Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Christmas is coming early at my house

My husband drove down to the village to pick up the mail this morning and brought it home, including the flyers. Normally the flyers get thrown out as soon as they are out of the mail box, as the Post Mistress has a big waste bin right by the boxes for that purpose, but today he brought them back with him.

One of the flyers was for satellite internet service offering $100 off the installation cost and $25 less a month than I had been told before. I called and it is available for my district so I am planning to drive to Smithers on Friday to complete the forms and get things rolling. I am really excited.

We are stretching ourselves a little financially for this, as I haven't actually got the money yet, but I can pay it off by Christmas, so we agreed that I should get it, and while we were at it we might as well pop into Canadian Tire and get the ramp he wanted to put his ATV in his truck, and, oh well, we would both enjoy a camera wouldn't we, and it is for sale after all.

Pop goes the bank account, but we have a little money coming available in December and that should cover it all. After all, the little bit we have put aside we had decided, when we retired, was for us to use as we are not leaving it for the kids, divided five ways it really won't go far, so we might as well get a few things we will enjoy now.

I remember my Grandmother would always put things away for what she called "for best" and when she passed away we found all these things in her home that she never used. So sad that she felt that she was not free to use her best things for her own pleasure.

One of my achievements of which I am proud

One of the achievements of which, I think, I am justifiably proud is home schooling my three sons. In the 1980's we moved quite a bit during their younger years, and I felt it would mean more continuity in their schooling if I home schooled. I am not a teacher by profession so this was quite a challenge. I often had to study up on a subject the night before.

We obtained a curriculum to follow and purchased a computer with the idea that we could get some online tutoring help if needed, but at that time there did not seem to be much available. There were many times when I felt I could have used some assistance, particularly with math and I was very nervous about starting algebra as it held mysteries for me, which I had never really mastered while in school. However we struggled on and eventually settled in a town on Vancouver Island where I was able to enroll the boys in school. The transition went comparatively smoothly. They were 12, 14 and 16 at the time and I was a bit concerned that there might be gaps in their education as I had not been able to find a tutor I could afford.

Nowadays, there are more options for parents to obtain tutoring for their children and quite inexpensively. After the boys started attending school, they were introduced to the concept of homework that was to be done after school hours. This was not met with delight, I can assure you, from any of us. They thought of it as doing home schooling as well as attending school. I would have welcomed some assistance with their homework as, by then, I was a single parent and working full time, mostly in the evenings and weekends, so I was not always available to help, and anyway they were starting to get into subjects that I had not covered in my years at school.

My eldest son and his wife are now considering home schooling for their boy, not yet in Kindergarten, and I am happy that there are more options for them to get help than I had.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Superstar Award

I received this award last week from A Nice Place in the Sun by
She has made a list of bloggers she refers to as Superstars! Thanks Ann for thinking of me as one of those bloggers.

I have included these folk plus a few of my own, and I will be popping by to visit these blogs to say Hi. Most of these blogs are completely new to me so it will be like going on vacation to check them all out. I just hope they don't take too long to load because I can get hung up and can't comment, but I'll try.
First Time Dad
Twisted Sister
SpeedcatHollydale
Eat Your Maths
NoDirectOn(Not: NoDirection)
dcrBlogs
Jay's World
BlogElf
Monday Morning Power
ComedyPlus
The Rising Blogger
Nonsense,Fun,Tears,Happiness,And Anger All Rolled Into One
BlueRibbonBloggers
Santa'sCommunityBlog
TotallyFabulous
Polliwog'sPond
Bobbarama.com
Revellian
WheeTheWholeWayHome
Kissing The Dogwood
Dutchcorner
Mary's Writing Nook
State of Confusion
Dottie's Place
Cariboo Ponderer


Down River Drivel today telling me I had some awards to pick up at her site. I am quoting Jeni in the following text.

"Much as I appreciate getting these awards given to me, I really have a lot of difficulty in trying to decide what bloggers are worthy then of being awarded these as well. Frankly, I tend to view everyone who is on my favorites list as being worthy -of putting out a great blog -and each one has their own twists and turns and topics so I'm going to take the easy road (for me) but it's also the only fair one as I see it, to hand out these awards to EVERYONE!

These awards all came to me by way of NOLADawn -that lovely school teacher down New Orleans way and if you check her site, she has an explanation about each award, where it originated, etc. Good way to learn about some more bloggers that way, don't 'cha know?"















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Monday, October 29, 2007

Heads or Tails #11 - Halloween

Skittles has started a new meme for every Tuesday called visit her blog for instructions. Basically she gives us a word and we can do whatever we like with it. This week appropriately enough it is Halloween.

Halloween was not a harmless holiday in times gone by. People in our modern era are mimicking the witches and Druids of old but Halloween's origins are in the Druidic cult. A cult so given over to human sacrifice that when the Romans conquered Britain, they wiped out every Druid they could find.

The Druids were called “men of the oaks” and were a strange clan of men who dressed in white robes. The Druids worshiped the “Horned Hunter of the Night.“ Halloween was sacred to the Druids because their sun-god receded to the underworld on October 31st, which is why darkness increased and light decreased according to their reckoning.

As darkness set in on October 31st, the clan of Druids would put on their white robes and hoods. They would carry sickles as they began a torchlight procession. At the beginning of the procession, a male slave was killed and dragged by a rope fastened to his left ankle. The Druids would walk until they came to a house or a village where they shouted the equivalent of “trick or treat.” The treat was a slave girl or any female to be given to the Druids. If the people refused to give a girl as a “treat”, blood was taken from the dead slave and used to draw a hexagram or six-pointed star on the door or wall of the village. Spirits of the “horned hunter of the night” were invoked by the Druids to kill someone in that house or village by fear that night.

If the house or village gave a girl as a “treat”, the Druids put a pumpkin with a face carved in it in front of the door or gate of that place. Inside the pumpkin was a candle made of human tallow to keep evil spirits away. Thus, the Jack-O-Lantern was a sign that you had cooperated with Satan.

The treats or female victims were taken to Stonehenge where they were raped and killed and then sacrificed on the sacred bone-fire until only glowing embers were left. The bone-fire is the origin of the modern day bonfire. As a matter of luck for winter survival, all villagers were expected to use the glowing embers of the bone fire to light their hearths.

So that is the history of Halloween.

View more participants in the "Heads or Tails" meme.

I have a goal

As you know I really enjoy blogging and have decided that I need to get faster internet access, as dial up is causing me to miss so much that others blogs have to offer. So I have decided to blog for money and whatever I earn will go towards the purchase of a satellite dish and monthly payments.

With this goal in mind I applied to Smorty and have been accepted. Smorty is an internet service that brings bloggers and advertisers together. There are so many people blogging today who would like to earn money from doing what they love, and Smorty makes it easy. This doesn’t just mean that I will be putting a lot of advertisements up on my blog, it means that I have to have interesting posts so that more people will come, read, and comment . Hopefully advertisers will see my post and want to use Smorty to advertise their product and more bloggers will get involved.

So why not take the leap like I did and join Smorty and earn some money. This is my first post for Smorty and I am looking forward to writing more.

Christmas is coming and there's nowhere to shop

Christmas is just around the corner and I have to get some gifts but I have nowhere to shop. There are only two places around here that are close enough to go shopping, and they take an hour to an hour and a half to get there by car. There are not many stores available for selection either. No big name stores and very few little stores either. I love to browse but there are no opportunities.

My middle son is very involved in marketing via the internet and he told me, some time ago, that this is on its way to being the major method of shopping for most folks in a few years. He told me that in Alberta many new high rises and apartment blocks are being built with this in mind, and have large receiving rooms to hold purchases for people until they are picked up.

I have only purchased a few things online so far, but enjoyed taking my shopping cart around the site and buying a couple of Christmas presents last year. It was so convenient. I think it is something I will start doing more, not only for convenience and gas savings but the selection. I wish more stores would get online so I could do my shopping this way.

It would be great if more stores would get ecommerce software which would make their store available to me. Basically in layman's terms that is shopping cart software. This would give me so much more selection and in winter I would not have to go out on the icy roads, but could shop from home, and as I get older that seems like a great idea.

If I lived in the US and had a small business I would look at Ashop to help me set up my business for ecommerce, as there are so many baby boomers like me, that would find the service really useful. It is really easy to get set up and they offer a 10 day free trial, plus they have full technical support. So get on it I am waiting to shop!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Camouflage is failing due to global warming

A common trait of many of the animals of the Arctic is the color white. Rabbits and baby seals are white so that predators cannot see them hiding in the snow. Polar bears and foxes are white so that the rabbits and baby seals can't see them coming toward them in the snow.

However according to a documentary I saw a couple of days ago, that is changing. The documentary specifically mentioned the Arctic Rabbit which scientists are discovering is still changing its color around the time it has always done, but the ground is not yet covered with snow. This is making them easy prey as they stand out clearly against the green and brown tundra.

The fact that the snow is not returning at the usual time is going to affect all the animals who live in the Arctic and other northern regions, whether predator or prey. Global warming is coming too fast for them to adapt.

A rare few may even leave the Arctic to search for prey elsewhere. A polar bear has been documented as leaving its home near the Arctic Sea and has been seen hiking south. I wonder if she could be called a Snow Bird, as many Canadians are labeled who go south for the winter. I can't say that blame her, can you?

Wandering Polar Bear heads south again

Saturday, October 27, 2007

They don't know what they are missing

I have been going through Sponsored Reviews opportunities and selected one about Computer Training. It was right up my alley, after all I have had my own computer classroom, I have trained quite a few people and even now get asked questions on my blog how to do this and that, and have bailed a few people out of computer messes here in the village.

I was rejected. I would have given them a good advertisement, but they did not take time to check. It was only $5 anyway but I thought it would be an easy one to start.

Anyway I will be generous and give them a plug. CBT

It proves doesn't it that we should take the time to read what people have to say on their blogs, because we might miss something that could benefit us.

There are several blogs I read that have observations worth pondering, and I love to check technical blogs, because I am always learning. I find Google Reader a good tool for this as I don't have to visit each and every blog to read their content. However I wish I could comment directly from the Reader, it would save so much time. I am sure I saw a script somewhere about doing just that, but I can't find it again, or it maybe right under my nose and I am missing it.

Google put up my Page Rank to 4 today, so that is good as far as the advertisers go. I wonder how effective it all is really. Alexa is another one that is meant to be so important, but they only really include those, in their totals, who find your blog via their tool bar, so how accurate can that be.

Anyway I have a favor to ask of you. If you like my blog and are a regular visitor and have not included it in your blog roll would you. I will do likewise with yours. I went through those who have visited me recently and put your link on mine, I hope I haven't forgotten anyone, let me know. This is a way to improve your ranking, getting links to your blog from another. I find in the social networks like MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog one gets bombarded by people wanting links who never visit your blog and have nothing in common with it.

Found Jiglu yesterday, it is a way to tag your blog, but I did not find it worthwhile, but it may work for you.

I have mentioned AirSet before but they have done some updating on their software so it might be worth a look, it is an online personal organizer.

BTW check out this post about my blog by Bong at Reap Money Online


That's all folks

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bomber returns to California

I remember seeing one of the Martin Mars Water Bombers years ago on Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island. It is a huge airplane, 120ft long, 48ft wide with wing span of 200 ft and can carry 6,000 gallons of water. It is able to cover 3-4 acres in a single drop from approximately 150 ft.

The Martin Mars originally belonging to the US Navy but were sold for scrap in 1956. A couple of enterprising Canadian businessmen recognized that the Mars could be used to fight forest fires, so they closed the deal quickly before anyone else could see their potential and by 1960 they were in operation.

The first big forest fire they were called on to put out was on a steep hillside. They dropped 42,000 gallons of water in seven trips putting the fire out in just a few hours. Another fire was in old growth cedar and it was put out by dropping 132,000 gallons of sea water on it.

We Canadians consider this plane a hero, if an inanimate object can be considered so. This plane has often been the major contributing factor in saving large areas of our Province and we proudly send her back to California to assist in the fire fighting going on there.

Unfortunately these wonderful planes were retired since this post.

Why am I not visiting you, well I am, sort of!

I am posting today to let my readers know that there are some blogs which I have tried to visit, especially those involved with , just so I could do my part in participating that have simply refused to load.

I am having a lot of trouble with comment boxes, blogs are taking forever to load and then finally when I think I can comment I can't get the comment box to open. I think it must be that dial up is getting overloaded, now we have so many widgets and other goodies on our blogs. Jeni at Down River Drivel e-mailed me this morning saying she had exactly the same problem.

So don't think we have stopped visiting, this is why we want to earn some money, so both of us can get faster service.

I read somewhere that it is a good idea to have an e-mail address on the front of your blog so people can e-mail you if they have trouble contacting you on your blog. Just an idea. I read your blogs on my Google Reader every day and sometimes I would like to comment but waiting 5 minutes for the site to load and then finding that I can't open the comment box is very frustrating.

Well that is my whine for the day. You can count it as Jeni's whine as well. I am off to town today in my little yellow car. Catch you later

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I am challenging myself to earn money for a satellite dish

As you all know I have given myself a challenge to earn enough to get a satellite dish, as that is my only option where I live. One of the first things I did was sign up today with Blogsvertise as it looked like something I could participate in, and make some money as well. I know I have friends out there who would like to make some more money and this looks like a good way to start. I thought this was an especially good idea for seniors, or stay- at- home moms to make some extra money right from home.

Blogsvertise does the hard work of finding advertisers who would like bloggers to post for them, because we are a creative group of people and our content can be original and meaningful, rather than just another advertisement pumped out by the media, and you can choose who or what you would like to write about, so I will only promote something which has meaning for me and what is suitable for my blog.
Blogvertise
Blogsvertise also has an an advertiser referral program which pays 20% to you if an advertiser is referred from you blog. So I am challenging myself to work to get that satellite dish so I can visit more of my friends online faster.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meteorologists, politicians and poverty

We were assured on the Monday evening weather report that we would have light rain overnight, with possibly some cloudy skies on Tuesday morning, clearing to sunshine. We had 23cm or about 9 inches of snow, solid gray skies all day and ice pellets last night for about an hour. Admittedly today it is gloriously sunny, but again this morning they said only the southern half of BC would see sunshine, we were destined for heavy cloud and possibly strong winds. I think weather reporting has to be a very inexact science. Last year almost to the day we were told we would have light rain overnight and we woke up to 92cm or 3ft of snow.

Meteorologist are like the politicians, who make sunny promises, fail to bring them to pass and then give themselves a raise as a reward. Can you believe our Premier in BC had the gall to propose giving himself a 54% raise when there are people living on streets, people earning as little as $8 an hour in our province. Although I must say this government has done some good things for this province, the inequity of it all astounds me.

As any business person knows, if they did not do the job as promised they wouldn't get paid. In good conscience I could not take such a lot of money and not consider my fellow man. As it is, I have trouble planning to spend money for a satellite dish, so I can play on the internet, when there are people who are going without the basics of life. I recently received the World Vision Gift Catalogue where one can purchase some chickens, goats or even a cow, seeds or the starts of a fish farm for families in needy countries. This gives them a start in a new venture, plus the training on how to go about it. All this, that for us in North America, is very little money to invest in people in impoverished countries. It makes such a difference to them and for many gives them a start in small business.

I encourage you to make your own sunshine and bring some of it to a destitute person, or family this year. That is the real sunshine in life isn't it? Regardless that the politicians may be feathering their nests, they like the meteorologists offer empty promises but we ordinary folk can give something that will truly make a difference in the world, one good deed at a time.

Happy Halloween Treat

I received an award last weekand will pass it on to all those on my viral link list and if they choose to pass it on that would be a treat. I have added some new bloggers this week that have stopped by and left a comment. I hope I haven't missed anyone.



Down River Drivel - A little piece of me - Empress Bee - I was born 2 Cree8 - Untwisted Vortex - One Man's Goal - Echoes of Grace - AuthorBlog - The Post College Years - Nobody Important - BCMom - Turning the Pages of Life - The BiPolar Diaries - Cicero Sings - Cid69 - Inman Road Chronicles - Inner Dialogues - Me, My Life, My Garden - Small Town RN - Two Write Hands - Misty Dawn - SquareTan - Skittles - At your service - Ghosts in the Machine - Planet Saedel - A nice place in the sun -
And miles to go before we sleep - Blackholes and Astrostuff - The Egel Nest - Mom knows everything - Life in Westcliffe - Dapoppins - Reba's Run - Time with Shelby - Hootin' Anni - Meeyauw - Carver's Sight or is that site - The Insane Writer - Dottie's Place - Limadang - She walks in beauty - Reap Money Online - Loquacity of Latharia - African Boy - Aryst - Crunchy Carpets - Mousie - State of Confusion - Cariboo Ponderer -



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Heads or Tails #10 Train

Skittles has started a new meme for every Tuesday called visit her blog for instructions. Basically she gives us a word and we can do whatever we like with it. This week we have the word Train

In my younger days I planned to write a book about dog training I was going to call it "How to be a Perfect Bitch." The dog training theory is don't expect your dog to come to your level but train it like a mother dog would. People are far to soft on dogs and this is not good for dogs which are a pack animal and find security in strong leadership. If they don't get it they will try and take over themselves. Sharing your bed is asking for disobedience in a dog, because they interpret that as admission from you that you are on equal standing, so then they try and become the boss. I have forgotten a lot of stuff but some of it is fairly common sense.

I have always had dogs, Taffy the Corgi, Bronwen the Whippet, Elsa the Akita bear dog, Cody the Golden Retriever, Bradley the Labrador Retriever, Bambi the Besenji, and now Annie the Maremma. All so very different in temperament and characteristics.

View more participants in the "Heads or Tails" meme.

Review of Reap Money Online

As I said in my previous post, I was asked to review a blog on how to make money online. I was surprised that I had been approached because I know nothing about it, and frankly did not think it was possible. Much like multi-level marketing, one or two make it, most do not. I e-mailed the couple back, who had asked me to do this, saying that I could not review their blog with integrity giving the reasons above.

I received a very nice informative e-mail back explaining their goal, which is to show bloggers who are interested how to go about making money online. They do not offer a quick and easy way to make a few bucks but claim that through hard work and with some guidance anyone can make money online.

I then spent some time reading their blog, and others, I also received some e-mails from people who said they had just started doing it. One had earned enough to pay for the books she needed for her courses, another was paying down a debt, and another felt this was a way she could contribute financially while staying at home with her family. All really valid reasons. I have no objections to making money, it is what makes the world go round after all, apart from love of course.

What made me stop and think was that these were people I could relate to. If they could do it maybe I could. Maybe I could start with the goal of earning enough for the satellite dish I need, so I can get off slow dial up. I am starting to get a little excited about it.

All this thinking process was started by a request for a review by Reap Money Online a blog started by a young couple, Jennie and Bong, who want to share what they know about business and web development with beginners who are searching for ways to make money online. They say that they are not attempting to teach but to share a journey together with others, have fun along the way and hopefully make some money as well. Jennie and Bong are doing this while still holding their day jobs and taking care of a family, so it does not have to incur long periods in front of the computer.

So I thought I would go along for the adventure, I have already hinted to my other blogging friends they might like to go along for the ride. How about it?

Reap Money Online

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Unfulfilled dreams

I have just been visiting JMB and she has a post called 'Unfulfilled dreams' which started me thinking about some of mine.

I share some dreams with JMB, in that I would have loved to speak another language. I started learning French in Kindergarten and carried on with French lessons into High School and although I could read, write, take dictation, I was never able to express myself well. I think the English system of being overly concerned with pronunciation and correct grammar is very inhibiting. I tried again many years later but by that time I had forgotten much of what I had learned and gave up. I decided that on the west coast of Canada I would be better off learning Japanese or Chinese anyway and I was not up to that challenge.

Another dream that I share with JMB is to have been an expert at something, however I am a Jack of all trades. I know a bit about many things but cannot be called an expert in much. Although I have found that in the long run it was better for me to be able to turn my mind or hand to just about anything rather than being limited to expertize in one thing.

One of my dreams was to be musical, any instrument would do, also to have a beautiful singing voice. Sadly I am tone deaf and cannot carry a tune. A fact that makes my Welsh ancestors writhe in their graves. I tried to learn piano in school and made my teacher almost insane, I am afraid, or at least I think that was the expression on her face. Several years ago I decided to buy myself an electric organ and took lessons but we soon realized I would never be able to play in a manner that would cause anyone else to recognize the song, so I accepted my limitations in that area.

I would have liked to have been a great orator, speaking to the souls of men and women, bringing healing and change, mostly I tend to open my mouth at the wrong time and say things I later regret, although they were innocent enough at the time. I restrict myself now to great speeches I make to myself while walking. I move myself if nothing else.

These however are acceptance of natural limitations and I don't count myself a failure because I did not succeed in these.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pictures of home

I have a lot of pictures on my site so it has been difficult to collect anything new but there are probably a few that have not been posted before.


Our small village of 350 people. I live off the picture in the trees at the bottom left. We are about a mile from town and quite a bit higher. The lake is frozen this picture is probably taken in early spring as the snow is almost gone but the ice has not.


This is our humble home on the edge of the wilderness. We are still working on it.





This is the solarium my husband was working on. It is finished now and it is great when it is 5C outside with the wind blowing and as long as there is a little sun it gets quite warm. Right now as I type the door is open into it and it is toasty in here and only a little cooler in there. All heated by wood stove in our extension.





This is our village museum where bones from the mammoth that was discovered at the mine that was here in the 1970's is on view, plus memorabilia from the mining days. The building is also used to showcase local crafts and also locals sell produce and goodies in the summer.



The building on the right is the library where I volunteer as treasurer, it is a pretty good library actually considering we only have 350 residents. The yellow building beside it is the hockey arena where teams come from all over the area to practice and compete. Both buildings were put in by the mine in the 1970's.





This is the marina where locals and tourists leave their boats in summer but they have to be removed before winter as the ice can get up to 2ft thick and will crush the boats.



Red Bluff Provincial park which is on our way out of town. The pink rock is seen all over the area. There are campsites and a dock at the park.




This is the train station at Smithers, you can see the ski runs behind. I like to go to Smithers because it has a Canadian Tire, Zellers and a few specialty stores and it is a very pretty run even though it takes about 1hr and 45mins to drive.





This is the view we see every time we leave the village and head south to the main highway. This is looking east towards Alberta. This is where we go salmon fishing.


Francois Lake is the second longest natural lake in the province. This lake is located south of Burns Lake BC where we do most of our shopping. It has its own ferry over to the other side which is called Southside where the camp is located that my husband collected $1000 worth of pop cans to send some local kids a few summers ago.


Well that is the best I can do as there really isn't much around here except mountains and lakes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some new internet toys for you


Zoho Web 2 Office Suite includes an online word processor, spreadsheet, data base and reports, planner, wiki, presentation creator, web conferencing, notebook, project manager, customer relations manager, create database apps, chat, mail, plus more. Accessible from anywhere, can be used by multiple users, compatible with existing file formats, share your documents or publish them for public view.

FUN ADVICE is a social question & answer site where you can make friends, share photos and meet people near you.

COLLARITY is a social search engine that combines a variety of different types of functionality to produce results in a new and interesting way. The basic concept is very straightforward, searchers begin to type in their search and as they do a little box pops up suggesting appropriate terms for the search - a little like Google Suggest but rather more sophisticated. There is also a slider bar with three settings for Personal, Community and Global. Clicking on each of these options will provide a slightly different set of suggestions, based on previous searches.



That's it folks

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Canada's oil reserves 2nd only to Saudi Arabia

I recently discovered that Canada holds the world's second-largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia. Also Canada is the largest single supplier of oil and refined products to the U.S., with over a million barrels per day coming from the oil sands of Alberta.

This region of Alberta is a freak geologic formation created by the remnants of marine life left behind by an ancient inland sea that once covered much of Alberta. In 1719, a Cree Indian presented a sample of bitumen to a white explorer with the Hudson Bay Company. But for the longest time, the tar-like goo that pooled along the banks of the Athabasca River didn't seem good for much. The Cree and Chipewyan used it to fill smudge pots and ward off mosquitoes, or warmed it into a gum to waterproof their birch bark canoes. But the engineers and fortune seekers who played with it — boiling, spinning and treating it with chemicals — succeeded mostly in blowing themselves up or going bankrupt, or both.

The heavy crude oil or crude bitumen extracted from these deposits is a sticky, solid or semisolid form of oil that does not easily flow at normal temperatures and pressures, making it difficult and expensive to process into gasoline, diesel fuel, and other products. Despite the difficulty and cost, oil sands are now being mined on a vast scale to extract the oil, which is then converted into synthetic oil by oil upgraders, or refined directly into petroleum products by specialized refineries.

So why are Canadians paying so much for oil, even more than our US counterparts?

Taxes, that is what is putting the price up. Something like 34% of the cost of gas at the pump in Canada are taxes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Shack by William P. Young


Last Wednesday we were given a book that is possibly one of the most influential books I have read. The Shack

It is written by William P. Young, a Canadian who was raised among a stone-age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of what was New Guinea. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

It's a story about a man, Mack, who was raised by an abusive alcoholic father, until he finally ran away from home. Later, Mack marries and becomes a father himself. On a family camping outing, on the last day of the trip, his youngest daughter, Missy, is kidnapped and murdered.

Obviously this changes Mack's life in many ways, and what he calls 'The Great Sadness' becomes an ever present way of life. One day he receives a mysterious note inviting him back to the shack where Missy's bloodied dress had been found and has an amazing experience with God.

That synopsis doesn't even begin to bring justice to the story. It is an amazing story about freedom, life, relationship, control, religion, expectancy and, most of all, love. It is a story that throws a complete curve ball into everything traditional religion has taught us to believe, and can change your entire perspective of God if you can open your mind enough to let it.

One quote by Eugene Peterson of 'The Message' states:

"This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!"

I have created 'Vic's Wiki Pages' on the side bar, where posts from the author's blog can be found.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mountain Pine Beetle

The mountain pine beetle is killing our forests.

British Columbia is currently experiencing a mountain pine beetle epidemic throughout the range of lodgepole pine forests in the province. This epidemic is the result of a number of factors including natural beetle population cycles, continuous mild winters, and an abundance of uniformly mature pine forest stands. The brown trees are all dead and can be seen for miles in some areas of central British Columbia.

Forestry experts and entomologists agree that you can't "stop" a beetle expansion such as we now see across British Columbia. Only nature can do this through two consecutive very cold winters. However, management activities are planned and implemented to try to slow the rate of expansion until cold winters can stem the rapid expansion of beetle populations.

Will the effects of the mountain pine beetle harm the animals living in the forests?

Mountain pine beetles kill trees, and the effect of this can impact wildlife in the forests as well. But these effects can be beneficial.

When natural processes that change forests are prevented (such as insects, disease and wildfire), the result can be a much more uniform and static ecosystem. If this occurs, the variety of habitats for wildlife are reduced from what may have been originally occurring and fewer species may result.

Natural processes such as wildfire, insects, disease and wind break up the forests and create areas with different habitats. These varied habitats can attract a wider variety of wildlife and benefit the overall diversity and health of the forest ecosystems. For example, the caribou of the Tweedsmuir and Entiako areas depend on lichens as a key food source. Beetle killed trees lose their foliage and more light can reach down through the forest. This results in increased lichen growth and a better chance of survival for the caribou.

Severe prolonged cold weather or a loss of host trees is the only way to stop the spread of mountain pine beetle. In the Cariboo-Chilcotin, the infestation in the early 1980s continued for ten years, before this weather pattern reduced the spread of mountain pine beetle.

How cold does it have to get to kill off the beetle?

Temperatures must consistently be below -35C to -40C for several straight days to kill off large portions of mountain pine beetle populations. In the early fall or late spring, sustained temperatures of -25 Celsius can freeze mountain pine beetle populations to death or a sudden cold snap is more lethal in the fall, before the mountain pine beetles are able to build up their natural anti-freeze (glycerol) levels. Cold weather is also more effective before it snows. A deep layer of snow on the ground can help insulate mountain pine beetles in the lower part of the tree against outside temperatures. Wind chill affects mountain pine beetles, but is usually not sustained long enough to significantly increase winter mortality.

What are the predictions for winter this year?

Even though it's a weather phenomenon that forms at the equator, La Nina could have a major impact on Canada this winter. La Nina moves cooler air and water around the Pacific Ocean. It's been seven years since the last one. In the past, La Nina caused drought and floods around the world. It also whips up more hurricanes in the Atlantic. It generally means from B.C. to Thunder Bay, a colder and snowier winter

In the fall, La Nina tends to bring a longer, colder, and wetter-than-normal winter. While its impact is harder to predict for eastern Canada, westerners should prepare for a rough season. But what will happen is still up in the air. Since its last appearance in 2000, the planet's climate has changed quite a bit. Global warming has progressed and could alter its effects.

So we are all hoping for an extremely long cold winter this year to save our forests.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Do you love your blog?

Tay over at Super Blogging asks the question "Do you love your blog?".

I really enjoy blogging, I am thrilled when someone takes time to comment, and I like checking out other blogs too and I always try to comment if I can. I try to think of interesting things to share. My blog, in my mind, is somewhere between a Readers Digest and a National Geographic of northern British Columbia, Canada.

I think that most people that spend time on the internet live in cities, and don't have time to see wildlife like I can. I have some type of interaction with a wild animal every day. Last night it was the coyotes singing at the back of the property. This morning it was retrieving the garbage can from rolling down the road, probably because of the same coyotes, but it could be the large black bear that has been hanging around. I hope it is not the grizzly mum and cub that has been sighted by some hunters, quite close to here. I don't have any desire to come close to a grizzly mother and cub. My last bear incident was enough.

Another topic I like to share about are memories, having lived 60 years I have a few that are worthwhile writing about. One of my favourite memories is called Priceless.

Also some tales of my travels. I have been fortunate in having traveled in Europe, Middle East, Australia and North America. I really should write more about those trips.

I have been involved with computers since the 1970's and had taught DOS before there where GUI. I often had to learn a new program the night before I had to teach it the next day. The exciting growth of computers and the new things that there are to learn I am sure has contributed towards keeping the gray matter still relatively alert. I am always eager to check out new programs and tips, and love to share them with others. I also have had the privilege of being able to help others through this blog to master some computer skills. I must admit I am losing the edge because I am not involved in the industry anymore, and some things I can't try because I don't have the equipment.

Do you love your blog?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tree frogs inspire super glue

Inspired by the toe pads of tree frogs and crickets, researchers in India have created a form of sticky coating that is both strong and reusable.

Sticky tape gets contaminated with dust and you only use it once or twice. But lizards and toads use their toes all the time. They don't get contaminated and they create very strong adhesion.

Toe pads have patterns on the surface, it's not a smooth layer. Underneath these patterns, there are fluid vessels, glands and blood vessels. Scientists have added tiny fluid vessels in their model adhesive and found they increased adhesion by 30 times. The hope is that this technology can be used on stickers for utensils and food so that they may be peeled off cleanly, and on other adhesive devices that are meant to be reused. Reuters UK

Relavent Post: Tree frogs and Toilets in Australia

Friday, October 12, 2007

Three interesting web-apps to check out

Three online applications to try. Have fun.

Voted as the best web-based task manger Remember the Milk's got all the best features modern web apps have to offer: email, tagging, advanced search, keyboard shortcuts and even offline access with Google Gears. Remember the Milk is a great way to consolidate your work, personal, school and family to-do's .

Microsoft has launched online event planning functionality within Windows Live Events. The free social event planning service lets you invite friends to an event and creates a Web page where people can share photos and stories with blog entries after the event. It uses the same infrastructure as Windows Live Spaces and lets you use your contact list there or in Hotmail or Messenger.

Evite.com helps you with your entertaining chores, for example you can send invitations, get hints for planning your event, cards etc. They cover everything from Anniversaries through Sporting Events to Weddings.

Have a look at my email box today

Helloooooooo Angel.

How are you doing?My name is sean kelvin , i leave in indiana southbend....i work with a computer store down town here in indiana... I was checking through my yahoo 360 home page, which i saw your profile and it really attracted me to write you.WOW...you gorgeous,what is the secret to your beauty?Well i am sure you are a rare combination of so many special things and i am yet to figure out that magic .only writing in view of being a friend,if you wouldnt mind that then, i should be expecting a reply soonest,maybe you have forgotten my name am sean kelvin.....hope to know you soon and chat with you too....you can as well, as get in contact with me through my yahoo id.....great_life2006@yahoo.com.....l'll be looking forward in hearing from you my angel.....so have a superday ahead of you ........sean kelvin.........

Don't these people even check that I am 60 years old, who are they kidding. This type of stupidity more or less made me decide to close my Yahoo blog. Anyway have a laugh.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Teenage antics - what were they?

Ann Clemons at A nice place in the sun asks the question "What is your craziest teenage experience or memory?" My husband tells me I had very tame teenage years, especially when he compares mine with his.

I was in a boarding school until I was 16. In England, at least in the early 1960's there was no such thing as graduation, one just left school, there were no parties or awards, just "Bye, see you around."

The day after I left school my mother and father produced the newspaper at the breakfast table, and they decided on what jobs I should apply for. My mother phoned for an appointment for me and took me to my first job interview. I started work the next week in a typing pool in the city of London, two hours by bus and subway train, there and back each day.

I left home at 6am in the morning to get up to London in time for the start of work at 8:30am and left work at 4pm to get to night school at 6pm and then caught the bus at 8pm because I had to be home by 9pm. I had a 9pm curfew, and one night my bus was late, but that didn't count with my father, I was not allowed out on the weekends for a month.

I was not permitted at any time to go to dances, pubs or coffee shops and he scared off any dates, which were extremely rare, as you can imagine, when did I have time to get one? He used to corner these poor boys in the living room and have a man to man talk! I never did find out what was discussed but I rarely got a second date. All my father cryptically commented was "I know what I was like at that age!"

So I don't have anything exciting to relate at least nothing I can remember.

Relevant posts:
School days
Hard to imagine
Oh! how times have changed

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Viral Linking is good for your blog

Sometime ago I started the 'Warm the Globe thru Friendship' linking project. It was basically viral linking with a twist. I had read about it on Blogging Mix. At first I was very unsure of the idea I thought it was a little like spam but eventually on the suggestion of Jeni I started it and it has gone a long way and increased my readership and authority with Technorati as well as other peoples.

I just read a post by Empress Bee reminding us of the value of this little blogging trick. She has started a list of her own which you may wish to join. However I wanted to do something a little different.

I have started a list here of those who have visited me or who I regularly read (I hope I don't leave anyone out, but if I do, tell me and I'll get your name on the list.) If you want to see your blog readership grow add this list to the bottom of a post on your blog and add your blog link at the end after the dash. Put in a dash after your name just to keep the code simple for the next person. Explain what you are doing to your readers and invite them to do the same.

Cariboo Ponderer - Down River Drivel - A little piece of me - Empress Bee - I was born 2 Cree8 - Untwisted Vortex - One Man's Goal - Echoes of Grace - AuthorBlog - The Post College Years - Nobody Important - BCMom - Turning the Pages of Life - The BiPolar Diaries - Cicero Sings - Cid69 - Inman Road Chronicles - Inner Dialogues - Me, My Life, My Garden - Small Town RN - Two Write Hands - Misty Dawn - SquareTan - Skittles - At your service - Ghosts in the Machine - Planet Saedel - A nice place in the sun - And miles to go before we sleep - Blackholes and Astrostuff - The Egel Nest - Mom knows everything - Life in Westcliffe - Dapoppins - Reba's Run - Time with Shelby - Hootin' Anni - Meeyauw - Carver's Sight or is that site - The Insane Writer - Dottie's Place - Limadang - She walks in beauty -

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Change is happening fast

We drove to Smithers today to pick up some flooring for our solarium. It will be one of the last outings, before winter, for the truck, as we will take it off the road soon. We also wanted to check into some studded tires for our new car as our road out of the village to Highway 16 can get pretty icy although the main highway is usually pretty good.

One of the villages we drove through is Telkwa, which means 'Where the Rivers Meet' . Telkwa lies at the meeting of the Telkwa and Bulkley Rivers and is adjacent to Tyee Lake Provincial Park. The history of Telkwa dates back to the 1860s, with the first arrival of construction teams to build an overland Telegraph Line, stretching to the far north. Today, arriving in Telkwa is like stepping into history, as original pioneer homes and businesses still exist, and continue to be used. The Telkwa Sled Dog Championships are held in February, featuring some of the best sled dog sprint racers in the world.

We noticed as we drove through there were a lot more vehicles on the road, new construction is taking place, and buildings that have had no signs on them now have brand new 'For Sale' signs posted on the fronts. It seems sleepy Telkwa is starting to wake up. The reason for this is coal bed methane which is found in ample quantities in the area and, unless local resistance stops it, wells will be drilled and production will begin in the near future.

We carried on to Smithers and again we saw lots of new construction, and new businesses popping up along the highway. It seems the whole area is about to boom. Many places had gone bust for one reason or another in the past but now there is definitely a feeling of change in the air. It may have a lot to do with the new container port being built in Prince Rupert which will bring in goods from Asia, and the prosperity will filter down along the highway or it could be the many new mining ventures that are starting up all over the area. There is work now where there has been little and real estate prices have doubled in a very short time.

While this is all good for those needing work, it is not necessarily good for the area as a whole. What about the wildlife, will they be beaten back even more as their habitat is encroached upon? This year we have seen more moose and bear attacks than usual, are they getting desperate? What about our beautiful rivers and lakes?

In some ways I am excited about the changes, in others I am afraid my home will never be the same again.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Heads or Tails #9 - Explore or Explorer

Skittles has started a new meme for every Tuesday called visit her blog for instructions. Basically she gives us a word and we can do whatever we like with it. This week the subject is Explore or Explorer.

Sacajawea

She climbed high mountains, crossed unfordable streams on a canoe and cured ill-stricken explorers with roots, berries and herbs. Her name was Sacajawea, or Bird Woman, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806.

Sacawajea, a Shoshone, was only fourteen years old when she was offered by her husband to assist as a translator on the Lewis and Clark expedition,

It was “Janey,” as Sacawajea was called by the men, who showed them how to find caches of unfamiliar but edible roots that gophers store near piles of driftwood. When bad weather overtook the explorers she managed to save many essential items such as maps, compass, trading goods, bullets, and food. So essential to the expedition were these things that if she hadn't taken it upon herself to rescue them the expedition would have been a failure.

Sacawajea's death remains a mystery. Some claim she died in 1814 and others assert it was well after, as she was thought to have interpreted at several councils from 1850 through the 1870’s.

View more participants in the "Heads or Tails" meme.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Egel Nest Award

This originated over at The Egel's Nest

So I just want to show appreciation to four friends that have been with me from the start of this blog, keeping me going when I was ready to quit.

Turning the Pages of Life
Down River Drivel
A Little Piece of Me
Colorado Bob
Mom knows everything
Cariboo Ponderer

Barring Mars a sweet idea or not?

Pretty tacky title but the rest of the post is better!

We have just been watching a program about the exploration of Mars and the plans to send human beings there. My husband and I are divided on the issue.

I feel the money that is being spent on this, which is huge, could be spent alleviating hunger, helping with the global warming issue and improving mankind's lot in general. Therefore I feel it is morally wrong to be spending this money on this particular research. I am not talking about America I am referring to all countries involved. Which brings me to the point that if this were truly about saving mankind and bettering our lot, the countries would all be working together rather than competing. At least I think so.

My husband feels that it is shortsighted not to be considering space research, as mankind may need to leave this planet one day, in case of a global emergency, like the meteorite that supposedly killed off the dinosaurs, or some other catastrophic event.

My argument on that comment is that that is not really saving mankind because most would not be able to go, only a select handful that would be destined to continue the species and who does the choosing?

There is the argument that we may be able to grow food off planet but I say lets fix our own planet before we mess up another.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Walrus on the move

Thousands of walrus have appeared on Alaska's northwest coast in what conservationists are calling a dramatic consequence of global warming melting the Arctic sea ice.

Alaska's walrus, especially breeding females, in summer and fall are usually found on the Arctic ice pack. But the lowest summer ice cap on record put sea ice far north of the outer continental shelf, the shallow, life-rich shelf of ocean bottom.

Walrus feed on clams, snails and other bottom dwellers. Given the choice between an ice platform over water beyond their 630-foot diving range or gathering spots on shore, thousands of walrus picked Alaska's rocky beaches.

Starting in July, several thousand walrus abandoned the ice pack for gathering spots known as haul outs on a remote, 300-mile stretch of Alaska coastline. Biologists fear walrus will suffer nutritional stress if they are concentrated on shoreline rather than spread over thousands of miles of sea ice.

Walrus need either ice or land to rest. Unlike seals, they cannot swim indefinitely and must pause after foraging. As the ice edge melts and moves north in spring and summer, sea ice gives calves a platform on which to rest while females dive to feed. Lack of sea ice is at the heart of upcoming problems for walrus, and the problem of maintaining ice is way beyond us.

U.S. Marine Mammal Commission

Friday, October 05, 2007

Take a minute and have a laugh with Gene

For a good laugh take a minute to visit Gene at Turning the Pages of Life he has put up a Calvin and Hobbes collection titled Calvin says "Winter ain't so bad".

Gene has a unique sense of humour, loves to hunt and fish and writes beautiful poetry as well. He is always worth visiting.

Depends on what side of the water you're from on how you punctuate your sentences!

No wonder I have been confused as to my punctuation habits when reading other work. It seems British and American punctuation habits differ. I wonder about other English speaking countries, do they mess about with the original too! Having been schooled in England I have often been confused and assumed I had forgotten what I had been taught. After all it was a long time ago.

Punctuation Errors: American and British Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are used to set off speech or quoted sentences and words. Despite its simple role, people tend to get confused about the position of other punctuation in relation to the quotation marks. Should it go inside or outside the quotation marks?

It depends. If you are writing in American English, other punctuation should go inside the quotation marks, even if it is not part of the quoted sentence. Here is an example from the New York Times:

“When we have got a contractor city, say, of 180,000 people, and there hasn’t been a completed prosecution of anybody coming out of Iraq, not one,” he said, “what sort of city in America would be like that, where no one is prosecuted for anything for three years? It’s unthinkable.”

If you are writing in British English, on the other hand, punctuation that is not part of the quoted sentence should be place outside the quotation marks. Here is an example from The Telegraph:

A crisis in the US subprime mortgage market will affect Britain, he said, warning that the housing market is likely to weaken as a result. However, he insisted that the economy is starting from “a very strong position”.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dragonflies, open water reveal rapid Arctic change

Pierre Tautu doesn't know whether it's global warming or something else, but over the summer he noticed strange things happening around his Nunavut home in Chesterfield Inlet, at the top of Hudson Bay.

“We still have ice year-round, but there's been a little bit of changes,” he said.

“Different kinds of insects and different kind of birds that come around our area now.”

His hamlet (population 330) is a prime nesting ground for a variety of birds, but last summer the 44-year-old hunter and guide spotted a type of owl he had never seen that far north. For the first time, he also saw a dragonfly in his Inuit community.

“We don't have dragonflies around, but I've seen one,” Mr. Tautu said. “This was just out in our backyard and I was pretty surprised to see one.”

Changes to the environment and climate are usually imperceptible and are visible only when the increments build up over time and result in a trend. But in the summer of 2007, both anecdotal and quantifiable evidence emerged that showed dramatic changes are taking place in the Far North at a faster pace than anyone imagined.

The fabled Northwest Passage is normally still choked with ice during the summer. At its usual low point, 14 per cent of the shipping route remains covered with ice, which prevents ships from passing unless escorted by icebreakers. This year, just 2 per cent was covered with ice, resulting in the second consecutive summer during which an unaided sailboat could pass through.

Back in Chesterfield Inlet yesterday, the snow was flying and the freeze was setting in. “It still looks normal,” Mr. Tautu said. He's not worried about a big melt, figuring the polar bears, other animals and people will adapt. Snow and ice, he said, will always be there. Still, he added, times have changed since his elders could read the weather better than any scientist.

“I was taught about the weather when I was a little boy,” he said. “Nowadays we can't predict it any more.”

Dragonflies, open water reveal rapid Arctic change
DAWN WALTON From Thursday's Globe and Mail
October 4, 2007 at 12:03 AM EDT

I am a published authoress

Last year I submitted a little piece to a Christian Internet Ministry and they e-mailed me the other day to say they had published it and would I like to do more. If you are interested this is the link Be Reasonable. It is up for about 3 days I think and then goes into their archives. I was thrilled to have been selected as I think there were hundreds who participated. Maybe I should consider doing more, but nothing else has come to mind.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've been tagged with my pants down

I've been tagged with my pants down by The Insane Writer. Not too sure why it is called that but a great way to promote other blogs

The Rules of this tag:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List ten (10) random facts about yourself.
3. Tag eleven people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. These 11 persons would have to tag 12 people
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

The Random Facts About Little Ol' Me:

1. The day I was born was called the 'Blizzard of the Century' on March 8, 1947 in London, UK
2. I dreamed every night that I could fly, when I was a child
3. I remember the ration book my Grandmother used to buy groceries after the war
4. I was five when the Queen was crowned
5. My father left to work in the Middle East in November 1953
6. My mother died of an asthma attack on Christmas day 1953, her birthday
7. I have fine reddish brown hair, and grey blue eyes.
8. I still can find my waist
9. I aim to have done my devotions, eaten breakfast, showered, done my hair and put some makeup on, cleaned house and have everything tidy in case someone comes, which I hope they don't by 10:30 am every morning.
10. I am addicted to the internet.
  1. Meeyauw
  2. Inner Dialogues
  3. Cicero Sings
  4. Down River Drivel
  5. Reba's Run
  6. Time with Shelby
  7. Nobody Important
  8. Hootin' Annie
  9. Echoes of Grace
  10. Turning the Pages of Life
  11. Me, My Life, My Garden

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Head or tails #8 - Stack

Skittles has started a new meme for every Tuesday called visit her blog for instructions. Basically she gives us a word and we can do whatever we like with it. This week the subject is 'Stack'. It was a bit difficult coming up with something on this one.

The Big Stack can be seen miles before you arrive in Anaconda. Montana. At 585 feet tall, it was once the country's tallest smokestack - the Washington Monument could fit inside it - and it used to benevolently belch lead and arsenic over residents. In 1980, smelting operations closed, and the stack was threatened with demolition. Proud Anacondans banded together, and the stack was saved, becoming a Montana State Park. Only now the Federal DEP has fenced it off, saying that the site leaks arsenic.

View more participants in the "Heads or Tails" meme.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Trip to Disney World - October 1, 1989

Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida on October 1, 1971

In the fall of 1989 we set out on a trip to Disney World, my ex-husband, myself and our three boys. We caught a bus which drove us to Seattle, where we boarded the Amtrack which took us across the continent to Chicago and then down to Florida. It took three full days. We were on a budget and could not afford a sleeper cabin so we slept in the seats we were assigned and lived on sandwiches and junk food. We did have one meal a day in the restaurant which I think was a high point for at least one of my boys. The server was quite a comedian and kept the kids laughing the whole meal.

We stayed about 6 days in Orlando and visited everything we could, and then hopped back on the Amtrack which took us across to the West Coast and back to Seattle, where we caught a bus back to Canada. I heard about 10 days later that the Amtrack train on the Florida portion of the route had fallen off the track into an alligator infested swamp. I was very grateful we had got safely home.

My oldest boy was 12 at the time and he really did not want to come, and he slept poorly on the trip but once we were there he enjoyed himself. He was much more aware of his father's crazy schemes, absolute lack of common sense and had experienced traveling with him before and it had frightened him.

We really could not afford this trip, but my husband at the time had asked my youngest(8yrs) what he really would like to do, and he said he would like to go to Disney World. So we had to move mountains to do so and got in considerable debt as well. Once my ex-husband got an idea in his head nothing could change his mind and any efforts on my part to make him see reason was considered a rank act of disloyalty.

He had three T-shirts made, one for each son with the names Huey, Duey and Louie emblazoned on the front. That was not their names, but he insisted that they wear them while at Disney land. I remember one lady exclaiming that surely we had not named our children after the ducks.

Of course when we received our Master Card and Visa bill a month later, my husband did not want to deal with them, and it was me who had to try and pay them off, he liked to have all the say about the spending and none of the responsibility about paying for it.

However I hope the trip is a good memory for my boys.