the living room. When we arrived we skidded to a stop. The tree was piled high with brightly wrapped boxes and our stocking were stuffed. Rusty ran straight to the front door barking and wanted out. When we opened the door he ran to the edge of the top stair and looked around with a "Which way did he go?" look. It had snowed earlier that night and there were no foot prints to be seen. Mom and Dad here the ruckus came running into the living room and stopped with their mouths open and a look of disbelief. Rusty, Dave, and I checked the back door as well. No foot prints there either.

Later as we looked at the presents and started to unwrap them, there was something for everyone. Even Mom and Dad got several. They were all from "Santa". We got the toboggan we wanted. Dave got the train set. There were lots of other toys and clothes too. To this day I still do not know who our benefactor was or how he got into the house but as far as I am concerned it was Santa and always will be. Since that magical night, my brother, until the year he passed away was always up before every one else. Later in life as his first niece came for a visit at Christmas he would be at the front door knocking at 4am wanting to know if we were up and ready to unwrap gifts.

That anonymous generousity taught me that Christmas is really about giving to others. And not just material things. Sometimes a hug means more than diamonds to some one who is down at this time of year.

So if any one asks you, if you believe in Santa don't be afraid to say that you do because your Grandfather says he is exists and if PaPa still believes it has to be true.

To the parents, that goes for you too. Even though you have heard the story many times before. PaPa say so.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time Marches

Just as I feel I have finally caught up, the world goes flashing by. About a week ago, my daughter Chrissy posts on her blog that their eldest is now a blogger and has her own blog. I'm not that old that I have grandchildren let alone ones old enough to be blogging. It helps her with her spelling, reading, and writing I am told. On her second entry she was talking about her cat, Jaxson. I put a comment on it and Sunday she had to phone to tell me to check out her blog that she has answered me back. I'm definitely not that old.

besides being a crawling machine, she has also learned to Today I got the opportunity to baby sit my 2 granddaughters here in town. Their mom, number 2 daughter Kimmie, had to work late and son-in-law Scott had to go to work before she was to get home. Their eldest Makynna, a very precocious 3 year old, and I had a very understandable conversation about her latest favourite movie, "Kung Fu Panda". I know my chidrenese is not that good so her English must be. Her almost 1 year old sister was joining in and I didn't have a clue what she was saying so that goes to confirm my thoughts about my childrenese. Oryn teleports though. Another talent that I have noticed my grandchildren have developed and usually about this age. One moment she is at one end of the couch and the next she is playing with the pots and pans in the kitchen and did not crawl by me. Still I am not old enough to have teleporting grandchildren.

Enough of this speculation and on to the happening of the past week or so.

This past week, Saturday to be exact, we completed our midway show of "Joseph". As a band of brothers, we are having a blast. I don't think we have done a show the same way twice. There is a scene where the other bothers are grovelling before Joseph. While they are, I am being my usual lecherous self and am hitting on one of his attendants. Each night I have hit on a different one starting at the back of the line and working forward. As a result it is a surprise to each of the girls. It has been fun watching the different reactions. I have made my way through the full group on that one side and unfortunately I can't get over to the other.

It has made for some long days and short nights, but it has been a blast. There has been rumors that next year they are putting on "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". If that is the case I may just audition again. We'll see. Still to early to tell.

suitable Work has been going slower than I expected this month until this morning. I went into work to put through some applications that I got over the weekend and instead of spending an hour in the office I spent most of the day helping out. There was a fire in one of our buildings and I spent the day trying to track down some of the "orphaned" tenants. Some of them will not be allowed back into their suites for quite some time and I was given the task of finding them accommodations within our system. Managed to get all but 1 looked after. It was an interesting day.

Well enough for tonight. It is bed time and my pillow is calling me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Anniversary Present

On Friday I got Sharon her anniversary/birthday/Christmas present: a set of diamond studs. Dian and I went to get a rose for her and decided to put them on the rose like a couple of dew drops. We then went to Sobey's to take her out to lunch and give her the flower. We gave it to her before she left. She looked at it and said "A rose for me how sweet. What is it for?" I told her for her anniversary. "And a card too. Can I read it?" I helped her get the card out and got the "How cute." on the wording of the note I had written. She then placed the rose on the back shelf and said that she had a few minutes before lunch. Dian told her she had better not leave it there. When she asked why both Di and I said "Look at it closely." It took a couple of seconds but she finally saw the studs. She tore the plastic wrap of the rose and took off. " I've got to show these to Arlene." She then showed them to all the girls working on cash. Arlene told her to take lunch a little early. Sharon again put the rose on the back counter and started to leave. Arlene told her she shouldn't leave the rose there. That it might not be there when she got back. One of the girls from one of the other departments came by to check out at that time and said "Wow! I wish someone would give me a $1200 rose."

While we were walking over to the restaurant Sharon asked "You didn't pay that much for them, did you?" I told her they were worth a little more than that. She stopped in the middle of the parking lot and said "Tom Hovan how much did you?" I replied "Let's just say that they are worth twice that much. Do you want me to take them back?" "You didn't pay that much!!" "Let's just say I didn't pay that much." "Okay as long as you didn't pay that much."

We went to lunch. I got home about 10:30pm after the preformance and noticed that she had the studs in. She said as soon as she got home they went in and they weren't coming out until she had to go to work on Sunday. And they didn't. It has been a long time since I have seen Sharon with a permasmile on but she had one all weekend.

Here are a few pictures.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun at the Theatre

One of my addictions is live theatre - performing that is . Since September I have been rehearsing Monday to Saturday for "Joseph and His Technicolor Dream Coat". It has been a blast. To night was opening night and we perform for 12 of the next 14 days. I am Levi, one of the brothers. And we have a lot of fun.

This is what the director and the costumer see a cool dude of a brother.

I also have a part as a gogo dancer. I am not sure about this one but hey if you cannot have fun dressed like this you have no sense of humor.

Here are few of the other brothers in various costumes.

As you can see we are all crazy. It is the grease paint and other makeup that gets us going. It is a better high than anything out there. you can be anyone or anything you want, go anywhere and any when you can imagine, and do anything you want. If you have never tried it, get involved. You will never want to give it up. But beware. It can eat up all our spare time and some that isn't spare in a hurry if you let it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

35 Years and Counting

Today Sharon and I have been married 35 years. It has been an interesting and eventful trip to get here. But it has been worth it and we are expecting many more years and adventures. I feel like the opening line of Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities": "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

We have moved 12 times to and from 5 cities. This last move has been the longest at over 20 years in the same house. We have had some lean times and some good times. We have survived good jobs and bad jobs, finding them and losing them. We have had good bosses and learned from them and we have had some bad bosses and learned more from them. We have survived raising children and are now enjoying the fruits of our labors: grandchildren. We have each survived some serious health issues that could have and should have shorted our time together. We have lost each other in some emotional/marital problems and found each other again only to realize that there is nothing that we can not work though because we really do love each other and that all these trials really do make us stronger and draw us closer.

Once we were invited to a young marrieds workshop at church. I had no idea why. We had been married almost 10 years at the time. I think it was because we had 2 small children at the time and the organizers thought we were relatively new at the game. The class we attended was on surviving life's ups and downs. The facilitator gave some statistics on what causes divorces and per cent ages of failures with each. Things like a new job with either and increase or decrease in pay 30%, with moves to a new town/city 40%. Loss of a child 25%, with the loss of first child almost 40%, and the subsequent loss a second child the chances rose to over 50%. He said all these are cumulative. After the presentation of the rest of his lecture he turned the time over to discussion. Several of the group asked questions and made comments. After a while I looked at Sharon and put up my hand. I asked hypothetically what the odds of surviving the following scenario was: "A young couple married while attending post secondary schooling, taking a good job in the schools town, about a year later moving to a small faring town for a better job, losing that job because of an economic down turn, moving to get another job and finding out they were expecting just after the move, being transferred to another city with the company, losing the position because the business was sold and also losing the child shortly after he was born to a mysterious illness almost at the same time, finding another good job in his field, losing a second child due to miscarriage at the start of third trimester, having their first child, expecting their second and moving to another city for another position with another company just before the second child is born and losing this job with in a year because of the economy. All this happens in the first 10 years of marriage." The facilitator looked shocked and asked if I was joking stating that this couple if still together would be lucky to survive another night together. Sharon and I started to laugh and asked if he knew a good divorce lawyer. He asked why and I said that is a brief outline of our life since we got married. He was amazed and asked how we survived and obviously thrived. We looked at each other and said "Our faith in each other and in God." He said that is and was the best foundation a couple could have and was where he was headed and thanked us for finishing his lecture.

I think that he was looking only at the negatives. I do not see many in our life together. Most of the "hardships" we have been through have be for the better. Very little if any have been for the worse. They have taught us to value each other even more and to cherish each other. They have taught us valuable lessons in humility and charity. They have given us an entirely different out look on life, a view of things around us and their real importance or should I say what is important. It is not a view that we have often found in others. We enjoy each day as it comes and try to live it together at its fullest. Doing the things we enjoy whether they are mutually shared or by ourselves and respecting the other's choices.

Enough of the mush. Lets just leave it at 35 happy years and counting.

Until next time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Even My Hair Hurts

Over the last few weeks Sharon and I have been walking at nights when she gets off early enough. At my last doctor's appointment he gave a clean bill of health (except for the blood pressure medicine and the occasional celebrex for my bum knee) and said to get back into exercising. I went to see my old Sensei, Hanshi Jorge Sosa last week. He agreed to take me on as a student again on Mondays from 4 to 6. Tonight was the first night training. He said that he would take it easy on me for the first time. I should have know better. He had me sweating so hard my hands were even wet. I know they say the second day is worse than the first but I hurt in places I haven't hurt in a long time. My legs are starting to stiffen, my knee is numb, my chest and shoulders are sore, and my abs are spasming from the "warm-ups". It has been a long time since I did 40 sit ups, not to mention push ups, leg tucks and reverse crunchies. But I feel the best I have in over a year. I just hope I survive the next few days to make it back next week. I guess he did take it easy on me. He told me that was all at 5:50 and let me go 10 minutes early.

I was shocked at how much I remembered. After warm ups and techniques practice we did 10 Katas and I managed to get through them with little or now coaxing. Next week should be interesting as we move forward into the more difficult ones. I have only another 18 to remember.

Night all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not Just Another Pretty Face

Last Monday I received a phone call from a friend that is directing the local musical theatre group's fall production. He asked if I was interested in being involved. I have performed and worked with the group in the past and said sure knowing he was short of back stage help. I can drive a nail with the best of them. I arrived at the theatre at the appointed time. As I walked in he handed me a script and said "Congratulations. You have just auditioned for 'Joseph and His TechinColor Dream Coat'. You are one of the brothers. Rehearsals are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The men start rehearsal in 30 minutes." He then smiled and walked off. I didn't think the railroad ran through that area of Lethbridge but obviously it does. Don't get me wrong, I am having fun and enjoy this immensely. It is nice to know that you are not just a pretty face but a voice too.

We started that night as the 8 brothers. The next rehearsal we up to the 10 brothers. I think we are now the required 11. I will find out this morning as we start learning the dance sections and everyone said that they could be there. We had planned at the 8 stage that we would hold puppets between us. One would operate the head and mouth, the other the arms. The feet would be connected to our feet so as we moved the puppet would too. But I guess that has gone by the boards now.

Got to run. Till next time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Ramblings

Been a couple of weeks since the last foray into blogdom. Lots has happened and not much of it remembered. Work has taken most of my time. Even getting calls on my days off. Got just about all of the weeds cut in the back yard and all the rest sprayed. Been putting off that inevitable almost next to last date with the lawn mower. Monday seems to be the day.

Sharon and I have been shopping a lot recently. We have paid off more big bills and bought more stuff for the house than we have done in a long time. The only thing I can put it down to is the fact that there are the commission cheques coming in.

We bought a wii a little while back and on Friday we bought our "first" couch. Now don't get me wrong. We have had 2 others: the 1st was a new one given us by my parents and the 2nd was a "hand me down" again from my Mom. She bought a new one and didn't have room for the old one. This one is the first new one that we picked out and paid for ourselves. It only took us 35 plus years but what the hey. It is a "semi-custom built" black leather sofa. We won't see it for at least another month.

Today we also started to seriously price out kitchen cabinets. The original ones are starting to look a little dated and worn. It is time for them to go to the big scrap heap in the sky. Besides they don't really match the white oak hard wood flooring I put down this spring. When we were leaving the show room we walked by this bathroom sink and fell in love with it. It would go perfectly with the tile we are going to put in the bathroom upstairs. Even better than the one we bought over 2 years ago. We looked at each other and said at the same time "The other one would look really nice in the down stairs bath." Now all I have to do is get the time to get it done before 16 Dec.

Jake was talking about projects in his blog earlier this month. He said they are works in progress. That is why they are called projects. I agree that is why they are called projects. I have to do on my project list: 1) finish installing the base boards and trim on the new hardwood floor and stairs, 2) finish the bookcase/railing thingy in the living room, 3) the upstairs bathroom reno (tile, tub surround, and sink) and probably one or two other small things. Hey I learned from the best. It took my Dad almost 2 years to build the mohagany fire place in their house and over 5 to complete the linen closet. It takes us Hovan males a while to get things done, but when they are done they are done well and done right. Just ask us we'll tell you.

It is getting late and the eyes are starting to droop. It has been a long day. It started almost 2 hours sooner than I was expecting. When Kimmie was a young'un she had done a number on her ankle while participating in competitive gymnastics. They operated but while waiting the several weeks it took to get her into the operating room they prescribed Voltarin Rapid to help control the inflammation. It turns out she is the 1 in 100,000 that take a reaction to the drug and is the 1 in 250,000 that take a violent reaction. Her muscles stiffen and cramp up. She was curled up into a little ball and there was nothing they could do for her to help with the pain. She literally cried for 4 or 5 days while the drug worked its way out of her system. This week to help control the inflammation in her feet from another medical condition she was prescribed another drug that was from the same drug family but was even less likely to have any side effects. Well that was what the phone call was about at 6 this morning. Her neck and back had started to seize up. Unlike the last time she knew what to watch for and Friday she started to feel it coming on so she stopped taking the pills. Scott watched the kids while Kimmie and I spent 2 hours in the ER. There is still not much they could do for her but they were at least able to give her a painkiller to help unlike the last time.

Well I'm rambling again and time is flying by. My pillow is calling my name and I can no longer ignore it. So good night all. Till next time.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Wolves Have Feasted

Last night we went to pick David up. It was interesting waiting at the airport. Sharon and I discussed how we were going to pick the young man out. We had never met him nor him us. It was just by picture. We decided I should have gotten dressed up like a limo driver with a sign with his name on it and stood at the entrance. As I said we hadn't met and the only description that Di gave us was "a tall, skinny, goofy looking guy with big ears." We decided to add to that "who was looking lost and confused." When he came through the door of the customs area we knew exactly who he was and it seemed he recognized us too. I'm not to sure how he took the welcome. As I walked up to him I said "David" and he held out his hand to shake. I took it and immediately pull him into a hug and said "I'm Dad and this is Sharon. You can call her Mom." I don't think that was what he was expecting.

On the ride down we had 2 hours to talk and I think we got to know him. And I don't think we chewed on him too hard. He seemed to arrive in Lethbridge in one piece. I'll have to ask Di later. He was as Di had described him over the past few weeks and I think he will survive well in the Hovan family. He may have to get a few final pointers from Jacob and Scott so he is not coming in total unprepared. I took the weekend off so I could spend some time with him and Di and get to know him better and see how they work together.

This morning at 6:30 Di woke me up to help cook breakfast. This after getting home at 2:30 and to bed just after 3. She had cooked some hash browns and was making scrabbled eggs. I was to cook the steaks and would have gladly if we had steaks. My dear little vegetarian had taked out pork chops. So we had bbq'ed pork chops, eggs and hash brown before Sharon went to work. I understand we are dinning at O Sho's tonight and tomorrow we are having a family birthday(Kimmie)/engagement party.

This wolf will say more as the weekend progresses. I now have a date with the weeds in the yard and a sprayer of round-up.

Till later.....

Monday, August 25, 2008

..... when you're having fun

Been 2 months now and a lot has happened. Things are going well here work wise. In June I was top lease professional company wide. Had a great month in July as well. Did so well that I basically had nothing to do here. Rented them all. The Calgary office was down a couple of people due to illness at the end of the month so they sent me to Calgary to help with the back log there.

August was just as good to me. On Friday the 15th they flew me to Vancouver to help them through a back log as well. Spent the week showing apartments in New Westminster. Had a good time but it was sure a lonely week. Got to meet some of the names that I see in my emails and put faces to them. Arrived home on Friday the 22nd. Spend Saturday getting reacquainted with my lawn mower. Sharon had some tickets to the Lethbridge Exhibition rodeo for Saturday. We went and had a good time. The livestock seemed to win most of the battles as there was a lot of "no times" and "no rides" posted. Afterwards we walked through the grounds and pavilion just to say we had been. Today was the annual Calgary region BBQ. Scott, Kimmie, the kids, Dian, Sharon and I went and had a good time. Makynna found a new friend from Calgary and suprised us all by getting on one of the horses. She rode Peggy and then Sage for over an hour. it wasn't until Kimmie told her that the horse was getting tired (actually it was her and Papa as we led the horses) that she reluctantly got off. We all had a good time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my day off but I have a few things to get done so I can take Saturday off. Sharon and I are going to go to Calgary on Friday to pick up David while Dian is working. I am taking Saturday off to get to know him a bit if I can pry him away from Di for a few minutes.

Well it is late and bed is calling.

Till next time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Been a While

A lot has happened over the past 2 months. Time to get caught up.

June saw me taking a stress test. It discovered 2 things. I have a heart (for all those who think I'm heartless) and I have stress (who da thunk it). There were some things else but the long and short of it was the doc figured my blood pressure with is a bit high but not critical was just high enough to confuse the heart. He put me on a very mild blood pressure medicine to see if the slight drop it would cause would settle things out. In September we see if he was right. Everything else is on a wait and see basis.

End of May I got offered a job as the lease professional (agent) for TransGlobe Property Management Services in Lethbridge. TransGlobe is a large nation wide company that owns and operates appartments across the country. My job is to keep the ones they own in Lethbridge rented. And to top it off I get to do what I do best - talk to people. Most times I get the warm fuzzies because I am helping someone. Over all the people I work with are great and the company seems to be really supportive.

2 weeks ago I went into the office on Monday to hand in some paper work and check on a few things. I went into the office I was using and didn't see my laptop. I had worked late on Saturday and had used the main office for the internet access as I didn't have any yet in mine. I thought I may have left it there. When I asked Vicki who is the office assistant (in reality she runs the place) if she had seen it she said no. We went back into the back office and looked. There was bits of ceiling tile all over the desk and floor. We could not find my laptop, another that had been left there, a digital camera and the cordless phone. Some one had gone into the washroom on the other side of the office wall, climbed up on the toilet, accessed the ceiling, gone through the wall and through the ceiling tile in the office and helped themselves. The police arrived and investigated. No news yet. What should have been a quick hour or so turned into an all day stint.

Last week I got a call from the young man Dian has been dating while she is in Arizona. He asked me for her hand in marriage. I asked if him would take the rest too and he agree. He hadn't asked her yet. She knew something was up and tried to weasel it out of everyone in the family but we managed to keep it a secret. Last night at supper he asked her. She said yes. They are planning a December wedding.

Well lets hope the next posting comes a little quicker. I was rather busy working 2 full time jobs until they could replace me at the Corps. I finally had to write myself out of the schedule.

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And The Verdict Is.....

Well we have eliminated a few more things and seem to be coming closer to the answer. The Doc said that my chest x-ray is clear, lunges good. The ultra sound ruled out gall bladder and a couple of other things. The liver is enlarged and seems to be fatty. The tests done for kidneys shows they are working okay. The heart monitor showed that the heart is double beating about 80 times an hour.

The fatty liver has him a little concerned but he feels that if I lose 5 to 10 pounds over the next couple of months it should correct itself. The extra heart beats have him a little more concerned. He said we all do it and it increases as the body ages. They get concerned if it starts to throw about 25 to 30 extra beats an hour. I'm over 2 to 3 times that. He doesn't think it is pre-heart attack yet but is concerned enough that he has ordered a stress test. The soonest it can be done is 3 June.

So I am to lose a little weight and can start doing some walking to start getting back into exercise but not to over do it until the stress test.

So some good news, some answers, and some more questions. Looks like I'm going to be around a while longer.

Time Flies...

Its been a while since I was on. A lot has happened since then.

The trip to Salt Lake was great. Jake and I got into the Priesthood session and Di and I went to the Sunday afternoon session.

I am fully installed into the airport. It seems as though I am never there. The 2 days and 2 afternoons with 4 off are great. It was a little hard to get used to the 4:30 am start time for the day shifts but the 14:30 go home time is not to hard to take. And the almost complete lack of stress is wonderful.

This month I went for a chest x-ray and abdominal ultra sound, wore a heart monitor for a day and this afternoon I go to see the doc to go through the results. Earlier this month I finished up with the blood pressure lady and she seem pleased with the results. It seems that on the average it was going down and she didn't think I needed to be medicated. Well not for high blood pressure anyways.

We are planning for a trip to Logan the first weekend in May for Jacob's commissioning and grad. It is good to see him reaching his goals.

Di has left us for the summer. She is in Phoenix, Arizona for the next 4 months working. We miss her already. The house is too quiet and tends to stay clean longer.

Well we will let you know what the Doc say later. Till then.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Off To Mecca

Thursday night after work, Sharon and Di picked me up and we were off to Logan. We have tickets to the AM session of Conference. The older girls are going to the Session and Jacob and I are going to try and get into the Priesthood Session in the evening.

The trip was long and the day was longer. I dozed now and then on the way down and managed to get a bit of a nap in the early afternoon but that was it until I finally couldn't stay awake any longer about 10pm.

When we arrived Friday morning, Daniel came up stairs looked at Sharon and I and said "Where's Auntie Di? I thought she was coming. Oh, hi PaPa and Grama." He turned around and went down stairs until he heard Di come in and then ran back up stairs. Rainey was glad to see us all and gave us a hug and a giggle.

Eliza wanted PaPa and Grandma to pick her up after school on Friday. When the school bus pulled up, she bounded off the bus and jumped into my arms with a big hug and a squeal. Then she went over to Grama and gave her a hug. At least one of my grandchildren loves me.

I am excited about going tonight and looking forward to it. Chrissy, Di, and Sharon headed out early this morning to see if Di could get in the stand-by line early enough to get in to the Conference Center. When they got there the line was all ready several blocks long. Di decided to go to one the over flow areas. They advised that we should get there about 3:30 but not later than 4 if we are to get in tonight.

Got to get going. I am off to buy a couple of pairs of dress pants and a shirt before we go.

Talk to you later.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time Flies...

Its been a while and the month is almost gone. Last weekend was hectic and busy and the week that followed was just as busy. I worked every day except Thursday and was asked if I wanted to work it as well. Yesterday I was retraining at the landfill site. It seems that I am going to be working one or two of my days off there for the next little while. I never said life was boring.

The past couple of weeks were good ones. I got to spend some time with the family and friends as well. Sharon and I sat Kynna and Oryn last week and Sharon had the opportunity to do it again this week while Kimmie and I took some junk to the dump. Friday Dave and Wanda Cookson and their two boys, Zack and Josh, came into town for a visit and we all met at Kimmie's for supper. It was good to see them again. The boys are no long kids but young men. After supper we were talking and getting caught up on life. Dave would bark and Kynna would run to the window to see the dog. After about an hour she finally caught on and walked over to Dave and said "Uncle David you drive me bonkers!!" That broke him up. Wanda snagged on to Oryn and wouldn't let her go.

I love my girls and their families. I enjoy and cherish every minute that I can spend with them. If it wasn't for them life would be rather dull and lifeless. As I watch them grow and move on with life I am just amazed at the blessings that the Lord has given me. I have a wife that stands by me and supports me. I don't think she realizes how important to me she really is. My girls have given my some of the best memories I have and are the bright points in my life. And as they continue to add to the clan through friends and families of their own I feel even more blessed. Chrissy, Jacob, and their kids, Eliza, Daniel, and Rainey, are a never ending flow of example and wonder. Eliza with her elan, Daniel with his inquisitiveness, and Rainey with his bubbly personality and read smile. Kimmie and Scott and their two, Makynna and Oryn, are close by and available whenever PaPa needs a hug or someone to love and are ever ready to give. Kynna with her unbounded energy and a mind that is a sponge that soaks up everythink, Oryn who is still new and reminds me that all children are miracles. I get to watch her grow and develop her own personality and am excited all over again ( as I was with the others) to see who she will be come. Dian is just Dian. She is our own little miracle. I still want her to be my baby but she is her own young lady and has come into her own these last couple of years. When she goes to the States this summer to work, I will miss her very much. I cannot wait to meet the young man that will eventually sweep her off her feet. I know he will be a very special person. (Not that my other two sons-in-law aren't, but Chrissy and Kimmie know what I mean.)

The month of April I start the next rounds of tests to try and figure what is happening to this old body of mine. Wednesday I go for a chest x-ray and full torso ultrasound. The middle of the month I get a heart monitor for a day. Hopefully when I see the doc near the end of the month we can eliminate some other things and narrow it down further.

I must close now as work is calling. Till next time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All Too Soon Quiet

Well the time has come and gone. Jake and Chrissy are home and have taken the kids back. After a week of pandemonium there is silence in the house (except for Di of course). If was fun and I have some good memories of the time. I would do it again in a heart beat.

I am told that Rainey was placed in his car chair as they left and pointed at the house and said "PaPa house. Go. PaPa come. PaPa go." over and over. He also said it every now and then as they drove out of town. The little monkey dissed me all week and now he doesn't want to leave PaPa behind.

Kimmie and I took the 5 grand kids out for a walk at Henderson Lake. Makynna and Daniel walked hand in hand most of the way. It was cute. All I can say is as they grow older the world had better watch out. Once they reach their late teens and older and they get together the world will not be safe. Eliza bounded around and played little mother as only Eliza can. Rainey kept point at the geese on the lake and saying "Birds. Go." and then tried to climb off my shoulder. I think he wanted to go see the geese up close and personal. Oryn sat in the stroller and watched.

On Sunday we blessed Oryn. About half way through Sacrament she looked up at Kimmie and then me and down the bench at Auntie Di and could see Oryn. Auntie Chrissy had her and she and Jake and her kids and Gama were sitting across the aisle from us. Kimmie said that Auntie Chrissy had her. She stood up on the bench and said in a clear, loud voice "Auntie Chrissy I want my baby sister back. NOW!" Only my garndkids.

Yesterday I went back out to the airport to talk with the head electrician to see what further retraining he needed me to do. I had been out there Thursday and Friday for some refresher. He said that from the reports he had back any time I wanted to reinsert myself into the schedule was fine by him. I was satisfied with what he had heard and that I didn't need to retest.

After this weekend I sit down with Bob and go through the schedule and get it set. This weekend I am in Vulcan Thursday night until midnight, all day Friday (14 hours) and possibly the same Saturday as well. They are installing new carpet at the ATB and they want security while the contractors are in there. If they get finished Friday or early Saturday, I will be supervising a group of Commissionaires in Milk River doing security for the annual Corvette Draw and Dance. One way or the other it works out to the equivalent of over 80 hours this week. Sunday at Green Prairie (10), Monday parking (8), Thursday Vulcan (8) plus mileage, Friday Vulcan (14 at double time and a half - Stat holiday) plus maleage, and Saturday (8 to 14)at Vulcan and/or Mild River plus mileage. Who said that life was boring.

Well got to go and get things done today.

Till next time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We Survived

We did it. We made it through the day and no one was seriously injured or killed even. And we still have our sanity. I even got 5 hours work in. How do you like that.

Today the 3 are mine from 11:30 until 8:00pm. So far we took Gama to work, went for a walk around Henderson Lake and to lunch with Moby Dog, Auntie Kimmie, Makynna, and Oryn, and even made it home in time for Rainey to have an nap and the rest of us to watch a movie. Rainey is waking up now and I should go. Gama gets off at 8:00 and I should get them fed and ready for bed before then.

I am going to miss them when they are gone. The house will be too quiet. Only another 3 days left.

Till next post.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some of Best My Blessing Call Me PaPa

It's been 5 days since we picked up the grandkids. Rainey at first didn't take to PaPa at all. Every time I picked him up or on occasion even looked at him, he ran to AnDi and wanted up. He now thinks I am OK and will even sit on my lap. AnDi (or MaMa as he often calls her) is still his favorite.

Eliza and Daniel were excited about the trip to Gama's House. All the way back one of them or the other asked if we were at Gama's yet.

Sunday Rainey still wasn't too sure about Gama and PaPa so AnDi took him to the Singles Ward. He was a hit and charmed all the girls. After she took him to a friends house and he worked his magic on Di's friend's Mom. He even had her giving him rice crispy squares. Sharon and I took the older 2 with us. When it came time to head to Primary, Daniel went into the nursery class like he had been attending there all along. Eliza when into the Primary Room and found her class and was settled in by the time I got through with Daniel. Who needs PaPa when you are as self assured as those 2. After church Auntie Kimmie and Makynna and Oryn came over for supper. We were out numbered 5 kids to 4 adults. You would have thought a tornado had hit the house but I was surprised at how well they cleaned up after themselves. The only mess that they let for PaPa was the new box of laundry soap that Daniel and Makynna dumped all over the laundry room. There was some semblance of order though when everyone was gone or in bed. They passed out about 9:30 and didn't get up until nearly 9:30.

Monday Auntie Di took them swimming. You would have thought she had given them the world. Daniel had to tell us all about it and Eliza would put in her thoughts as he expounded on the joys of the pool. Rainey had a blast too we were told. He just took to the hot tub and relaxed. Unfortunately it didn't tire them out like the visit from their cousins. Rainey was up before 7 and Eliza and Daniel were not far behind. Gama and PaPa had their hands full most of the day. Auntie Di gave us a bit of a break when she took Rainey shopping with her after work.

Tomorrow is going to be an experience I am not too sure how I will handle. Both Sharon and Dian are off to work and school from 8 to after 4 and I have the 3 of them all to myself. If you don't hear from me again please send all correspondence care of the pysch ward at the Lethbridge Regional Hospital.

Hopefully until tomorrow night.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Time Off For Good Behavior?

Just a quick up date. The mall didn't renew the Corps contract for security and I am in the process of being moved to another site. Back to the airport I am told. Just when I don't know. Working all over the place right now.

Last week Gamma and I had the opportunity of baby sitting both Makynna and Oryn for a couple of hours. We had a blast. First I cuddled with Oryn and then Gamma did. Makynna was just herself and kept us entertained with her stories and activities. That kid has one heck of an imagination.

Off to Logan tomorrow to pick up the 3 grandkids. They are coming up for a visit with Gamma, Papa, and Auntie Di for a week while Mom and Dad take a well deserved and much needed holiday. This could be interesting.

Things are plodding along with the medics. The blood pressure lady and my family doc are pleased. The BP is going in the right direction. Tomorrow I start with the other specialist. I see the edocrinologist and depending on what he says and finds I start going else where.

Well that all folks for now any why.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just Another Busy Day in Paradise

Todays blog covers the last few days. I took Friday off as I had a lot of personal stuff to get done. This meant working Saturday. It was the first Saturday I had worked in a long time and was kept hopping. At 08:30 I got a call from the police dispatcher asking if I could meet some officers and the south entrance to the mall parkade. I asked if he could tell me why and was told that they would explain. When I got there I found a raised camper van with the front half of the roof missing and the clearance sign at the entrance hanging from one end of its bracket. It was a 4" pipeand hung on some heavy metal brackets. I guess the police were chasing a stolen vehicle and the thieves turned into the parkade to try to avoid the police like they do in the movies. Didn't work.

I was just getting through with them and I got a call about a shoplifter. As I was going through the mall I saw the store manager following a female and indicating that was her shoplifter. I stopped the lady and told her I had a complaint about a shoplifter and asked her to open her bags. She said she had bought everything and refused. I told her she could do it voluntarily or come to my office and do it for the police. She then opened her bag. The only thing in the bag that she had paid for was a scarf. She had 5 blouses in the bag and was wearing 3 coats. Total came to about $500. I arrested her and was taking her to the security office. When we go close to the mall entrance she told me to take a flying leap at a rolling donut and going to leave. I grabbed her and told her she was coming to the office. She said she would sit on the bench inside the mall entrance and wait. She walked to the bench and as soon as I let go of her she tried to leave again. I was on my cell to the police at this time and dropped it as I was struggling with her. The store manager picked it up and continued to talk to the dispatcher and tell what was going on. I finally took the lady down to the floor and pinned her arms under her. She continued to fight. While she was down she told me she was on the way to the hospital for major surgery and was going to be late (On a Saturday. Yeah right.), she had just gotten out of the hospital from major surgery and that I was going to break open her stitches, she had mumps and she hoped I was going to get them, she had hepatitis and I was going to get it and started all over again. She also told me that she was going to charge me with assault, bodily harm, sexual assault, abuse and about a dozen other things. As soon as the police arrived she became the model citizen and answered all their questions and did everything they asked. She even gave up a pair of pants that she had layered over her jeans. The 2 officers were the 2 I was dealing with at the other end of the mall. That and the paper work took me to 12:30. The last 3 hours of the day were boring and I had to find things to keep me busy and awake.

Sunday was church. I went by myself as Sharon had to work.

Monday was a statutory holiday here (Family Day) and I decided to work it. I had to be at the mall at 6:00 to open up one set of doors for the gym in the mall and did not have to open the rest until 11:30. So it was just me and the muzak until noon. I got a call from one of the other commissionairs I knew that was also working asking me if I had read the paper yet. It seems that one of the "misunderstood residents of the downtown core" had passed away "suddenly " surrounded by his family and friends while visiting family in Standoff on the reserve west of town. I saw his significant other staggering though the mall a little later and reminded her that she was not really welcome there. She muttered something about looking for someone and left. She usually talks to me and tells me her problems and why she should be allowed to stay but that time. I was amazed that she was there because in the paper it said she was at his side. I was going to say something else here but it would sound a little callus and uncaring. It is almost impossible not to become a little prejudgist when deal with the people I have to every day.

Tuesday was just another day in paradise. One of my staff members called me and asked if he could come in to talk to me. I said sure any time. When he arrived he announced that he had just taken a position with the company that was replacing us in the mall. He was hired to train the group that was coming in and then going to the other mall and working there for them. He asked if it would be a problem if he stayed until the end of the month. I could see any but would call Bob our general manager here in town and ask him. Bob said no and wished him the best of luck and made sure that it was understood that once he left he couldn't come back.

We also looked after both Makynna and Oriyn last night for the first time. It was a blast and we thoroughly enjoyed. I still wish I had half as much energy as Kynna and Oryn was just a sweetheart. Grandma enjoyed herself and loved her cuddle time with Oryn.

Today was busy. They were doing the annual fire alarm testing and I spent most of the day letting the alarm people into rooms and relocking them as they left. I was also approached by one of the ladies that works in the tower and asked if the rumor was true that we were no longer doing security in the mall. I answered that as of midnight on the 29th we were being replaced. She asked by what firm and I told her. Her reply was a sarcastic "Thank you. You just made me feel real safe." She then went on to say she was sorry to see me and my staff leave. She was impressed with the changes for the better that had taken place since I had taken over late in 2006. She wished me luck in my "new" old posting at the airport. This is the type of comment that I have been getting the last week from almost everyone. I makes me feel good.

The politics are heating up here in good old Alberta as we are getting into the last couple of weeks of the campaign in the provincial election. The more I read and hear the more I become less and less impressed with the Conservatives (the ruling party). It seems their idea of planning for our future is to throw money at a problem without really saying how it is to be spent or how they came up with the amount. One of the promises is to put another 100 police officers on the streets of the cities of Alberta. I am not sure how they are going to do this as policing is a municipally controlled funded matter not a provincial one. In health care they are going to reduce waiting times in the ER's and for surgery with out telling us how or how much. They are also going to hire more doctor's but not saying where they are going to find them. They are making it easier for business to bring in foreign temporary workers to help fill the shortage of staff right now but not saying what they are going to do with them once the need is filled or they are no longer needed or wanted by the businesses. I have no problem with bringing in trained/skilled immigrants to fill a need but not unskilled labour that will only be employed for a short time and then laid off before they become permanent staff. The government has also refused to stand up to the petroleum industry by backing down on the recommendations of a committee that they put together to come up with revisions to the oil and gas royalties. They have not collected over 1 billion dollars over the last few years because of Alberta having one of the lowest royal schedules in the world and a still giving the oil companies several years before they implement some of the recommendations to help them through "these tough times that the oil and gas industry is facing right now."

Enough or I will be writing all night and can feel myself starting to rant. I will close now. 4:30 comes early. Until next time.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

Yesterday Sharon and I went out for the first time in 4 months. The Chinook Arch District of the Masons had their 1st annual Valentines Dinner. It was held in Claresholm, about 45 minutes from Lethbridge. The meal consisted of slow smoked prime rib, baby potatoes, a spring vegetable medley, cole slaw, a spring garden salad, Yorkshire pudding, auju, and strawberry short cake for desert. Y-U-M-M-I-E. We sat with some old (in more ways that one) friends from Stavely and in conversation found they knew Great Grandma Simmons' family. The entertainment was great. A young fellow from Vulcan sang. We were told he auditioned for and sang briefly with the Vienna Boy's Choir. He is now going to Mount Royal College in their voice and fine arts program. He is just 13. The group from Vulcan then put on a skit called "Are You Smarted Than A Farmer?" It was hilarious. As one of the contestants called from the audience put it "The only thing these 3 farmers can raise is some pretty bad corn." The three farmers were Merv - a retired teacher that bought a small farm when he retired "because I thought that any one could farm.", Zeke - a rather radical hold over from the United Farmers Union (an old defunct political party here in Alberta) and Jake - he is the almost cattle boss at The Best Colony. Its named that because "it is the best dang Colony in Alberta." Their answers were hilarious and corny. All in all it was the best evening we have had out in long, long time.

Good Food. Good Friends. Good Conversation. Good Times. What more could you ask for a Valentine's date.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hi Ho Hi Ho its off to a new job site I go.

Today we had a staff meeting with the Lethbridge office manager. Our contract with the Lethbridge Centre Mall was not renewed. I have known for about 3 weeks now but couldn't say anything. It wasn't that the mall management wasn't unhappy with the Corps. In fact they were extremely pleased. The new owners found economically expedient to change. They are associated with the other 2 malls in town and one of the major hotels. These 3 use another security company and they feel it is easier to write one check than 2. I hope it works for them.

My 2 staff were a little concerned until they were told that they already had new job sites and that they were going to be making at least $1.70 an hour more and that they were going to be starting before they left the mall. When they were told this and where they were going, OT lights were flashing in their eyes. They weren't told where I was going but I was told last week that I would be going back to the Airport and on my days off from there I would be working parking detail down town. Hey any time someone wants to pay me $12.00 an hour to walk in the fresh air and sunshine I'll take it. (okay its -5C right now and it snowed today but hey this is Lethbridge. Tomorrow its supposed to be +5 and sunny) The pay is pretty much what I am getting now but there are a few more hours without working to many, if any, more days. It just means that I will be working the occasional Sunday.

Had my second appointment with the Blood Pressure lady today and another round of blood test. Should just go to the blood clinic and get them to draw a pint and give it to the lab and tell them to use it if they need more. She was happy with the way things seem to be going. A little confused because again my BP at the start of the appointment was different than at the start. This time it was the reverse with it being lower at the start and higher at the finish. Oh well, we will eventually get things straightened out. Still looking forward to my first appointment with the endocrinologist in March. Hopefully he has some insight as to what is wrong.

Nothing political to report this time. Maybe next time. Just to keep you in suspense.

Monday, February 11, 2008

May you live in interesting times...

This has been an interesting year so far. My grandchildren were tested for every thing from leukemia to to lactose intolerance. Tank goodness all their tests were negative.

Now its my turn. I went into see my doctor about a follow up to a training injury. I tore the tendon that is attached to the last section of my ring finger. I was complaining about no energy. He said that it was time I had a complete physical so he ordered some blood tests. Two days later I got a call from his nurse says that I now had another appointment and not to miss it. I have a liver that is producing things it shouldn't and not producing things it should. The same goes for the pituitary gland. The blood tests also show almost no testosterone in the system either. My blood pressure is all over the place and my heart can't decide if it is going to beat at its normal 60 beats per minute or 150 beats. This poses a problem. My doctor doesn't want me to do any strenuous exercise. The 10 to 15,000 paces I walk at work are fine as is no more than 10 minutes on an elliptical machine and not at a high aerobic rate. This meant that a dream that I have had had to be put on hold. I had to close the Dojo at the end of January.

I have had more blood taken from me than being the main course at a vampires convention. The good thing is I started the first round of appointment with the specialist last week. It was the blood pressure expert at the clinic. This is the first of about a half dozen visits with her. After about an hour interview she came to the same conclusion that my kids did. This isn't much that I can change in my life style. She gave me some guidelines to fine tune my diet and that is about all. When I started the appointment my BP was 141 over 97. When I left it was 132 over 81. The first was high the second was just above normal for someone my age. The weight and waste size she said that I should be at according to the charts are the same as I was when I was 18 and in school. Both of us don't think that is going to happen. I told her that I had lost about 10 pounds over the last couple of months. She said that was the right direction and to keep at it. Thus the fine tuning in diet.

The next round of appointments is with the endocrinologist on the 6th of March. When I am through with him I am probably off to the internist to check the liver etc out. I am not worried yet as my doctor didn't seem to be overly concerned... yet. As Pres Hinckley often said "Don't worry. It will work out."

Until next time. Maybe a little about my political views then. We are in the middle of a provincial election here. And then again maybe not.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Starting a Learning Process

Today I finally decided I would start a blog. It will be learning process as this is the first attempt at internet publishing I have tried. Bear with me as I go. I hope to leave my thought and happening for those who read it so that they may better understand me and my life. Hope you enjoy it and get something from it.