Saturday, August 31, 2013


What a week! 

Although the first part of this blog is not something many folks would choose to write about, I am an advocate for defensive health practices. Although this could be viewed as kind of a crappy story, it is what it is!
On the medical side, part of our health maintenance plan is to meet with our physician, every year, for a regular check up.  Blood and other routine tests are done.  A few years back, our regular doctor sold her practice to a younger and very vibrant physician.  Our new Dr. Laura O. met with each patient and recorded a detailed family history.  Jeanette and I were thrilled with her interest, professionalism and advocacy.

In my case, Dr. Laura learned that my mother had had a bout of colon cancer, late in life.  Ah ha!  That triggered a quick response and she booked me in with a gastrointestinal specialist to undergo a colonoscopy to rule out any issues. Genetics had something to do with her call to action!  That was two years ago.  The first test was clear but the specialist wanted me to return for a follow up. That happened early this past week.

For those blog readers who have had this test, you know that the prep - 24 hours before the test - is more taxing than the test itself. However, it has to be done.  That is the crappy part I was referring to earlier.
The cleansing process began on Wednesday morning.  Twenty four hours later, Jeanette drove me to the Peace Arch Hospital, in White Rock, BC, for the procedure. 

By 8:15 am, I was fast asleep, the procedure happened and when I awoke, I was looking forward to a good cup of coffee....and something to eat!  A Tim Horton's coffee and a muffin were oh so good!

I'll have the results in a couple of weeks.

For the unconvinced, a colonoscopy is pain free and free of duress during or after the procedure.  Colon cancer - with regular screening - has a very, very high cure rate; well into the high 90 percentile!
A team of three delivered our new hot tub late on Thursday afternoon.
On to the medicinal side of this blog, our hot tub arrived. Hot, jetted water does have its medicinal benefits!

The team of three had little difficulty moving it from the transport vehicle on to a soft wheeled dolly and moving it into place in our back yard.  It fits in perfectly. Once the new deck is built, the hot-tub will be properly surrounded and will have a more finished look.
With the cover on....
a view from the pond....
We won't be able to use it till our electrician can hook it up to power.  We opted for a 220 volt / 40 amp hookup.  Once connected, we'll continue our landscaping re-works on our back yard master plan.  The balance of our work is more labour oriented....but the final results will be nice.  We look forward to using the hot tub and resuming the better than 16 years we enjoyed using the one we had installed at our previous home.

 Friday was the majestic  part of this week.  Our regular men's golf outing was happening and we opted to play the Peace Portal Golf Course located on the Canadian side of the USA/Canada border at Peace Arch - along the Pacific Ocean.   Gallery
And what a day that turned out to be.  I played one of my better rounds of the season.  The drives were awesome, the mid-irons equally good, the short irons were really good but the putting let me down somewhat.  Nonetheless, it was a fun round - as they always are - out on the links.  

Life is good.....!  Oh....and no more crappy stories! 

Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This 'n That...and Another Project

These past few days have included a mix of activities.  Some were easy and carefree and others were physical and taxing.....or, as some would say, back breaking!

Starting with the easy and carefree, we enjoyed meeting our good friends, Lorne and Mariette, at the Domaine de Charbeton Winery, in south Langley, for lunch and to celebrate Lornes' birthday.

Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery - Langley, Vancouver - Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada

Blow up of photo
The the vineyard.
Thursday - Mariette and Lorne....the birthday boy!
We sat outdoors and enjoyed a fine lunch while enjoying the vineyard view.  The lunch menu here is great. We enjoyed a fine couple of hours visiting, tasting some fine white wine and enjoying a superb meal.  Happy Birthday Lorne!

Friday - Parked on a dock along the Fraser River
We decided to take a ride while the weather was nice.  We heard that rain was in the forecast so with little else on our agenda, off we rode.  We didn't have a planned destination in mind.
A small Government of Canada dock.
A cedar shake and shingle mill on the north side of the Fraser River.
Several members of the Fraser Valley Antique Farm Machinery Association delivered some old equipment to one or our favourite farmer's market in Abbotsford.
From the river, Jeanette and I rode east through some nice countryside before arriving at Lepp's Market in Abbotsford.  Here for lunch, we also observed some fine old farming machinery being set up.  The threshing machine is fully functional and will be used for demonstrations to the visiting public.
Jeanette recalls her father owning and operating one of these when she was a young girl.  It brought back some fond memories.
An old - renewed  - hay and straw baler.
After leaving Lepp's Market, we rode further east through back roads into the eastern Fraser Valley.  Again, with no destination in mind, we simply meandered our way along some fine country roads.
Little to no traffic.

All of these plants and trees are slated for removal....
The process of doing that.....
In earnest - this past Saturday - Jeanette and I began the bull work of removing all the trees and plants - transplanting them into pots for future planting in the yard - somewhere else - and preparing the ground for our future hot-tub.

 Sunday was reserved for our weekly 'Open Mic' while enjoying coffee and listening to the banter from our regular attendees.  Once done with that, I headed back for home before driving to the local lumber yard to purchase some materials for another home improvement project we had to complete.

There is an empty lot near our home and the owner allowed me to dump some of our unwanted dirt in some of the uneven ground on his lot.  That was handy....but it was a good hike with numerous wheelbarrow loads I had to make.  My arms were searing by the end of the day.
With the Monday ground works somewhat level, we called it a day.  On Tuesday morning, my plan  was to cut, level and frame the pressure treated 6" X 6" footings to support the new hot-tub.  The weather forecast called for late afternoon I worked non-stop to get the job done.
Saturday evening....and all is ready for the framing work.
Although I knew better, I forgot to turn off the automatic sprinkler system and, overnight, it sprinkled and turned the hot-tub area into a shallow swimming mud hole.  Aaargh!  Silly me!  That was not such a big deal after all.   I brought out my pump system and within a few minutes, the water was pumped out and I could begin the footing build up as planned.
Should have shut down the sprinkler system......
The pressure treated 6" X 6" timbers were heavy to work with but I developed a good system to make my job easier.  Within a couple of hours, the pieces were cut, placed, leveled and, using some substantive hardware, all pieces were attached together. 
Bulky and heavy 6" X 6" pressure treated lumber.
Once satisfied that all was level and stable, I then proceeded to infill the area with crushed rock to a depth of 5" or so.
Project is completed and ready for the hot-tub. A bit more work is required on the landscaping and that will be completed once the tub is set in its rightful place.
Once finished, I showered before heading to Corix Water Systems, in Langley, to purchase two new replacement sprinkler heads to prevent watering the new hot tub once the irrigation system is turned on again. When I installed the garden shed, I meant to change out the sprinkler head near there too.

Two older sprinkler heads to be replaced.
Now was a good time to get that done.  The new sprinkler heads shoot water at 90 degrees; replacing the previous 180 degree heads.  No need to waste water shooting on the shed and the hot tub.  Each new sprinkler head cost $1.05....for a total of $2.10 (taxes included).  It cost me far more in fuel on the drive to pick these up.  I would not have guessed the really low price to replace the two 'Rain Bird' sprinkler heads.  Back home, the old heads were removed and replaced with the new ones in the space of five minutes.  Nothing to it!!!!
spa shot
Similar to our new tub...!  Interior colour of our tub is Silver Swirl (whiteish interior) and the skirting is a cherry coloured composite material.
The new hot-tub is to be delivered tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.  I called our electrician and he'll let us know when he can free the time to come over and wire it up.  Once the hot-tub is in place, a new composite material deck will be built over the concrete and level with our sun-room.....extending down to our newly re-worked and much improved pond.

We had a hot-tub at our previous home, for over 18 years.  Unlike many who purchase and install systems like this and who rarely use them, we used our tub a lot.  We made good use of it and it served us well.  We only had to have two service calls, for very minor fixes, during those 18 years.
Trevor and Ginette enjoying the hot-tub at our previous White Rock, BC home.
When we moved to our new home, we thought it best to wait a year  or two to see if we really missed having one.  Well you now know the answer.  We look forward to many years of hot-tubbing.  The new tub is smaller than the former seven person unit.  It is considered a three person tub with two loungers but it can seat four comfortably if necessary.

So....another of the long term, long planned changes in our current back yard nears completion.  There are more projects on the list and they will be accomplished at some point down the line.

Thanks for dropping by.

We'll post some photos once the new tub arrives.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back From The 2015 US Open Golf Course

Playing the US Open Golf Course (set for early August, 2015) before the PGA tour players do was quite the thrill.  And what a golf course!

Stunning Chambers Bay in the background
The golf course is called Chambers Bay.   Chambers Bay Golf Course |
We left very early last Tuesday morning, crossed into Washington State and headed south and west from Tacoma (off of I-5) to the coastal bay called - fittingly enough - Chambers Bay.  The golf course is built on the site of a former rock quarry.
This is one tough, tough golf course.  It will test anyone's golfing skills and physical stamina.
We arrived early enough to enjoy a hearty breakfast before our 11:57 am Tee off.
Our foursome:  L-R  Me, Rick, Fred and Denis
We have been golfing together for 25+ years.  This outing was planned well in advance and to actually play a PGA rated, US Open, championship course was the big draw.  Rick's diligent work to book the courses and accommodations worked out really well.  He managed to qualitfy us for a deep discount @ Chambers Bay.
Fred and I posing before our Tee shots to this ocean side Par 3.  It is completely surrounded by bunkers. Hit too long and you're swimming to find your golf ball!
The weather was great....the course was in great shape....the views were stunning....and the play was challenging.  But we soldiered on! 
Denis readies for his Tee shot.
This course is 'walking' only.  No powered golf carts (electric or gas) are allowed.  It is a really tough walk for players who are not conditioned to steep inclines and tough downhills.  One on course marshal stated that a few golfers had perished while playing the course since it officially opened in 2007.

The rough is nearly impossible to hit out of.  We were forewarned that trying to hit out of this rough would cost us some unwanted strokes.....and it does.
Check out the fairway bunkers.  They are always in play.  Good course management is critical.
Although it was a hot, hot day out there, the slight ocean breeze was welcomed.  Keeping ourselves well hydrated with water was important too.
Chipping up to the green...with the only tree seen on the course.
Rick on his downswing drive.
It took us the better part of 4.5 hours to complete the round.  That is typical of most rounds.  The on course marshals keep the pace of play up to standard.  We were never held up or made to wait long on any Tee box.  That is the mark of a well managed golf course.
Each golf hole is identified by crafty names. There is only one tree on the golf course......only one!  If one seeks shade, one needs to have an umbrella along.
Tulalip Casino, Marysville, WA.      Tulalip Resort Casino 
If any of you golf nuts out there in blog land wish to play a true PGA rated golf course, this one is for you.  I highly recommend it.

Our round over with, we drove away from the sea shore and back north, past Seattle, to our overnight destination in Marysville, WA.  We had dinner at a first rate seafood restaurant in the Tulalip Casino before calling it a day.  By 10:30 pm - and after a 19+ hour day - we were out for the night.
Kayak Point Golf equally tough walk with steep hills and valleys!
With time on our hands the next morning, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast and did a bit of local touring before heading for the golf course at Kayak Point. 
Plenty of trouble available on this course too!

After our second round of the trip, we made our way back north toward the Canadian border.  It was near dinner time when we opted to stop into one of the many Bob's Burger and Brew establishments for a well earned meal.

With our hunger tamed, we rolled back in to Canada by 9:30 pm. 

What a fun a fun golf trip. We feel we will have bragging rights when we watch the 2015 US Open on television and realize we may have birdied a hole that the pros could not do.  Imagine that!  ......In our our dreams.....!

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Seven Days of Stuff

Since our return home from Alberta - all of seven days back - our time has scooted by quickly.
Easton came over to help me remove the Harley from the enclosed travel trailer.
Easton and Ginette dropped by a few times during the week and knowing his like for anything with a motor, I waited for his first visit before removing the motorcycle from the trailer and into the garage.  He absolutely loved that.  
Lending his hand to remove the tie down strap.
Emulating the motorcycle sound is the cutest thing imaginable. Once the motorcycle was started though, those eyes of his exuded complete excitement.
He loves to sit on the bike....and we go through that routine every time he visits.  He takes me to garage and wants to sit on the ride.
With all of the work we did while at Jeanette's parents' farm and assisting our son, Deni, with some of his basement renovation,  I managed to avoid any injury.  However, while loading the truck for our return back for home, I pulled a muscle in my extreme lower right back.  Yikes!  That hurt!
Calling in the professional....
With no sign of pain relief, I called a Kinesiologist (daughter Ginette) for an emergency visit.  With a golf round this past Friday - and a foursome golf outing into Washington State this week - that troublesome back pain had to be eradicated. I could not swing a club without wincing in pain!  NOT GOOD!!!!
Ginette did a complete muscle, ligament and disc analysis and discovered the source of my pain.
It took little time before Ginette had found and identified the problem muscle.  She called it the 'Angry Muscle'.  In medical terms, this muscle is very painful when stretched out.  It requires some anti-inflammatory therapy and a weird sort of contorted exercise to mend.  I had suffered with back pain for a few days but following her directive, the pain was mostly gone within a couple of days and I was once again able to tie my shoes and swing a golf club.  Yeah to that!!!

I did play golf last Friday and was able to have a full swing. Although there is still a bit of dull pain, my mobility has returned to near 100%.  I continue to follow the exercise regime and I have to say that I am impressed with the quick result.  How nice to have a Kinesiologist in the family.
Easton discovered some popcorn - that was made by his great grandmother (Jeanette's mom)  - and he quite enjoyed eating some of it.
Ginette and Trevor bought a new (to them) sport utility vehicle to replace their second vehicle (a VW Jetta).  Ginette came over to our home to vacuum and detail the car to ready it for a private sale.  Coming to our place assured her the time to get the job done while we kept Easton busy.
He loves to drive.....!
All spruced up and shiny, Trevor will list the car in the local 'online' auto ad sites.
Easton was eager to help his Nana water some flowers....but.....he found it to be more fun to simply water the retaining wall blocks....!
Filling the watering can....
Wet blocks look nice.......
When Ginette and Trevor returned, mid-week, with their new sport utility vehicle, Easton had to give it his own personal test drive.
His little motor was going....."brrrm, brrrmmm, bbbrrrrmmmmm....."
Easton likes the new wheels....and Ginette certainly appreciates the extra room for baby stuff (stroller, necessary bags, etc.).
This Hundai Tucson is a nice find for the family. 
Easton is telling me a story.....and he's quite excited about it.  Fun little fella he is!
 While I was at golf, early Friday morning, Jeanette met Mariette for a hike in Fort Langley.  She captured a few photos along the way.
Along the Fraser River

They did manage to find a nice lunch place in the Fort.....and, after they said their good byes, Jeanette headed off to look after Easton while Trevor and Ginette headed off for a couple of hours on Friday evening.
By 1:30 Friday afternoon, our golf group attended the memorial for our good friend who passed away this past August 6th.  Don was a long time member of our SNAKES Golf Group these past 20+ years. 
Don with the coveted SNAKE GOLF Trophy he won- a few years back
The memorial was well attended with many former RCMP members (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), the RCMP Honour Guard, relatives and friends.  Cancer, sadly, took his life at the the young age of 65. 
The retractable roof at BC Place Stadium was open for the CFL (Canadian Football League) Saturday evening game.
My friend Rick offered up some tickets to attend the football game on Saturday evening.  Our BC Lions were meeting the Calgary Stampeders  football club in what was a nail biter win.  Our Lions were great at the start, and scored within the first two minutes, but they also nodded off a few times and put a win in jeopardy.
The Lions Cheerleaders......before the start of the game.
It was a beautiful night to attend the game.  The dominating Stampeders were tamed by our Lions and both teams now sit at 5 wins and 2 losses.  The final score was 26 for the Lions and 22 for the Stamps.
There was an active crowd of cheering fans.....
Today is a prep day.  Our foursome leave early tomorrow morning for a two day golf outing in northwestern Washington State.  We've been planning this little golf trip for a few weeks now and we're particularly thrilled to play the Chambers Bay Golf course - site of the future 2015 US Open - and Kayak Point, another course we want to challenge.

And that is how we spent the past seven days..........Hey....and I am more or less pain free now!!!!!

Thanks for dropping by.