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Have you noticed?

My wife and I watched early in the morning on the 11th a touching Remembrance Day ceremony televised from our country’s capital. As the cameras panned across the scene and the crowd I noticed two things that disturbed me.  Most obvious and standing in sharp contrast to what we saw at that kind of ceremony even just five years ago the number of heavily armed policemen and women shocked me.  It wasn’t the only thing that bothered me about what I noticed among that massive crowd on Parliament Hill.

Later, at eleven we watched a wonderful Remembrance Day ceremony in our town that was witnessed by many local citizen.  While less noticeable and less heavily armed the police presence making the rounds near the cenotaph stood out to me.  Have you noticed what changes have occurred in our great country in just a few years that even at Remembrance Day ceremonies where we honor those who had been willing to die for our freedom we may not be safe?  Are we taking notice and are we ready and willing to stand on guard?   Remembrance day poppy 2

One of the important tenets on which democracy is build is free and transparent elections.  A week from today the people of our area will vote for the civic candidates who will represent us for the next four year.

 

I am passionate about education, and I’m running for reelection to the Board of Education of our school district as trustee.

To help you make an informed choice please consider this additional, brief profile of my qualifications and beliefs.

me20

My qualifications:

  • I have lived in town for 34 years with my wife.  Our children also make their home now in this area.
  • Four of our grandchildren still attend schools in our community
  • I have always been passionate about  all students getting a first-class education.
  • Serving as teacher and principal of Sunset Elementary School for 20 years then as District Director of Instruction has given me a good understanding of what it takes to build good schools.
  • I have an Education degree from Simon Fraser University, and a Master of Education degree from the University of Victoria.
  • I have served as trustee for the last nine years.

Beliefs:

  • All students deserve access to a quality education and a safe, caring and challenging learning environment.
  • Trustees are the voice for parents, caregivers and students on the Board of Education and they must place their needs and wishes above their own aspirations.
  • Trustees also represent and work for their communities and the people who elected them, and they are accountable to them.
  • Teachers and school staffs make the most vital contribution to students’ education.  A Board of Education must provide the resources and the on-going professional development for them to do their jobs well.
  • The Board of Education must always select the best district and school leadership to guide the district.
  • Trustees must aim to keep class sizes low and must lobby vigorously to achieve reasonable class compositions.
  • Parents and community groups must have input into the educational goals the district sets.
  • Boards of education must lobby for reinstatement of programs cut in the past decade among them arts, trades and library programs.
  • Boards of Education must only close schools as a last resort and reopen them when possible.
  • Trustees must make sure the education budgets are spent responsibly.

Please feel free to call me or see me if you have questions my brief profile does not answer.

 

 

 

 

 

Please use your constitutional right and vote.

 

What are the brains at Microsoft thinking?  Since Windows XP what Microsoft has done best is make their programs less user-friendly and more frustrating for the majority of users.  Perhaps the super serious computer consumer who spends his life at the keyboard likes the frequent changes, the more difficult applications and the greater options that one can access for occasionally, marginal use.  The trouble is most of us are not super serious users.

What’s my beef specifically?  The latest computer I purchased came with Windows 8 preloaded.  It presented a fairly steep learning curve made a bit more difficult by the absence of instructions at the time.  But you live, learn and move on.  Soon after I began using it Microsoft encouraged downloading 8.1 with frequent reminder that I hadn’t done so yet.  Did I have a premonition that trouble would follow, if I succumbed to those reminders?  I ignored them for several months and went along happily with Windows 8 and what it offered.  Then came a day I’ll never forget.  To keep from seeing the 8.1 reminders again I said to myself, “Why not hit the download now button and get rid of all these irritating reminders?  How much different and troublesome can 8.1 be?”images (2)

Troublesome would have been a piece of cake compared to what I got.  The amount of time it took to download should have given me reason to worry.  Once the foul deed had been accomplished I found my monitor staring at me in bright ugly orange.  No big deal I thought.  I can fix it.

Little did I realize that trouble had come calling in a big way.  I turned on my laser printer to copy a document, but my computer informed me it could not find the printer; it didn’t exist.  I’ve added a printer or two in the past so I wasn’t worried yet, but I spent nearly an hour unsuccessfully to add that printer.  I didn’t panic because I had a wireless color printer too.  Guess what I discovered?  Yea, the computer had never heard of it.  Have you ever noticed that trouble comes in groups of three?  Still trying to get the printers working I found a message on my screen telling me my computer was at risk.  I had just renewed my security program for three more years. Ready to call Kaspersky to give them a piece of my mind I noticed the shortcut had disappeared from my computer screen.  Further investigation showed me I had no Kaspersky antivirus program or any other on my computer any longer.

images (3)To make a long story short I sat at my keyboard for five and a half hours while a Microsoft techie asked me the occasional question.  Otherwise I watched him try to get Windows 8.1 to accept my printers and get a handle on the Kaspersky problem

Do I think Windows 8.1 is wonderful?  Maybe I’m expecting too much, but I figure Microsoft should have at least warned me that by downloading 8.1 I would find a few surprises some of which would be very troublesome, and others I would  likely only discover with time.  I can’t wait to find them.

I’m in the process of formatting my novel, “Secrets of Hawking Manor” for publishing as an eBook and hope to have it on Kindle, Kobo, Sony and many other outlets for downloading.  Formatting it for an eBook is an interesting task.  I’m learning how to do this as I go, and I hope I’ll be able to do the other five novels faster.

For your enjoyment a scene from the novel

“We will settle the accounts right here and now!” Eugene screamed.  “You will feel my sword generously in your belly.  Draw, you upstart!”  Eugene drew his sword and more swiftly than anyone suspected, he was in front of Benjamin who deftly jumped aside drawing his own sword while backing away from the angry former Dragoon.  “I should have plunged a dagger into your heart the night I threw you on board that ship,” Eugene heckled.  He charged several times, but was rebuffed by Benjamin’s skilled counters.

Still hoping to settle the account with Eugene peaceably, Benjamin kept reminding the charging man that he could have a good deal of money and be on his way to Liverpool where he preferred to be.  But Eugene’s anger did not abate.

“What kept me from throwing you overboard the Fortune Four I cannot tell, but I will right my mistake presently.”  Eugene lunged at Benjamin again.

“You did me a great favor that night, Eugene.  I found great riches in the new world.  My fortunes improved still more when my path crossed Charles Chambers there, who installed you here as a manager, to the estate’s detriment I might add.  He sold his inheritance to me.”  Lay down your weapon, Eugene.  You shall leave here with a tidy sum.  I shall not make you this offer again.  You may soon be taken by the crown for killing Christopher, a good man and my friend.  You will need some wherewithal for your defense.”  Benjamin made a quick charge at the man before backing up again hoping to see signs that his foe’s fierce anger lessened in intensity.

“You’ll rue having laid eyes on me this day, you young pup!”  Eugene laughed a wicked laugh and made tricky maneuvers to try to overpower Benjamin.  For a man who had been injured with life threatening wounds inflicted by Christopher and Henry’s shots, Eugene attacked the younger man with surprising strength, speed and imagination.

But the younger man was naturally athletic, quick and skilled.  He expertly avoided all of Eugene’s charges while staying on the defensive most of the time attacking only now and then to try to contain his opponent.  In time Benjamin became convinced that the older man was not going to be satisfied until he had wounded him.  He suddenly thrust forward with a quick maneuver, stepped deftly to the side making Eugene miss him with his counter strike.  Benjamin saw sweat form on his opponent’s forehead.  He attacked again quickly, fell back and somersaulted over the railing to the terrace.

Smiling he took a position at the top of the stairway to the terrace waiting for Eugene who lumbered up to engage him again.  “You could have been on your way to Liverpool Eugene with a satchel full of money,” he scorned him.  For a few more minutes Benjamin was satisfied to defend against Eugene’s charges and tease him with short attacks.  Suddenly he began to press the former Dragoon with swift, crafty and powerful strikes.  He danced and jumped and turned with such speed that Eugene anxiously retreated again and again.  Several times Benjamin had him at his mercy only to back off and let the older man recoup.

Beats of sweat rolled from Fairham’s brow.  He cursed and swore at Benjamin. His breathing had become more labored.  A false reaction by him to Benjamin’s faked thrust provided a new momentary opening for the younger man.  This time Benjamin’s sword drew blood from the horseman’s limp arm.  Increasing the pace and charging with creative and swift maneuvers to which Eugene reacted slowly followed.  The former Dragoon grimaced with pain.  The point of Benjamin’s sword had slashed deep into his thigh and had followed it up with cutting his ear grievously.

With an effortless spring Benjamin jumped to the railing of the stairway and smiled down at his opponent.  “I have so far only tickled you gently, Eugene.  Lay down your weapon.  I will not ask you again,” he said.

Eugene cursed.  He came at Benjamin limping and bleeding but swinging wildly.  “You shall feel my steel in your belly,” he shouted.  But so quickly did Benjamin feign a sideways spring that the horseman’s turn caused him to slip with one knee to the ground while Benjamin somersaulted to the terrace’s floor again and springing forwards to stand before his opponent.  Eugene realized too late what Benjamin’s intent had been.  He could only watch the young man’s sword come to touch his throat, remaining there while hearing him call out, “Guarde!”

In a rage, but fearing to have his throat sliced, Eugene dropped his sword.  “Have it your way, Carstairs!” he hissed and pretended to give himself up.  “I shall take your offer after all and be gone, only put up your sword,” he cried.

Henry saw Benjamin and Eugene dueling as he approached the entrance to Willowdowne Park.  His heart beat faster.  His horse’s mouth frothed, but he pressed the animal on harder still.  He marveled at Benjamin’s skill with the sword and his agile maneuvers.  He saw how he danced around his foe and made him miss time after time.  Henry was within earshot when Eugene dropped to his knees.  Fear ripping through him, he shouted to his brother to beware of a pistol in Eugene’s boot, but Benjamin did not hear him calling out.  In horror Henry watched his brother put up his own sword and turn away from Eugene.

The sound of a shot that followed drove icy panic into Henry’s heart.  Like in a horrid nightmare he saw Benjamin slowly sink to the ground.  Henry cried out with a great shout of rage. Mercilessly he kicked the heels of his boots into the flank of his animal.  His eyes spewed fiery darts at his former comrade.

Awkwardly Eugene rose and scoffed at his fallen foe on whose coat a crimson spot began to grow larger.  With a hateful laugh Eugene walked slowly to the fallen Benjamin.  He raised his pistol, coldly aiming it at the fallen Benjamin’s head.  “I will have great pleasure at snuffing out the light of a Carstairs this day,” he laughed wickedly and cocked his pistol.

I have to share this poem that a brother-in-law sent to me. I can’t give credit to the author as no author was given. But the poem brought tears to me eyes, and I’d be selfish not to share it. Have a great day.

Susie Lee done fell in love.
She planned to marry Joe.
She was so happy ’bout it all
She told her Pappy so.

Pappy told her, “Susie gal,
You’ll have to find another.
I’d just as soon yo’ ma don’t know,
But Joe is your half brother.”

So Susie put aside her Joe
And planned to marry Will.
But after telling Pappy this,
He said,”There’s trouble still.”

You can’t marry Will, my gal,
And please don’t tell your mother,
But Will and Joe and several mo’
I know is yo’ half brother.

But Mama knew and said, “My child,
Just do what makes you happy.
Marry Will or marry Joe;
You ain’t no kin to Pappy.”

Escape

 

I’ve neglected to add posts regularly during the last month.  Proof reading and editing six full length novels that I’m getting ready to publish in eBook format demanded much of my time. I have only managed to read two or three books in that time at late hours when my tasks became overwhelming.

It’s the book I’m finishing to read now on my Kobo Arc I want to share.  Written by Susanne Clarke “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” is a story of a magician trying to restore the art of magic in England.  After reading the first four or five chapters I had it in my mind to quit.  I found the pages to that point boring.  But I decided to labor on for another chapter, and as if by magic the story began to catch my attention.  One curious element I notice now, whenever I boot the reader up and select the novel to continue to read it, makes me wonder if the author has added a diabolical twist to the book.  Can you believe it?  As the time I read the story increases so does the time remaining to read according to the tablet.  Obviously, I now must read to see if or how the story will end. magician 4

Not by Choice

There are times when circumstances prevent us following our routines.  Not by choice we must make changes.  Open heart surgery sidelined me.  So this blog remained dormant for a couple of months.  I thought what better way to get back on track than with an Easter poem I wrote on Easter Sunday eleven years ago.

The Third Day

And early in the morning

At dawn the third, sad day,

The women hurried to the tomb.

The stone was rolled away.        The stone is rolled away

They feared someone had taken

Their Lord, they knew not where.

And when they looked into the tomb,

They saw two angels there.

“Fear not for He is risen!”

The heaven’s pair did say,

“Go, tell His loved ones now;

You must no longer stay.

Tell Peter and the others,

They all will see Him soon.

He is alive! See where He lay!

You see the empty tomb.”

The women hurried homeward.

With joy their hearts did beat.

“We bring good news,” they shouted.

“The Lord has risen indeed.”           empty tomb

And Peter ran to see it,

With John, who raced ahead.

They saw the stone rolled away.

The tomb contained no dead.

That eve the Savior met them

At breaking of the bread.

“See here! My hands, my feet, my side,

Behold I live!” He said.

They worshiped and adored Him.

Their eyes were opened wide.               Jesus

They saw God’s plan of salvation.

They could no longer hide.

With thankful hearts and power

They told how they adore

A living Savior, risen Christ,

Alive! Forever more.

And throughout all the ages

We can be sure of this –

The lowly man of Galilee,

Our living Savior is.

(WHM Easter morning 2003)

I’ve heard it said that with today’s advances in knowledge and technology “the sky is the limit” and “anything is possible” for man to achieve.  At the same time we have seen unusual weather invade parts of the world against which we have no remedy.  It prompts me to ask, “Who can tame a storm and command rain or snow not to fall.  In our part  of the world it is the middle of winter.  We should see the evidence of it on the ground.  But it feels like spring.  My thermometer shows me + 10 degrees Celsius, when I should expect froDSCF0422st on the ground as is the reality in the picture above.  Instead what we see today is the picture below.June July 2013 047

First day of winter

Winter arrived today.  For me  all seasons are beautiful.   I was about to write, even winter, but it might be more accurate to say, especially winter.  Think of a new fallen blanket of snow.  It can convert even a grey, uninspiring countryside into a scenic marvel.  Have you ever noticed the intricate pictures frost can paint on a pane of glass or theFamily pictures 171 windshield of a car?  As a kid I loved watching through the window the first snow curling down, and I looked forward to the backyard covered deep enough for me to build a snowman or other figures.  What boy or girl from three to ninety can resist a snowball fight?  For me a cap of snow lends mountains even greater majesty.  Those who have never skated or played hockey on a frozen pond or lake have missed out on one of winter’s great delights.  The beauty of a clear winter night and Northern lights of winter, I think, belong to nature’s greatest master pieces.  Yes, I like winter.Mount Cain trip 018

I had intended to post another excerpt from my novel “Beyond the Law” , but it’s the Christmas season.  It’s a time of year that can inspired me to write a poem.  Over the years I have written a number of Christmas poems. Thinking about the Biblical account of that first Christmas, it has always amazed me to realize that a baby born in a smelly stall is still celebrated today, more than 2000 years later while Herod, the powerful ruler at that time, whose impressive palace stood not far from that stall is long forgotten. Herods palace No one celebrates his birth.  There are no poems and songs written about him.  His impact on history is long forgotten.  I hope you will enjoy the one I have chosen for your enjoyment today.

Bethlehem’s Child

What child is this?

Born of old,

His birth the prophets had foretold.

They called Him Mighty God and Prince of Peace

And looked to Him for sin’s release.

What child is this?

Born in a stall,                                                                                                             manger scene

His birth the angels proclaimed to all.

Shepherds in fields had seen the wondrous sight,

And looked for Him by heaven’s light.

What child is this?

He found no room in Israel’s inn,

Yet wise men came to worship Him.

They found Him still a little boy,

Their hearts He filled with untold joy.

What child is this?

God’s gift to us, He came to do His will,

And history His story tells us still.

A counselor, a guide, He came to be.

The promised Savior for you for me.

What child is this?

Born in a cradle by love divine,

He knew and loved us throughout all time.

Left His heavenly Father and His glory,

To bring us Christmas’ wondrous story.

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