Tuesday, December 11, 2018

His Song Has Ended But the Melody Lingers

On November 28, 2018 my world imploded.

My husband was my everything, but he also had a profound impact on everyone else in his life. And on December 8th we celebrated that impact.

I am so very grateful for the generosity of so many who helped to make Albert's celebration of life an incredible day. There were nearly 500 people there to share in the tears, love and laughter but many more were unable to be present so here is a glimpse into life of Albert for you.

Excerpt from Memorial Card at the service:

Albert graced the earth with his presence in Port Alberni on October 25, 1960. The fact that his mother weighed the same the day before he was born as she did before she got pregnant is symbolic of Albert’s nature – he was never a weight or a burden on anyone.
   As a child he was extremely shy, and as a teen he was a bit of a prankster and had the ability to gross you out like none other. 
  Throughout his life he had a quick wit and an even quicker tongue that often dripped with sarcasm. You didn’t have to know him long to realize you could not outwit, out-insult or outsmart him and it was to your favour to concede early. 
   Even in Albert’s rebellious days he had a heart of love at his core, and the gift of service to others has always be evident in his life.
  In January 1982 he and Liana were married at the ages of 21 and 17. While not exactly recommended, they proved that love and commitment are attainable at any age. 
   Albert’s proudest achievements were his children: Brandi who together with her husband Kore , gave him his “Nolly girl” and “Schmoey girl” – Beatrice and Daphne. His eldest son, Ken, and wife Jade, made him “Papa” in 2009 with the birth of his only grandson, Xander, his “Little Buddy.” They followed up with his little “Boopsie Boo” three years later with the birth of Maeve. 
   Albert & Liana’s son Jed was a gift from God who completed their family a year after their baby Ben went to heaven at the age of 5 months.
   Albert’s talents were many, and his heart was giving, and as such he blessed everyone he met in one way or another. Whether he did a job for you using one of his many physical skills, led you in worship or entertained you with his music talents, or simply offered you encouraging words with his wisdom and realness, he did it all with a side of sarcasm and humour. 
  On November 28, 2018 when a short battle with cancer hastened his journey to heaven, a large hole was left in the lives of all that he touched. 
   He was fond of saying, “Love ya deep.” And he truly did. He would be honoured if you took that love he shared with you and passed it on in intentional ways with those around you. 
  Singing was Albert’s favourite thing and we cannot even begin to imagine his current joy, as he is harmonizing with the saints and angels around the throne of God forevermore. 

Display in the foyer was an incredible reproduction of our sanctuary at the lake. 

"This do in remembrance of me" 

Great job Lucy & crew for making a mish-mash of weird items into a cohesive display

The Christmas decorations already at the church worked well 

Click Here to watch slideshow (6.5 min)

Click Here to Watch Service (1.5 hrs)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Today's unexpected blessing

Today’s unexpected blessing is brought to me by Best Buy. 

I was waiting for a prescription to be filled at Costco today and rather than just driving the 2 blocks home to wait the 45 minutes for it, I decided to walk across the parking lot to Best Buy to see what they had to offer in the way of Wacom Tablets. 

Of course, I totally already knew what they had because I’ve been googling and researching for 2 months. But let’s back up the bus a bit here….

Three and half years ago I won a $500 Wacom Intuos Pro tablet in a contest from Dave Cross at the Creative Live website. 

I’ve used a tablet rather than a mouse for many years but, prior to this, it had always been the basic hundred dollar versions. 

Now, without incriminating any of my grandchildren, a couple of months ago the pen for my tablet went missing for a few days before it was found in the grass in the backyard. And one disadvantage to the very advantageous option of having automatic sprinklers in your lawn is that when one’s Wacom pen is in the grass for 4 days it gets ‘watered’ a couple of times. 
As a result, I have been relearning to use a mouse. 

And woe is me, I’ve limped along, mouse in hand, and managed to advance multiple levels of Candy Crush and whoop some Scrabble butt over the weeks. Then a couple of weeks ago I had some graphics designing to do. That, in a typical “first world problems” way, sent me on a product investigation in a I-cannot-afford-this-but-am-not-accustomed-to-not-getting-what-I-want sort of way.

Five hundred bucks for a new one. Yikes.

For about $130 I could get a more basic version. While not exactly what I am accustomed to, I had to be honest and admit that it would probably be suffice, given that graphic design is no longer a huge part of my life. 

Fast forward to today…

I wandered over to Best Buy with about $150 cash in my pocket to “look at what they had.” Knowing full well that I would be carrying home the hundred and thirty dollar “Bamboo” version of a Wacom tablet. 

The friendly sales rep showed me the aisle where the Bamboos were after I told him I was looking to replace my Intuos tablet but wasn’t really in a position to get another “pro” version. 

They keep the Intuos Pro tablets in the next aisle over. He led me there despite me feigned resistance to affording more at this point in time.  
And here he pointed out an “Open Box” specimen of the 2018 version of the $500 tablet I was looking to replace. 

“We do have an open box version of the pro on the shelf. Someone bought it and decided it just wasn’t gonna work for them. Nothing’s wrong with it except the box has been opened and they probably installed it and used it for a week before deciding it wasn’t for them. It’s two hundred and fifty bucks.”

And instantly my brain goes into overdrive. I only have a hundred and fifty bucks cash. MasterCard has almost limitless buying power. The prescription I am waiting for is going to be completely covered by Pharmacare. I deserve this right now. I haven’t bought new shoes since, since, since … shit I don’t even remember when I last bought new shoes. My monthly wine budget has dived from … well… lots. To practically non-existent this past couple of months…

“I’ll take that lovely little puppy!” I say to the nice young boy who eagerly led me to the check-out while I whipped out my Mastercard. And turns out it rang in at $220. Practically free. 

Facebook scrabble anyone? Me and my new pen will kick your butt, or happily concede, while we bask in the clearance-clearance afterglow of an unexpected blessing. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years.

It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. Then you want to wear it forever. Cancer Survivor.

My breast cancer was discovered by my first-ever mammogram at the age of 43. I can confidently say that I would not have scheduled my first mammogram for at least another seven to ten years on my own initiative.

However, my family doctor who normally took a fairly natural approach to treating things, and often prescribed, "Leave it alone, it'll probably go away on it's own," far more often than he handed out prescriptions, insisted that I get the "full once-over" before he would put me on high blood pressure pills.

Although I can be a bit opinionated and somewhat harsh in my expression of such opinions, I try not to get too soap-boxy about the whole mammogram issue.

Oh, I realize it is radiation exposure and there are risks involved with that. But it was a risk I was willing to take. And quite frankly am rather glad I did. One can freak themselves right out by imagining scenarios of "What if" and "If only."

I respect that some women will weigh the pros and cons of mammography and choose not to have one done. But I also know that some women will make this choice without really weighing the options because choosing not to have a mammogram allows you to get out of subjecting the sisters the proverbial booby torture chamber. Which, I will admit, due to the jokes and comments surrounding mammography, I was terrified of before I went the first time.

However when it came right down to it, I was almost disappointed at the lack of pain and drama involved.  Yeah, you gotta flop the girls onto a cold glass table and there's a bit of pressure, but I've had more pain from an ill-fitting bra.

So while I try not get soap-boxy, I do feel it my reasonable responsibility to tell my story and encourage women to make the appointment and risk the radiation for the possible chance of early detection, and thus earlier treatment, which is generally less invasive and more successful than treating cancers that are further along.

I believe that it's a yearly radiation risk with more value than some of the other things we willingly expose ourselves to on a daily basis: cellphones, microwave ovens, smart meters - all sources of radiation that we are willing to take the risk daily for for the conveniences they provide.   And we all dance with glee at the chance to walk through a radiation chamber at the airport so we can go on a vacation.

If you choose to avoid a mammogram because you don't like the risk, then by all means don't have a mammogram. But if you, like many, don't get regular mammograms simply because you forget to book it, consider yourself reminded.

Happy October! Which is breast cancer awareness month - the month, 10 years ago, that I became more aware than I would like to be.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Maeverson Park

Why am I posting? It probably just comes down to the fact that I just feel like ranting about something.  I'm blaming it on being smoked in with all the neighbouring forest fires. Our city looks apocalyptic.

We live across the street from a city park. As kids become more and more plugged into electronics and involved in organized sports and scheduled into 'play dates', community parks are being utilized less and less.

Last year our city announced that many of the seldom used parks would have their equipment removed and they'd become empty lots. Most of the parks that were still viable would have their equipment replaced.  Ours was included in the "viable" group.  I'm sure this was due in part to the heavy use it got from the successful Daycare/Preschool that was in a house next door. The daycare has since sold the house and taken over the entire Child Development Centre.

Demolition of the park started a few weeks ago and my 9 and 6 year old grandkidlets and I were quite excited about what the "New Park" would look like.

For all of Maeve's six years she has referred to "Sanderson Park" as "Xanderson Park" because with a brother named Xander, that was only natural sounding to her wee ears and vocal ability.

When demolition began she demonstrated her unique little sense of humour and wit and said to me, "Granny, I hope when they redo the park they name it "Maeverson Park'." I'm a bit biased, but she is a witty little girl. And the park will forevermore be known as Maeverson Park around here.

Well, today around noon in a cloud of heavy smoke from all the neighbouring forest fires, Maeverson Park opened its gates to the public.  While Xander and Maeve weren't here at the time, we happen to have Beatrice and Daphne, ages 4 and 14 months, here for the week.

Off to the park we toddled.  And toddled is the right word to use here.

I've never actually heard the term "Toddler Park' before. But apparently it's a thing.

Begin rant...

What in the actual funk??!!?

Who the heck makes decisions like this? Let's rip out this lovely well used park that has a swinging bridge made of tires, a zip line, swings, twirly tunnel slide and other fun and entertaining items and replace them with a toddler park. A TODDLER PARK??/!!! WTF! Why?

I feel conflicted about bitching here, because I'm truly grateful that the city is investing money in upgrading its parks, but...

I'm trying not to entertain the idea that the decision was based on the fact that there was a daycare next door because, well, it was a private daycare and if the city created a tax-funded park for a private daycare.. well... don't get me started...

Now, on a positive note, it's cute little get-up and it is lime green and bright blue which nicely matches my newly renovated kitchen/living space colour scheme.


The park itself is a good size. The equipment is wee. It would look great in someone's backyard or even a large rec room. But for a city park it qualifies as ridiculous.

It even posted a sign saying it was intended for 2 to 5 year-olds. But a lot of the stuff was too small for our 4-year-old. She looked ridiculous on the tube slide where her head was poking out the top and her feet could be seen at the bottom of the slide. Seriously. The slide is no more than 24 inches long. It's cute. But it's ridiculous.

Even the swings hang on an 8-foot frame. There's one baby swing seat and one regular swing. The regular swing is really high off the ground. This makes it convenient for a parent to push a wee one they've lifted onto the swing, but impossible for a child to get themselves onto without adult assistance. And with the short height of the swing frame and the high height of the swing seat, it makes for a very short chain and thus a less-than-exciting ride for anyone over the age of 5. Understandable, I guess, for a "toddler park." But sorely disappointing for the hundreds of kids over the age of 5 who used to frequent this park, for which the swing is THE ONLY piece of equipment they actually physically fit on in this 'new park'.

The park is certainly big enough that some sort apparatus could have been added so that all children could be included, and the park might become a destination for families with kids of all ages. But as it is, it's a lovely space for the very young, but even our 4-year-old was too large for most of the equipment.

Overall, a big 2-thumbs-down from this Granny to the city of Prince George for the super cute but super useless new park.

***End Rant***

They are pretty straight up honest about who the park is intended for. I just wish they had posted these intentions 2 years ago so the users of the park actually had some input into the production. 
Super cute little 14-month-old enjoys the equipment that her 4-year-old sister is too big for. 

It's a great funky little bench for parents... IF parents of the children of appropriate size were actually able to sit on a bench while their wee ones played on the equipment

It is bloody cute and stylish, even if useless, to most families who used to frequent the park. 

Fabulous for the 14-month old
The 4-year-old had to tuck herself to go down the 24-inch slide.  

I didn't get a great photo of the 4-year-old with her head poking out the top of the slide and her feet hanging out the  bottom. If it wasn't so sad it would be comical. 
Once again, it was lovely for the baby. 

Not so lovely for the 4-year-old. I can't imagine the disappointment my 9 and 6-year-olds will experience when they get to realize their excitement for the "New and Improved" Maeverson Park.  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Woman's Perspective

Keefers 1974.  

I have to say I just loved the history session on Saturday evening at the Keefers 50 Year Reunion. It was great to get the different perspectives. However, I heard a bit of murmuring that there should have been a woman’s point of view.  

Had I known beforehand that Uncle Red was going to drag me up to the mic to talk about collecting photos, I may just have squeezed in a small speech on behalf of women. But speaking off-the-cuff with no preparation just ain’t in my wheelhouse. (Frankly, I don’t even know what a wheelhouse is, but speaking isn’t in mine) 

Writing, on the other hand, is something I do. And here’s what I would have written that evening, had I taken the time:

My name is Liana and I am the eldest daughter of Ed (you may have known him as Ted) & Jean deBalinhard. I don’t really qualify for giving a “woman’s perspective” of Keefers, since I was only 3 years old when our family arrived in that first group coming from Barkley Valley in 1968. Yeah, yeah, I’ll do the math for you – I’m 53 today :) 

We actually lived in Keefers at three different times and in 6 different houses which included: the Front of the Trading Post, Ed’s Cabin (I think this may be known as Harry Lafferty’s place) The cabin Davey, Chris Adams and my Dad built, which is in the yard where Ted and Elaine live, the main house of the Trading Post, a short time at “Lures” place down by the river, and finally in Brook’s House (aka the ‘red house’) We left for the final time in 1974. I was 9 years old. So I don’t really have a woman’s perspective.  
While many things have changed over the 50 years, enough remains the same that I am flooded with childhood memories anytime I visit. 

I really feel like I had a great childhood where every day was an adventure. 

I remember our first winter in Ed’s cabin, dad had made a sleigh from the hood of an old car and our pony would pull us down the trail along the flume whenever Mom and Dad decided to venture out with 4-snotty nosed toddlers. (Our youngest sister was yet to be born)

We loved playing in the old vehicles that were left parked wherever they had died in years previous to us arriving. The smell of rotten oil and old rubber to this day takes me back to Keefers in my mind.  

One day my brother Ted and I were playing with our pet chicken, Henny Penny, and pretending to give her a haircut with a large butcher knife. Cuz don’t all 4 and 5 year olds play with butcher knives?? Anyway, we literally scared the poor chicken to death. She had a heart attack right there in our hands. We ate her for dinner. 

When we were about 7 and 8, Ted and I were tasked with sending a batch of kittens off to kitty heaven by way of the Fraser River. “Be sure to tie the bag shut after adding a large rock,” we were instructed. And off we went to the river packing 3 kittens and a gunny sack. 

We somehow neglected to heed the “tie the bag shut” portion of the instructions. The burlap bag hit the water and the rock took it to the bottom of the river. The kitties floated to the top. I like to think they managed to make it to shore and some kind soul downstream gave them a good life. 

These things were all just a part of our lives. I honestly had no idea that the rest of the world didn’t live like this, without electricity, phones or running water. No idea that .22 rifles weren’t toys. No idea that most people got their chickens from a grocery store, they didn’t select one from the coop and chop its head off. No idea that other 6 year olds didn’t light the wood stove in the morning using kerosene as fire starter. 

Visiting Keefers fills my head with amazing childhood memories. But being there as an adult causes me to imagine the situation through a mama’s heart. And Oh.Em.Gee…

At first glance at our lifestyle one would think the women were meek, weak, submissive and even oppressed. And certainly religious legalism played into that, however, I have come to realize that my mother, and the other women, were anything but weak. 

I cannot even begin to imagine the hours of back breaking labour it took just to cook and clean for a large family using wood heat, even if it was 30 degrees. Hauling water. Pooping in outhouses that were NOTHING like Elaine’s. Cloth diapering babies. Canning everything because there was no refrigeration. That was after you planted, watered and weeded it for months. And all while trying to homeschool your large brood, hoping they’d turn out smart enough to forge out a better life for themselves. 

Yes, the women were anything but weak. 

I can totally envision myself in my mother’s position, handing the kids a .22 rifle and saying, “Here, go play in the Fraser River.” 

Sunday, July 1, 2018


If you've followed my sporadic 11-year blogging venture or friended me on Facebook, you probably know I hate politics. And as a general rule I refuse to participate in debates and mudslinging and even gentle banter in regards to such.

But sometimes political scenes arise and take over social media. Frequently I just have to shake my head.  Often I unfollow people but keep them as friends.  Occasionally I actually resort to un-friending people.

But I usually remain silent.

And then every once in a while I feel compelled to comment. But that comment becomes longer than a status update. And kind of morphs into a blog. A blog that resembles folklore, legend, a parable, fiction. Call it what you will...


There once was a big family who loved each other and lived peaceably amongst their neighbours.

One day they heard very loud barking coming from the yard of their neighbour across the back fence. The family began to dispute among themselves what ferocious breed of dog it sounded like.

They yelled, argued, fought and said hurtful things to each other (the very people they loved the most) while they tried to determine just how dangerous this dog was. They had violently differing opinions on whether they felt the neighbours were protecting, versus endangering, their own young children by owning such a ferocious sounding dog.

They spent many hours in their backyard that day damaging their own family relationships, while trying to peer through the neighbour's fence to determine the breed of dog and safety of the neighbour's children. And the sad truth was, the reality of neither factors would be changed at all, even if it were possible to beat each other into a consensus.

Later that day they went back inside their house to realize that while they had been so distracted by the rightness and wrongness of their neighbour's decisions to protect their own family, they had left their own front door open and someone came in and robbed them blind.


Don't be so distracted by things you have no control over, and zero influence on, that you ruin your own relationships with people you love, and turn a blind eye to what's happening to your own property. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Something's Not Right Here

Spoiler Alert: The temperature is in the 30's and I just spent the last two hours cleaning cat sh!t out of my sand box. I'm tired and grouchy.

I'm sure there are responsible cat owners everywhere. Even in my own neighbourhood. But not in my house.

We are not pet owners because we pre-know that we just aren't the responsible pet owner type. I don't like sh!t. Not the look, the smell, the feel of picking it up... nothing about it. But with pets comes sh!t.      

Don't get me wrong, I think cats are the cutest little shedding sh!tting fur balls ever.  All of my children live with cats; I see the joy they can bring.  And when we lived on acreage with mice, I also had a cat. A spayed one with an indoor litter box and vast acreage outdoors to sh!t in without filling the neighbour's flowerbeds and children's sandboxes.

I know it's only natural and I really don't have an answer for cat owners on how to keep your cat sh!t contained to your own yard. But surely if you are a city dweller your cat can be an indoor cat or you could make it some sort of outdoor enclosure if it really must bird watch and catch butterflies. Or keep it on a leash. At the very least, buy it it's own sandbox to be kept in your own backyard so the poor creature doesn't have to wander about weaving traffic looking for someone who does indeed have a sandbox. A sandbox intended for children to play in.

As I alluded to, I have just spent 2 hours, on the hottest day of the year, raking, re-raking, and then fine-tooth combing with my gloved hands, ridiculous amounts of cat sh!it out of my sandbox. I then liberally dusted the entire area with hot tub chlorine and proceeded to wash the sand. Yes, that's right. I washed dirt.

Oh, I partially blame myself. A couple of years ago I bought fresh sand for the 3' x 12' strip along the back of the house that sits under the cover of the fabulous roof my hubby built over our back deck.  Yes. I BOUGHT sand. Even though we live in a neighbourhood built on a sandhill. Well, it's more like an anthill, but it's comprised of sand.

The sandbox had been pooped in too many times so I replaced it with lovely grainy sand I purchased at Superstore on clearance-clearance at the end of the season.

For the first couple of winters I was faithful to cover it up with landscape fabric, knowing full-well that a sandbox with a roof over it will not get the protection of 3 feet of snow to save it from sh!tting cats. I think I was too focussed on going to Maui last October to remember to winterize the sand. Never again!

So while I am partly angry at myself, I can't help but take on a bit of victim mentality here. I am the victim here. It's my sand. In my own yard. I responsibly don't own pets because I know I'm not responsible.  Yet here I am having to clean sh!t and wash dirt in stifling heat while I try to think of creative ways to protect myself from future abuse.  Something's not right here.

His Song Has Ended But the Melody Lingers

On November 28, 2018 my world imploded. My husband was my everything, but he also had a profound impact on everyone else in his life. ...