Saturday, February 17

News Update

Another week has passed and we have completed our transit to the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. The weather has been variable this week with one cold day, and one day above zero with rain—wild times we live in! We enjoyed our weekend in Dauphin and then drove over here on Monday. Wendy had a doctor's appointment referral on Tuesday and that seems productive. She has been booked for another finger-unfreezing, and also referred to another specialist who will consider replacing the fused joint on her index finger with a hinge. We'll watch that development with interest. We have settled in with Dad, and developed a good working program. Wendy has been working with Dad in the shop, and progress is being made there as well. I replaced the ballast in the troublesome fluorescent in the shop, so that's working again. Then, it turned out, the garage door opener had failed just before we arrived—timely, I know! I spent some effort trying to repair it, but failed. As I like to brag, "If I can't fix it, it's not broken, it's ruined!" Not true, but in this case, we declared the opener ruined and were glad to find that Lowes had a sale on. I installed the new one; it works pretty well, but the installation was not problem-free, and is also not completed! It turns out the new electronic opener is not compatible with the old sensors, so I shall have to replace the sensors as well. Fortunately, sensors were supplied, so it's just a matter of removing the old ones and wiring in the new ones! The markets reversed themselves several times this week, but at least US markets made some gains which helped a lot; I had a good month this week! My sports calendar is full with Olympics, NHL and NCAA! I've mainly been following the curling at the Olympics. Koe is doing well and currently in a playoff position, although he dropped an entertaining game to Edin (Sweden) last night, and another to the Swiss tonight. Homan is not doing well, but she finally won last night over the USA. She probably needs to win the rest to make the playoffs, but she is certainly capable of doing so. Olympic Hockey doesn't raise much interest since the best players are not there. This evening I got to enjoy the Pens win over the Leafs, and the Jayhawks comeback win over West Virginia. 

'Hey, it's good to be back home again!" Eric and Erica celebrated Valentines Day with a cooking date. They purchased a spiralizer and made spiral veggies with steak! Erica added a cream sauce. This weekend Erica is at a Ladies Retreat in Moose Jaw with a group of ladies from PA; Wendy is there, also. It promises to be a good weekend. Liam is preparing for Youth Quake. He plans to come home on Sunday to catch up on sleep for a week. Haaken enjoyed this past week off, but he decided to stay in Victoria. He must like it out there! Eric was on the radio on Valentine's Day with a special on relationships. 

We've caught up with Erin and Kristian here in Regina. Kristian had Friday off school, and he spent it with us. Then, we all enjoyed his bowling league this morning. He continues to raise his average, and is the best bowler on his team. Erin had more car problems this week. The interlock solenoid on her steering column decided not to recognize her key! The replacement was over $1000, but then it was discovered that this was a recall item by Nissan, so the part could be purchased for less than $100. Finally, Nissan allowed as how they should be replacing the part gratis! So, it ended well. 

Travis, Joanna and crew are taking care of things back in TBay. Joanna returned from Toronto, and jumped right back into the swing of things at work, and in the business. We are certainly grateful to have them there taking care of the house while we're away. 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, February 10

News Update

Another week has passed, the weather has improved, and we have moved! On Thursday, we drove up to Winnipeg, where we enjoyed the hospitality of Mike and Peggy. Today, we drove out to Dauphin where we're enjoying time with a longtime friend, Marilyn, and looking forward to catching up with our other friends in the area. We plan to complete the transit to Regina on Monday. It has been a busy week as we completed what we could of the home projects, and prepared to be away for the next while. I had an MRI on my prostate on Thursday—I hope I'll get feedback on that by the end of next week. It was certainly preferable to the biopsy! The only disagreeable part was all the noisy claxons placed by my ears! The drive west is going well! The markets were terrible this week; Trump has expanded the deficit by 84% in just one year, and investors are concerned. US indices are down 7-8% this month, and are now in the red for the year to date. I have suffered along with them, but was blessed with a good day on Friday to recover a bit. The Olympics have begun, and I've mostly been focusing on Mixed Doubles Curling. I haven't been able to follow my sports as much this weekend as we've been travelling. Our team has advanced to the playoffs in Mixed Doubles, and our snowboarders are picking up some medals. The Maple Leafs continue to do well. Pens are also doing okay; at least they're in a playoff position. The Oilers are struggling, and I don't see a way for them to make it to the playoffs. KU was dropped to #10, and after this week's action will probably drop further. They won their home game, but lost today at Baylor, so it hasn't been a good week for them. Rock Chalk Jayhawks! 

The Baileys are doing fine in PA. We expect to see them, and even visit them in PA, during our sojourn in Saskatchewan. Erica spent this week a little east of Edmonton for work—helping out on a few files. It was long days, so she logged a lot of hours. But it was also fun to meet some of her colleagues from Alberta. She even waved at Dolly while I was there—virtually, over the company network. Eric spent the week at home enjoying a rental car—a Toyota Corolla. It's not his dream car, the Tercel, but they don't make those anymore. Liam had a few doctor appointments on Monday with the family doctor and the specialist. They were encouraged to see that he has gained some weight and his iron is up a bit. He still needs to improve it further, but he is definitely doing better. Liam had his 18th on Sunday and Haaken had his 21st on Wednesday. It looks like Haaken had a good birthday with a trip to Mr. Mikes with the Baileys in Victoria, and a Simpsons birthday cake. We were going to call him, but he told us he would prefer that, for his birthday, we do not call him... so we didn't. We will probably give him a call this weekend.

Kristian has been collaborating with us as he works on projects for school. It's pretty amazing to watch him work in Regina while we're in Thunder Bay. He had a school ski trip yesterday, his first try at skiing. He took a lesson, and seemed to do all right, but feels a bit nervous about it. He also tried snowboarding, but didn't enjoy that. Today, in bowling, he scored 137, 137, 135—amazing consistency! 

Travis and Joanna remain busy. Joanna was away in Toronto most of the week visiting her dad. It was bittersweet, and there are family meetings to discuss options for his ongoing care. Trav took care of things at home and over here in the office. We are glad to have them around to take care of the house while we travel. 

And that's about enough for this week. 

Saturday, February 3

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The temperatures took a brief break mid-week, but it's been a week of bluster, blizzard and cold, and whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not, we're expecting many more weeks of winter. It has not been a good week in several ways. I initiated the week with a lovely feast of chocolate ice cream on Sunday evening, and by Monday, my gout was in full flare! Even after beginning a course of Colchicine, it took several days to break the pain in my right foot. Now, I'm recovered, and with a new respect for the necessary discipline of avoiding high fructose corn syrup! The disabling issues of gout also forced me to forego my curling activity this week—so, I had to satisfy myself with much curling on TV. It is the week of the Scotties. Four teams have survived the round robin action and enter the playoffs. I was cheering for Northern Ontario representative, Fleury, but she lost out this afternoon. Now, I'll be cheering for Einarson to complete her run, however, she'll have to beat NS (Arsenault) in the semi, and MB (Jones) is already waiting in the final. The markets put on a terrible, no good, very bad week, dropping several percentage points in the turmoil of Trump's America. I completed January successfully, making quota even though the TSX was down 1.6%. February has begun with red ink. Wendy has persisted in another puzzle, and wrapped it up tonight, even though she was convinced there were pieces missing! She has also taken over driveway clearing duties while I've cheered from the sideline with gout. She spent some time on preparations for our sojourn on the prairies; we intend to leave by the end of next week. Hockey has resumed after the all-star break. The Leafs and Pens are holding down playoff spots, but my Oilers are continuing to flail helplessly. In college basketball, the Jayhawks were dropped a couple of spots to #7. This week they played one good game, but couldn't shoot this afternoon, losing a home game to Oklahoma State. They will be dropped further!

Eric and Erica are progressing through their first winter in the new/old house in PA. They enjoyed being back together this week. It's getting into busy season so there has been a lot of work going on, not much of it on the house. They did have some new friends over for dinner and as luck would have it, the guy does house Renos. So they did a tour and talked ideas. Liam is home this weekend for his birthday and for two doctors' appointments on Monday. He brought a friend home with him. They all went to Saskatoon and watched a movie to celebrate his birthday. Haaken is doing his classes. He is also doing some tracking on why he hasn’t got his student loan money. Haaken is also considering a weekend class on making a movie.

Kristian and Erin had a remarkable week. It started with Kristian falling ill and missing school on Tuesday. He recovered, and on his return to school found he had been awarded Safety Patroller of the month for January—good job, Kristian! Today he had league bowling and put up a combined average over 140 once again. 
Congratulations Kristian!

Travis and Joanna remain busy—always a good thing when you're in business! Gemma and Andrew are heading into the second semester work in school. Gemma is graduating, so is also busy with plans and preparation for university. Joanna is off to Toronto tomorrow to spend some time with her dad. 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, January 27

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has been very mild, with some days above zero, and we've enjoyed getting out for walks on the slushy streets. We expect the weather to turn colder in the next week, after all, there remains another month or more of winter yet to come. I have completed my intended electrical work in the garage, although Wendy is calling for some new electrical fixtures out there yet! Wendy has cleared the kitchenette floor down to the cement in readiness for tile, however, I think she is planning to hold off on further development down there until we get back from the Prairies in April. She completed the 1000-piece jigsaw of Ottawa, and has moved on to another puzzle. She also has completed a set of reindeer ornaments that she began way back in YK days! The markets have been roiled by the Trump administration who announced four differing stories on their dollar policy in the matter of three days! Finally, on Friday, investors determined it was all nonsense, so the US dollar resumed its decline, while the US markets surged. The TSX has not kept them company, and has barely struggled into the green for the month. I did not make quota this week, but I remain on quota for the month. The Canadian Open ended on Sunday with Switzerland's deCruz winning the men's title, and Chelsey Carey winning the women's title. In junior curling, New Brunswick won the women's title, while BC won the men's side. This weekend, the Scotties has begun; I shall be well engaged in that for the next week! Hockey is in a brief hiatus for the all-star break, and all teams are assessing their situations, and deciding whether they should be stocking up, or selling off! My Jayhawks lost in Norman OK this week, but returned home to win today over Texas A&M. They were raised to #5 in the rankings, but it is questionable whether they will be able to keep it after this week's mixed results.
JigSaw #3
Who said I would never get done?!
Erica spent the week busily engaged with driving and work on the road between PA, Regina and Saskatoon. She was hoping to get some some visits in with family. Unfortunately, the time not spent driving was working or sleeping. It was a busy week. She did get one evening in with Liam, which was nice. Eric had a busy week at home fending for himself and he even made some progress on the living room. It looks much more spacious with the boxes and building supplies out of the way. Haaken and Liam continue with school. Haaken is following up on his student loans. He has been approved and submitted his banking information, but payment has not yet arrived. Eric has been selected for a radio assignment on Valentine's Day where he'll be discussing relationships.

Kristian put up two excellent sets of bowling this week. He first caught up for his missed games last Saturday, and then bowled consistently good games in league action this morning. He averaged over 135 in the first set, and then pushed it to 142 this morning! He's doubled his average since last year at this time. He got his hearing aides repaired this week, so he had to spend some time without them, and other time with less adequate loaners, but he's back to hearing (and listening) once again!

Travis and Joanna continue with a lot of work at their various assignments. We're glad to see them around the office here most days. Trav has also been experimenting with some of our keto recipes, and really enjoys the pizza dough. The rest of the crew gave it an approval as well.

And that's about enough for this week. 

Saturday, January 20

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has been mild with some night time temperatures even remaining above zero. Along with these systems, we've had some fresh snow and also some rain! At Wendy's insistence, we've taken time to clean the driveway down to the pavement. I've also taken the opportunity to work outside, doing some electrical upgrades in the garage. The garage is my next area of focus as the main house project remaining is the kitchen, and that's just more money than we can manage right now. Wendy is removing a piece of carpet in the kitchenette in preparation for tile in that part of the room. We have purchased 1/2" tiles for a thermal-break from the cement floor, so that's about ready to go once the painting is completed. Wendy has also put many hours into a 1000-piece puzzle; there are still a few hundred pieces left to go. The markets have continued their volatile ways, made more-so with the political chaos across the line. If it weren't such a concern, it would be amusing to see how a party in control of the legislative branches and the executive can't get legislation passed! The TSX is not moving up much (less than 1%), while the US indices are up over 5% this month. The main index down there was up 24% in Trump's first year—bigly! However, it falls far short of Obama's first year (35%). The main concerns for the US is that job gains have fallen to the lowest level in six years, and they're putting all their eggs in the trickle-down basket, so their dollar has fallen 10% in the last year. At any rate, I had another good week; so far, so good! The Continental Cup came to an exciting conclusion on Sunday with the North American team eking out the narrowest of victories over the World team. It was also a wonderful display of sportsmanship as the players seemed to realize that it's just a game and no one's national pride was devastated by the result. This week the curling feature is the Canadian Open. My guy, Kevin Koe, made the playoffs, but he lost the semi-final to Edin in an extra end. It will be Sweden vs Switzerland in the final tomorrow. On the women's side, it's Englot vs Carey. It is also the week of national junior championships in curling for both men and women. Good thing I have a PVR! KU moved up in the rankings to #10. They managed a big road win this week, and then returned home for this evening's win over Baylor—far closer than it should have been! In the NHL, Pens and Leafs are sitting in playoff spots, but the Oilers remain a long way out. C'mon Oil! 

The Baileys are enjoying their new/old house through their first winter. We look forward to getting updated on that project when we're out that way in the next month or so. Otherwise they continued with organizing and moving into their master bedroom. They sorted through clothes and have a big pile going to Value Village! Liam had a ski trip to Fernie. No news from him, except that he made it back. It must have been a fun time! Haaken continues with school.

Kristian was not feeling well this morning, so he missed his league bowling again. In his make up games earlier in the week, he put up some nice numbers with an average of 125. He'll have to make up today's play as well. Erin has decided it was time, so, she took down the Christmas tree today! 

Trav and Joanna returned from Punta Cana on Sunday night, and have got back into the swing of work and home. Trav is taking an adult hockey skills clinic, and finds it quite a bit of work. 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, January 13

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has been crazy, with above zero temperatures and rain early in the week, turning to a deep-freeze and fresh snow later to create quite a mess on our front steps and our vehicles. We've managed to get that mostly cleared away, but they're threatening milder weather and more snow tomorrow. We've made some progress on the projects downstairs. With Trav & Joanna away, I've taken advantage to do some work in their office area. I built a small cupboard to cover over the water metre and the plumbing connections for the new kitchenette. There's still the painting to do, but my part is done! The TSX is struggling here while the sinking US dollar and corporate tax drives the US indices forward. At least Oil has recovered value as a result, and that helps a large industrial sector here. At least, I'm managing to make quota this far into this new year. The big sports attraction this week was the Continental Cup. Kevin Koe is one of the teams representing North America; I've enjoyed watching these games. North America holds a 1 point lead over the World team heading into the final day. In basketball KU is ranked #12; they managed two wins this week, although not impressively! Oilers continue their mediocre season in hockey—I was expecting so much more after their playoff run last year. Pens are doing a bit better at least, and, along with the Leafs, are sitting in a playoff position. 
Plumbing Cupboard
The Baileys are enjoying being home after their travels over the holidays. One special activity during the break was attending the wedding of their friend Tamara where Erica was part of the entertainment. They have also completed the master bedroom, and have now moved in there. It looks good. Plans are coming together for Liam's grad. Hard to believe how the years have flown by. 
At Tamara's wedding

Looking like home!
Erin and Kristian are hunkered down against the cold in Regina. In the cold this morning, Erin was hoping the car wouldn't start so they wouldn't have to go to bowling! But it did, and they did. However, the bowling did not happen as the computerized scoring malfunctioned and, apparently, these kids can't figure out how to do manual scoring! So Kristian will have to make up those games on Monday evening. 

Trav & Joanna have been enjoying their time in Punta Cana. Wendy has been occupied with caring for their animals, and supervising the children. They sometimes come by to eat, but truthfully, Gemma and Andrew have been doing a great job of taking care of things at home. We expect Trav & Joanna to get back tomorrow evening. 

And that's about it for this week!

Saturday, January 6

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. We've had a cold introduction to the new year as we've seen the temperature drop to near -30, but they're telling us that it's over for now, and we're looking toward single digits again. We've stayed near the house most days, and have enjoyed a quiet week. I had an appointment with my oncologist and he's agreed to go with an MRI instead of another prostate biopsy—colour me: relieved! Wendy keeps plugging away on the puzzle, and I throw in a piece once in a while. She has also taken down Christmas decorations, so our rooms have returned to near normal. I've begun planning improvements to the workshop in the garage. We're nearing the time when we will get the last of our appliances out of there, so I'd like to rearrange the saws and workbench so we can get the Santa Fe inside. My hope is to have plans ready for work come spring. In the meantime, I need to complete the kitchenette, so I've also turned some attention there. The markets have opened to the green these first three trading days. On Friday, we got impressive jobs numbers as our unemployment rate dropped to the lowest since 1976. US had their poorest year of job growth in the last six years, so that's a concern as the US dollar weakens, and our exporters face the headwind. There are further concerns that the Bank of Canada will raise the prime rate, while the US Federal Reserve, suffering poorer performance, may not. So, I'm playing things cautiously. Trav & Joanna left for a week in Punta Cana, so we have Minnie living with us, and we're supervising over at their house as well. The sports calendar continues to be busy. I've started my month of league curling—fun so far! The Junior Hockey World Championships concluded this week with our boys bringing home the gold! Olympic Trials for Mixed Doubles curling have been running all week, and I've been following that. We're into the playoffs now, and my favourites, Gushue/Sweeting, have advanced to the final game against Morris/Lawes. The Oilers and Pens continue to have inconsistent performance in the NHL. C'mon man! The Jayhawks lost a home conference game while putting up a poor performance. Rock Chalk boys! That is unacceptable. They had recovered to #10 ranking, but may drift quite a distance after that effort! They played much better tonight for a road win.

The Baileys found a break in the weather to make the return trip to PA. The roads were good and they enjoyed the good hospitality of Uncle John (thank you) on New Year's Eve, and found a great hotel deal in Banff. It’s funny how a trip that they used to make in a day now takes three! They’ve mostly relaxed this week as they all came down with colds along the way. But they also made some headway on the house, finishing the floor in the master bedroom and purchasing a new mattress for Liam. They filled out the week with efforts to make gluten-free cookies for Liam. Haaken heard this week that he has been approved for a small student loan as well as a grant given in recognition of his autism; that will help with his schooling.
Master Bedroom Floor

Erin and Kristian are back to work and school. Kristian had his regular league bowling today, and rolled all three games over 100. His average has been bumped to about 110! Good job! He is backlogged on Lego projects as he got too many for Christmas! Just kidding—according to Kristian, one cannot have too much Lego!

Travis and Joanna cleaned up as many orders and work as they could; then, they left on Thursday for a week at Punta Cana. We've assumed care of the children and animals—Wendy has done most of that! She spends each night at their house, while Minnie stays here with me. Gemma takes care of driving Andrew and herself to school and other engagements, so that's very handy. The vehicles are running fine now that they have new batteries. 

And that's about it for this week.