Sunday, July 16, 2023

To Be Frustrated

I could have chosen a different headline like  "When things go sideways" or "Better luck next time", but somehow it is my overall frustration which dominates these days.

Now, I hope you are curious enough to read on.

It all started with us having the worst summer in more than a decade. I really can't put it any other way. Every morning I have problems seeing the house of my neighbour - due to the thickest most dense fog I have ever seen. And when i let Dixie out, I recoil from millions of tiny water droplets hitting me in the face. The fog is so dense that it can't even hold all the water. Or, alternatively, we are having a real solid rain, letting our garden rain barrels run over in no time. And this has been going on through the entire month of June and there is no end in sight this month either. 

As a result of this, our tour business is suffering from a slow exitus. We are down to a fraction of what it was back in 2019. To make matters worse, the media has been falling over themselves with headlines about "Canada Burns" and the "Smoke from the Canadian Fires make people suffer". That may be as it is, but we haven't had any smoke problems here and the grey air out there is not smoke but FOG!

But of course our grass (we hesitate to call it lawn) is growing like a jungle, and just about as quick. So when I was riding our mower, a pebble flew out from underneath hitting a tinted side window  of our van shattering it into 2 million pieces. The effort of getting a new glass turned out to be a nightmarish odyssey. An auto glass firm managed to order a too small window but noticed it first after I had driven 80 miles to town and spent an hour waiting in their shop. 

They needed 2 more weeks to get another (aftermarket) window which has the wrong curvature and looks terrible, besides of that it is not water tight. Their excuses could fill a book! And it is still not fixed 6 weeks after that stone broke the window.

Next on the agenda of my frustration was my 2month old phone, a motorola G play. From one second to the next my data connection went haywire. A little funny star was winking at me from the top signaling the problem. Again I had to do the 80mile run along the border to see the office of US-Cellular. This time I denied them to replace the phone with the same model as we actually had done that just 2 months earlier. No Sireee, this time I wanted an upgrade to a different model. $100 later I had a new phone. And at this time, I seriously speculate whether old cell phones have any collectors value. I have a sizable (and growing) collection of them and maybe I should sell them in an antique market to the highest bidder. Just saying!

But we are not done yet. The other day I backed my 32 year old Mercedes out of the garage when I discovered that passenger side front tire was looking like a pancake under pressure. What in the......???

After checking the cause of the problem, my local mechanic called to inform me that the tire was sick with dry-rot, and that I better check the other three. 

Well, folks, 4 new tires have now been ordered. ($$$$)

Seriously, can somebody please get me some good news?

I have to go to the beach....

Sunday, July 2, 2023


Yes, it's been a long time since my last posting, call it writer's block or what ever you want.

Anyhow, we just celebrated CANADA DAY, and after devouring "The Cake", helped by a bunch of neighbours, I was strolling along a foggy beach, Dixie right in front of me.

CANADA DAY! Every Canadian knows what it stands for: FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY are the key values. And in many countries they are contested values. 

If we, as "the people" want to keep our freedom and democracy in our country, we must "stand on guard for thee", as the lyrics of "O Canada" state so nicely. We must watch out for those powers which could threaten our freedom and our democracy, and we must be prepared to  take a fight for it.

When I was very young I was a pacifist. I could not understand why a country has to spend billions on defense, especially when there were so many shortcomings to solve other, seemingly more serious problems.

My date of birth is only 7 years after the end of WWII, and with that in mind, I should have known better, but I think it was the knowledge that my father had been a WWII soldier in the SS, which made me a pacifist. Grandpa had been in the trenches of Flanders and the horror of his stories scared the 17-yr. old boy I was.

Today, more than 50 years later, I know that the world has to be prepared to act against evil imperialistic dictators, like Putin. As a country of the west we simply cannot allow that a peace-loving nation like Ukraine be overrun by Russian hordes. We are living on the same globe and if we want to preserve and expand freedom and democracy we have to pay the price. That goes for our neighbours as well. Since WWII we have enjoyed a relative peaceful time of almost 80 years. But if the Allied wouldn't have stopped the Nazis....where would we be today?

Of course, threats are not only coming from the outside. There is plenty of evidence that our way of life can disappear quickly, by electing the wrong people to lead our government and to serve and protect the population. Every day we can read about people who try to erode our values of equality and democracy. Here in Canada, we might not see these threats so much, as we have mostly control over them. But by looking across the border to the U.S., we realize the situation is quite different there. And maybe Germany itself is the best example, as they once allowed a dictator to rise from within.

When I think of Canada I think of a free country. And freedom can only exist if every citizen also carries his/her share of responsibility. 

When it is time for an election we don't stay home, but we give our vote to a person we trust. Through the people we choose to represent us, we make sure that our politics are not governed by "Big Money" but by people whose mission it is to make life better for those who are in need of it.  We reject demagogue rhetoric, we don't fall for cheap talking points, designed to rein in votes for would-be dictators and power-hungry individuals.

Naturally, the world will never be perfect, but at least we can and should do our very best.