Saturday, August 17

News Update

Another week has passed, and we are home on the shore of Lake Superior, in my hometown. We began the week in Gravelbourg where I enjoyed leading a musically themed worship program for the congregation. Then, on Monday, we waited, successfully for Kristian's passport to arrive. So, we headed east on Tuesday, driving to Winnipeg and renewing our acquaintance with Dean, Kelly and family. Of course, there was a lot of discussion about Mexico missions, and our recent work there. We completed the trip to TBay on Wednesday. It is good to be home. And Kristian is with us, so that's extra special. On Friday evening, he demonstrated his prowess at firing up the back yard fire pit, and we enjoyed S'mores. Today, we took in a special celebration at Fort William as they put on a dramatization of an American attack on the fort back in 1814.
Fighting at the Fort
Otherwise, we've begun cleaning up the yard and garden. Kristian helped me prune out the dead parts of the cedars.
Out with the old...
I got the lawns mowed, and Wendy pulled lots of weeds. I've seen the rhubarb, but have not managed to access them yet. We also got out for a ride in the old Cougar!
Cruising in Style!
The markets have been terrible with wild swings reflecting the chaotic activity of Trump. The DOW was down 800 points one day, sigh! I continue to play safely, but even that is subject to losses these days. I am also keeping most of my money out of the market until it becomes more predictable. The young Jays continue to inspire, especially with home run hitting, but they remain far behind their competitors with no particular chance of catching up. The Riders have this week off. The Bombers solidified their first place position with another easy win, and even more so as Calgary lost to Montreal tonight.

Eric and Erica are working on the plans for another surgery in Germany. It would be in mid-December. Wendy is considering going along on this trip. They were hosting Eric's mom and nephew Aiden. They drove up to visit Liam at camp, and also visited Waskesiu. On Sunday, they took Sheena and Aiden down to Davidson, and their next hosts. Erica is dreaming about what the kitchen/dining area will look like! 
Hey, if you're gonna dream!
Meanwhile, they turned their attention to their trip east. That required a dump run to empty the trailer for the bikes. Now, they're in Kenora. We look forward to their arrival here mid-week.

Erin is home alone in Regina. This at least allowed for a date-night with Shawn on Thursday as they went out in an early celebration for her birthday. Kristian sent flowers... good call! 
Happy Birthday, Mom!

We found Travis, Joanna and Andrew here in TBay. I couldn't even keep track of them last week! Gemma is in England for a family visit and vacation. They had some sad news with the passing of their cockatiel for reasons that are unclear. 

And that's about enough for this week. 

Saturday, August 10

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. The weather has moderated some, and we're enjoying the break from the heat. We began the week enjoying prolonged festivities of my birthday. Eric/A treated me to a round of golf; I enjoyed that with Eric, Erin and Kristian. In view of her upcoming birthday, we treated Erin to a power cart for the round, and Kristian really enjoyed that! I played quite a bit better, and surprised myself with a +7. Erin played her first full round of golf. Eric got in his first golf of the season as he's being bothered by a troublesome shoulder. We have continued installation of the lift with the addition of call buttons at top and bottom so the lift can be brought to the desired level. Then, we began drywall repairs in the living room and hallway. Cracks have appeared in both the walls and the ceiling, so we carved out the troublesome areas and applied acrylic spackle which, we hope, will withstand small movement pressures and give a nicely finished appearance. Our time here is near an end, so there may remain some sanding, priming and painting to be completed after we leave. I've been working on a musical presentation for Gravelbourg for tomorrow. The markets continue to suffer in Trump's trade wars. We hope he loses interest in that soon! At any rate, I had another red week, sigh! The Blue Jays continue to impress with their effort, and their home-run hitting. Some of these new kids certainly show potential. The Riders had an historical win in Montreal, as they won the only regular season game ever cancelled early due to weather. This afternoon, we enjoyed a visit with cousin Grace. It was nice to catch up with news from that side of the family. She has a nice place here in Regina, now.

It's been a quiet week for the Baileys. Liam is up at Quest Camp working as a cabin leader, and Haaken continues his job search. They got the back room and the middle room cleaned up and organized in time for a visit from Eric's mom, and his nephew, Aiden. So, they have three habitable bedrooms!

Kristian has been with us much of the week as Erin returned to work on Tuesday, but then, she fell ill, and had a day at home, albeit an uncomfortable day! She is still a bit under-the-weather this weekend. Kristian also got some playtime in with a classmate who has had a serious fall from a diving board, and is suffering the after-effects of a concussion. He's having to take it easy without screen-time—how can he exist?! Kristian got his cast off on Friday, so he begins the rehab and strengthening of his left arm. The doctor was satisfied with progress on his arm. Tonight we at least got out for a bit of golf practice.

Joanna has joined Gemma in southern Ontario. Travis and Andrew are batching it back in TBay.
Someone's cooking very well!
We look forward to getting back with them next week.

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, August 3

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. It has been very hot most of the week, but I was glad to get out in a relatively mild weather on Monday for another round of golf with Dale. I seem to be stuck on playing approximately bogie golf now. On Tuesday, we celebrated my official birthday by driving down to Shaunavon to check out a lift for dad here at 55 Laird. It passed muster, so we went to work to move it home. That did not go easily. We couldn't get the bolts undone from the concrete base. We eventually broke three of them, undid two others and used a side-grinder to cut the final one off! Then, we had to lift the whole contraption into the back of Bern's truck and haul it home. It was quite a day!
Lift in Place
On wheels
On crutches
It installed nicely, and works great to allow dad to get down to ground level and back up to the main level of the house. He confirmed the function (under supervision!) with both his wheel chair and on crutches. Bern & Alicia left on Thursday for their next camping trip. We expect them back next weekend. This weekend, we're enjoying having Eric/A and Liam down from PA to help celebrate my 69th birthday. I made up another ice cream cake for the occasion. We also bought a tenderloin and enjoyed filet d'mignon! High on the um, cow, wouldn't you say?! The markets suffered under their worst week of the year as Trump opened a new front on the trade war, sigh! I suffered losses as well, although I managed to have a good completion to the month of July. The Riders continued their winning ways taking down Hamilton on Thursday night—yay Riders. The Jays are playing better despite that they've sent away their best pitchers. It's pretty discouraging to see the management give up on winning, but encouraging to see the players still out there trying each day.

Eric reports, "We got a coat of primer on the back bedroom and moved boxes out of the middle room into the storage room in preparation for visitors this summer. Mom and Aiden are coming to visit as they Journey around Saskatchewan. Haaken continues to look for work, primarily in animation but also for employment in the meantime to establish himself in BC. He has given himself a deadline of the end of August to have work. Liam has been working at camp. Telling stories to the kids in his cabin to entertain and put them to sleep. He is joining Erica and me in travelling to Regina for the weekend."

Erin had a full week of work while Kristian was enjoying himself at Teen Camp at Kenosee. We took him down there on Sunday, and picked him up on Friday. We enjoyed a visit with Aunt Ruby on our way home Sunday. We stopped in for coffee with Ray & Ellen on the Friday trip.
The Camper!

We missed having Trav, Joanna and crew with us during the family celebration, so it was good of them to call via FaceTime and catch us up on the official date. They are all keeping busy, and now Gemma is off to southern Ontario. Joanna will be joining here there for family time.

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, July 27

News Update

Another week has passed and we remain on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. The weather has continued to be hot with thunder storms brewing nearly each day. I have managed to get out twice for golf, on Tuesday here in Regina and yesterday over in Moose Jaw. I kept my driver in play quite well despite it being very windy on Friday. I found a source for surplus pallets here, and picked up one with walnut boards to make a planter for Erin—nice to have a walnut planter!
Lookin' purdy!
I think this about completes the project for Erin's gardening, although there's room for at least one more planter on that dividing fence. Otherwise, I watched the market activity, and managed to have a good week despite the turmoil in the world. The US came out with weak economic numbers, so the pressure will be even higher on the FED to add some artificial sweetener in terms of a rate cut next week. Trump doesn't like the GDP dropping back to 2. He also keeps a watch on the markets and notes he's lagging far behind Obama's gains, so he'll be adding his own pressure on the FED. It makes it harder to know how to play the market, for sure. The Riders played their return engagement in BC tonight, so we got to watch them again. And, they won again! Yay Riders! The Bombers ended their winning streak with a loss in Hamilton. The Blue Jays seem to be spending most of their energy is trying to figure out how to trade away their best players—yikes! They did put up a big comeback win today.

Liam is visiting in PA this week before heading to camp. They enjoyed having him home. Eric completed and submitted his syllabus and is now working on course material for the class he will be teaching. Haaken has been working on more applications. He’s also completing paper work to formally move to BC now that he’s done school. Eric and Liam got some sanding done on the back room. They are hoping to get primer on this weekend.

Erin and Kristian enjoyed another week of summer heat. Kristian got his new glasses.
Lookin' good, Seein' good!
Erin managed to get the application completed for Kristian's passport, now we're waiting and hoping that it arrives in time for our trip back to Thunder Bay. Kristian was on hand for the unveiling of the new Toyota Supra, and enjoyed getting to try it on for size!
K-Car, perhaps?
Kristian and I got out for golf practice one day, and he felt good about how much he was able to do despite the cast. Today, they're taking in the wedding of Erin's half-brother here in Regina—dress-up occasion!
Astrid, Shawn, Liam
Erin, Kristian
Travis has made the decision to get back into coaching hockey, and he's moving up to AA. He's looking forward to coaching the Midget AA Westend Bruins this coming season. His BucketDecals sideline has become the largest part of his business with a world-wide collection of clientele. Joanna keeps busy during the summer with a restaurant job. Gemma is working over the summer while preparing for year 2 in Lakehead University. Andrew is also working and anticipating beginning aviation courses at Confederation College.

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, July 20

News Update

Another week has passed; it finds us on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. We started the week at North Bend where I was the featured guest speaker Sunday morning. On Monday, we drove over to the Okanagan and settled in with John for a couple of days—thanks brother! We managed to get an oil change on the vehicle and worked in a visit with Warren and Evelyn. On Wednesday, we continued eastward after a coffee with Janelle in Enderby. We got stuck just east of Revelstoke for 3.5 hours while a fatal accident was investigated and cleared. That got us behind schedule, and we settled into a hotel in Calgary in the late evening. On Thursday, we drove down to Medicine Hat for coffee and a visit with Don and Kathy—thanks folks! Then, we continued to Regina with a station stop in Swift Current for coffee, potty, and ice cream. I'd not had haskap berry ice cream, or anything, for that matter. It was delicious—a delicate flavour and not too sweet! We arrived into Regina in the dark, only to find the Lewvan lost in construction restrictions—yikes! We took it easy on Friday, just doing a bit of shopping for Dave's birthday celebrations (held this evening), and enjoying a bbq at Erin's. The markets have remained roiled between rate cut expectations and Middle Eastern unease. I managed only a small gain. The Blue Jays play good ball some days, like today; I'm still hoping they can avoid the 100-loss season! The Riders hosted BC tonight; it was good to be able to watch them on TV after being away for all the early season games. Nice win, Riders! Bombers continue their undefeated season. 

Eric & Erica flew out to Victoria on Thursday to celebrate Haaken’s completion of his degree in animation. The school held a showcase on Friday where each student’s demo reel was shown. Erica reports, "We might be biased, but we think Haaken’s was the best! He is still waiting to hear on a job so keep that in your prayers. While we are here we get to celebrate Aunt Aura’s birthday. Liam is single again and he has a week off from work so he’s coming up to PA for a visit next week. Eric got a call from Briercrest and he has been asked to teach a block class at the Masters level on Plans and Interventions in Counselling Therapy. He’s excited for the opportunity."

Erin had the week off, but it was so full with various appointments that she still felt quite busy. She and Kristian both were prescribed new glasses. Hers have arrived, but we're still waiting for Kristian's. He had an appointment with the audiologist who confirmed that he has lost some of his already meagre hearing in his right ear. That hearing aid has been reprogrammed, but it will take some time for this brain to adapt to the new signals to bring about better hearing. He also got his cast replaced, and is now sporting #3—he chose black this time! He tells me that he'll be able to practice golf again now with this cast, so we'll see how that goes—certainly won't have to worry about cupping his left wrist! 

Travis and Joanna continue to hold down the fort in TBay (I guess that must be West Fort!). Joanna reports that Wendy's plants may or may not be dead! They are beginning to get some sizeable Bucket Decals orders already. 

And that's about enough for this week! 

Saturday, July 13

News Update

Another week has passed, and we find ourselves on the shore of the Fraser River at the home of How and Lady Di—thank you! We began the week in Hemet with Uncle and Aunty. That was a great time of rest and recovery after our sojourn in Mexico.
Uncle, Aunty, Wendy in the wind!
First off, I got to lead the singing on Sunday morning, and we followed that up with a boisterous sing song on Sunday evening—great fun! On Monday, they took us on a tour of the wind farm near Palm Springs—over 2000 windmills producing electricity from the strong winds through the pass.
Over 2000!
It was quite a sight. They also drove us down to the oasis toward the eastern end of that desert; it was amazing to see how the water was seeping up courtesy of the San Andreas fault. We thought about the early travellers who came upon this, and wondered what possessed them to proceed further! On Tuesday, we continued our journey northward. We drove up to San Francisco, enjoying the sights along the way. On Wednesday, we got to drive the crazy approach to Lombard Street, and the even crazier descent down the switchbacks of this steep but beautiful one block of San Francisco.
Crazy Lombard Street!
But beautiful!
We drove across the Golden Gate, but didn't see all of it due to the fog which shrouded the towers.
Golden Gate
We drove up to the redwoods, and even got to drive through one of them.
Coming through!

After driving through it! 
We stopped for the night in southern Oregon. On Thursday, we completed the drive up the interstate to Canada. The traffic was bad, even on the interstate, so we did not make good time, but we cruised into our cousin's place in Chilliwack, ready for more rest and relaxation. Thanks Tony and Lisa! On Friday, cousins Craig and Vicki took us golfing, so that was fun as well. Then, today, we drove up to Yale for the community bbq and celebration featuring Uncle Bordie and cousin Brian and their group of guitar pickers! It's been a fun week! The markets have not been having fun, at least not for me. The FED spoke dovishly, but then more data came out showing US inflation heating up, so investors remain nervous despite expecting the FED to cut rates this month. Baseball had their all-star break, but are now returning to play. Blue Jays are staring at the prospect of 100 losses this season—let's go, Blue Jays, let's play ball! The Riders have this week off, I hope they're using the extra time wisely! I've been severely reprimanded over my comment last week about the "first place" Calgary Stampeders! I'm still dealing with all the Blue and Gold bruises inflicted by an irate Bomber fan! So, it is only due that I recognize the Bombers continue their undefeated season. I only hope it doesn't carry on through the Labour Day classic and the Banjo Bowl! Go Riders, Go! 

Erica writes: "Haaken finished up his animation class and now has just one class left, which will wrap up next week. We are travelling out to Victoria on Thursday to attend his culminating activity. The college doesn’t have a formal convocation ceremony. Rather they have a presentation of the students’ work on Friday evening. We are looking forward to that. He is waiting to hear on a job, so please pray for that. We are hopeful that God has a good place for him to use his gifts, and make a living. Things are winding up at my work so it’s been quieter and I was able to take Friday off. It was nice! I managed to do some more scraping on the front posts. We are pricing out the cost of replacing the handrail and spindles. The wood isn’t in bad shape, but there are some rough edges on the handrail. Eric got some sanding done on the back room upstairs. We are getting close to ready to apply another layer of mud. Eric’s mom is planning a visit in August and so we are hoping to get it painted—we shall see! Liam continues with the Tunnels of Moose Jaw."

Kristian spent the week at Kenosee for camp. He reports enjoying it immensely, and is looking forward to the next session of teenage camp. They've also been able to get him scheduled for an appointment with the hearing specialist next week, and he's also preparing for cast #3 on his broken arm. We hope all that goes well.

Joanna is currently down with family in southern Ontario. Otherwise, we've not heard much from Thunder Bay.

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, July 6

News Update

This week begins on the shore of the Pacific Ocean in Ensenada MX. The climate is mild here down by the ocean, but unfortunately, we're spending the week inland at Ojos Negros where the temperature soars in the upper 30's most days—we're not used to that, and we don't like it! The bigger crew from Canada is arriving, and we're meeting them down at the Ocean, and guiding them up through the amazing, rock-strewn hills into Wine & Cheese country, although truly we are surrounded by massive irrigated fields of peppers, chilis, jalapeƱos and the like.
Ojos Negros-Rocky Hills
They use drip irrigation on well-hilled rows of the plants that run on for miles. The workers, our clients, are out daily performing the manual tasks of weeding, staking and supporting the plants. Some mechanical support is used as tractors straddle the rows to improve the hilling. Our crew is assigned to the task of building a new classroom/office structure, refurbishing a two-classroom building we installed here some years ago, repairing a roof that had been installed, badly, by others, and generally sprucing things up.
New Classroom/Office for Ojos Negros
Wendy had begun the painting last week. She kept that process going with the new siding materials, while also repainting the older building, and keeping all the equipment cleaned and in good operating condition. This calls for long days in the direct sun with primer and paint setting up way too quickly in brushes and rollers.
Looking Good!
Wendy fell ill during the week and is currently receiving a regime of injections. Apparently, I get the joy of administering the final shot—bottoms up! I spend most of my time on a school system tour. I am assigned to analyze the situation here and make recommendations for improvements. I am finding some good establishments, and a lot of ramshackle situations. The dilapidation includes both the buildings and the systems being used. Nearly all locations suffer from the degradation of time and the depredations of vandalism and theft. Some locales depress us with their dysfunction, but most seem to be trying to make a positive difference in the lives and futures of their children. One is exemplary, but due to its site, on the side of a mountain, it's not even a place where we have the technology to build. We press the educational authorities to allocate them more, or better land to expand their school. As ever, I find that good principals assemble the resources to provide a good educational situation, while poor, vision-less leaders wallow in poor-old-me hopelessness. It's more than a little depressing. I also take some time to complete work on the construction of roof trusses at the beginning of the week, and struggle with drywall, taping and mudding toward the end. On Thursday, we celebrated our 49th Anniversary, and were feted with a cake!
49th Anniversary Cake
Friday evening we had a celebratory supper in Ojos Negros. On Saturday, we braved the US border: 4 hours, 45 minutes in line; 45 seconds to clear, sigh! That was complicated by an untimely visitation from Montezuma's Revenge! Finally, we got back to Hemet, and the comfort of Rob & Sharon's home—thanks! The holidays impacted the markets with lower than expected volumes, but the bigger story toward the end of the week was the strong jobs data out of the US. This puts the lie to the need for rate cuts. Investors who have been pining for the artificial sweetener of rate cuts fled the market on Friday. I have not been able to follow sports action much for my favourite teams, but I did take note of the Riders big win in their home-opener on Canada Day! They hosted  first place Calgary this evening as the underdogs at home. They put up a good fight for the first three quarters, but they were not up to the task—Go Riders, Go! 

Eric and Erica enjoyed the holiday Monday quietly in PA. Their small group got together for BBQ and a bit of rain! They missed some of the excitement—a tree across the way was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Wow! But still, they got tired and retired to bed before enjoying the fireworks. They must be getting old! Liam is back in Moose Jaw this week with work. Haaken continues applying for jobs. He had had some initial interest from a studio, but we don’t know much as he had to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. But he does have to do some testing so we will see. Please pray for his success. Eric/A are preparing for a trip to Victoria to take in Haaken's project presentation and his graduation. 

Kristian got his new fibreglass cast on Thursday.
Green, but not enough to help the Riders!
It still precludes pool/swimming activities and he's off to camp next week! More troubling is his hearing loss in his right ear. At this point, we don't know whether it relates to actual hearing loss due to his head injury, or whether it is some other factor. He reports his ear mould is not fitting properly subsequent to the accident. 

Trav, Joanna and crew are managing things in TBay. Travis reports harvesting the lawns, and getting a good yield! Gemma is working three jobs currently, and Andrew, after completing his graduation, is also working for the summer. 

And that's about enough for now.