Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Uncle's Birthday dinner

On my last post I mentioned that I was stressed.   No, I am not sick, nor depressed but I received a few emails asking if I was Okay.   For the past few years I have been feeling this way and it gets worse as I age. I thank you for your concern.  I was separated from my sister when she was around 3 years old and I never got the opportunity to see her again.  Her birthday was February 17th and every year when this date rolls around it gets me thinking about what could have been if life were kinder . . .

   My Sister Louise                 circa 1951 approx  

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from my favourite Uncle which greatly distressed me.   It was a big letter birthday and he had invited a couple of close friends and the rest of his immediate family and siblings.   Of course he expected me to attend and I hesitated for nearly a week without answering his RSVP email.  You must know that he is my favourite Uncle & Aunt.  We get along great and I wouldn’t even think about missing his birthday.   He used to live in Toronto and when he came to Vancouver he would always call and we would get together for dinner and chat the night away.

   Ural Patrol  2 WD

He retired a few years ago and decided that the cold winters of Ontario were not condusive to a good retirement atmosphere so he sold his ranch and horses and moved to sunny Campbell River.  When we were “back East” we would visit him in Barrie, ON where he had his practice.   After he settled in Campbell River we welcomed him to BC and went to visit him.  We spent the weekend getting acquainted again while sightseeing in the area.  We spent a couple of days exploring and drove to Gold River & Tahsis.  We visited him again a couple of years ago and if we are ever in his area we would certainly drop in and say hello.

My Uncle comes to Vancouver often as his Daughter (My Cousin) lives just north of Vancouver in Squamish, BC.   Whenever he comes over from Campbell River to the Mainland (Vancouver) he would always call to let us know.   Because he comes over during special times, such as Christmas we don’t feel like imposing during his family time but the point is that he always lets us know he is in town.   And we would naturally do the same thing.  I would not think of not  seeing him whenever he is close.

I mean, where is all this leading ?   He is my favourite Uncle and it’s his birthday so of course why should I be stressed about going or not going.  To tell you the truth I was not going to go.

    1969 Honda CB350

I know that life is not always a bowl of cherries.   Life isn’t perfect but it was perfect for me for my first 8 years until my parents decided to separate.  It is very unusual in Asian homes, it’s just something that does not happen.  Let me say that I am happy now with my current family but I must still have a lot of hurt inside for the past, and what happened.   Recently I scolded Sash (Tina) for always mentioning the past and to move ahead in her life.   To move forward look towards the future.   She has written about it here . . .

I don’t say much about my past but I suppose I am not over what happened to me and how cruel life can be.  It is always in the back of my mind and I am saddened when I see happy homes and families having fun together, the closeness and looking forward to getting together again for holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving.

I was reminded again of my unhappy life on February 17th.  Every year on this day I think of the life I never had.  The sister that was taken from me when I was only around 8 years old.  The sister that I never had the chance to see again.  My only memories are a couple of cherished photos and the times we used to play on the floor in our kitchen before our parents parted ways.   I remained in Vancouver with my dad, and my sister went to live with my mother.  Eventually my Mom moved back to London, ON where she was from.

Every year I would get presents from her on my Birthday or for Christmas but these were always sent back and eventually they stopped coming.   Life goes on and many years pass.   I was 8, then I was 27 years old, married with a young 3 year old daughter.  I mean, where does the time go ?    I decided that it was time for me to “find” my Mother and Sister.   This was around 1973 and there was no internet but my job at that time was “skip tracing” so off to the Library I went.  Scouring Voter’s lists, City Directories, Phone books and I narrowed it down to a few possible names.

I found them and over the weeks we did phone a few times back and forth and I decided I would fly to Toronto, where they were living and spend our vacation with them.  Actually Weston & Sheppard area just north/west of the City.    I also had a chance to meet many Uncles, Aunts & cousins who lived in London, ON

It felt strange to be under the same roof as my Mother whom I had not seen for so many years.  She had a new family now with two daughters but I never saw my sister as she drove across the country but I talked to her on the phone when she phoned me from Vancouver.    I thought I would be able to meet her another time but as fate would have it, she passed away a few months later from an infection.  I would never get to meet my younger sister.  I am saddened every time I think of it.  I have guilt feelings of not attending her funeral but funds were tight back then.  I am getting teary-eyed again just thinking about it, and every February 17th I am reminded again as this was her birthday

   Louise          (2nd of only 2 photos I have)  

I thought that I had a family in Toronto where I could visit and perhaps stay for a time.   It was arranged the following year that I would come to Toronto and stay for the summer. 
It was something that I just had to do.  I was trying to fill a void in my life, enjoy a family life I never had.  Just to feel wanted . . .

Since I needed a car while I was there I decided to drive across Canada by myself.   It took me 3 nights and four days and I arrived in Weston, on Thursday afternoon.  You guessed it.  My Uncle, yes the one who lives in Campbell River and whom invited me to his birthday dinner was temporarily living there too.  We shared the basement and spent a lot of time together that summer.   I don’t think I am closer to any other Uncle . . .  He was like the brother that I never had.  We even look alike

   Scooterchick/Pat & Scootard/Chris                    Squamish, BC    June 2012

Adjusting to being part of a Family and having a couple of sisters took a while.  Being alone for so long I was just not used to all the rules, but I did settle in and I thought I had discovered the Family that I never had, if only for a few months.   Soon it was time to think about heading home back to Vancouver.   Mrs Skoot flew out to Toronto with our daughter for a week and we hopped in the car for our long drive across the Country back to our West End apartment in Vancouver.

I thought that I had accomplished my goal of reuniting with my Mother, my new family and two sisters whom I had never met nor knew existed.  I was contented to know that I was now finally part of a family.  To feel wanted, to belong . . .   This was back around 1974ish.   I also went back to Weston (Toronto) during 1988 for a short visit and it felt nice to have a welcoming family.  That’s what I thought at the time

It turns out that my Mom’s new husband was an old friend of the family whom I used to call “Uncle”.  That’s the way it was back then when you met older people.  You always gave them respect so Uncle it was.   When my parents were together he used to visit when we had gatherings.  He is from Vancouver so his family is here, brothers & sisters.
I found out several times when he came to Vancouver to visit his family but he only gave us a quick phone call from the Airport as he was waiting for his flight home.  There was never enough time for us to drive to the Airport to physically see him.  I suppose that’s the way he planned it.   He didn’t really want to see us at all.  That’s the way I feel.

  Bobskoot ,   Scooterchick  &  Scootard                     Howe Sound Brewery, Squamish BC   June 2012

Another time he came to visit his brother who was ill in the hospital.  He did phone from Coquitlam but he said he did not have time to see us, even though he had been in town for 2 weeks.  It’s not like I couldn’t drive to Coquitlam and we could talk in the cafeteria for a few minutes.   If there’s a will then there will be a way, this I know.  But he had no will . . .

Now remember that my Mom was still living in Toronto during the time I bumped into a  “cousin” at the Night Market.   He mentioned that my Mom was going on an Alaskan Cruise and would be here in September (a few years ago), and this was around July.   Imagine how bad I felt that he knew this and my Mom never told or phoned me.  I waited for months to hear from her, but she never called.  So this was when I decided that I wasn’t part of this family anymore.   I mean how can you come all this way across the Country and not let me know you are going to be here ?   I had to pretend that I knew but I had a big hurt inside that upsets me when I think of it.  

  Mile Zero, Trans Canada Highway    Victoria, BC                              May 2011

Hang on a bit longer, I know it’s about my Uncle’s Birthday dinner but I’m trying to give you a bit of background without going into too much detail.  Believe me, I’m leaving lots out.

September came and went with no sign or phone calls from my Mom.  I am of the belief that they don’t want me in their life so I can only do what I can and I try to remove my Mom from my life too.  I pretend that she doesn’t exist.   During this time she also moved (from Toronto) and now lives in Burnaby and I pass within a block from where she lives during my commute home from work but I feel no attachment and have no desire to see her.  Actually the last time I saw her was April, 2000, nearly 13 years ago

There’s my dilemma.  My Mom is my Uncle’s Sister.  It’s my Uncle’s Birthday and she will be there too.   I told myself years ago that I never wanted to see her again but my love for my Uncle is giving me mixed emotions.   I have butterflies just thinking how this is all going to turn out as our dinner is this coming Saturday.  Since I never replied to my Uncle’s RSVP email, he phoned me the other day and I said that “I would be there (gulp) . . . “

  My BMW R1200R         Steveston, BC                       September 2012

I have been holding in a lot of hurt and perhaps it’s therapeutic, maybe I am looking at things the wrong way .   I may seem jovial but I get hurt easily.   I am fast to interpret and judge people and form opinions from what I observe.  I was recently reminded of this from two close friends recently on my trip last month.    I hope I haven’t destroyed any friendships along the way.  I think you know who you are.   Perhaps now you will understand why I have a need to feel belonged and the reason that I like to meet people, be social and empathize with you if things are not working out.

I understand how it feels to be alone.  No, I’m not talking about my present family.  I am talking about the parents I never had,  my sister whom I never saw again, the fact that I always had to work to earn my own money, buy my own clothes.  I never had much support during my growing years.   I ran away from home when I thought I wasn’t being fairly treated by my step-mom and no one cared enough about me to call me at work to see what happened.   I have suffered with rejection all my life and being rejected by your own family hurts the most.

My thoughts are bubbling over but I may have said too much already.  I’m not sure I should have even gone this far.   I feel a special bond with many of you, perhaps I am searching for the family that I never had.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A few scenes from

the Wet Coast.   It's February and we are having our usual winter weather which usually means rain.  It sometimes stops for a day or so between storms but our rainy season drags out from October to around May or June the next year.

  I saw my old scooter on the weekend.  I bought this Kymco Xciting 500Ri and rode it to Oregon in 2007.

I am having a lack of words day.  I prepared a long post about myself which I deemed too personal to expose to the world.  It all started with an innocent email I received last week which put me in stress mode.  I thought that it would be good therapy for me to "spill my guts" and then you would understand a few things about myself, why I care for people I like and why I am fast to form opinions. 

   Marine Drive, White Rock, BC       February, 2013

White Rock is a very busy place during the Summer.  Not so much on a cool winter's day

The Main business district is on top of the steep hill and many homes have an ocean view.  Although we are nearly an hour south of Vancouver, home prices are as much as they are in the City

The hills are so steep that you would even have difficulty walking up the sidewalks

    Canada Geese,  Delta, BC

A few posts ago Trobairitz posted a photo of some geese, so I stopped for a photo too

I have no idea why they congregate on some fields and not others.  Perhaps they are eating all the farmer's seeds

Unlike other parts of the country we have no snow nor frost.  I think Martha would feel right at home here.  I know she mentioned that she likes to play in the dirt

   Gastown, Vancouver BC                   (Sony NEX-5n     Martha -->  "antishake mode"

We had dinner in a not so safe area down in Gastown where parking is scarce and you have to be careful which streets you walk and make sure no one is following you.   Also make sure you have nothing of value which can be seen in your car.

   Gastown, Vancouver, BC           February 2013

This is not to say that Gastown is dangerous but a block away is our famous downtown Eastside where residents of questionable character hang out on the street all night.   They have revitalized the area and there are many trendy eateries and pubs

and also home to many seedy hotels and rooming houses.   A block or so away you will find people sleeping on the street using cardboard mattresses with all their worldly possessions usually in a grocery cart

  Richard,  no sidewalk yet.   Rebar is anxiously waiting for the cement to arrive

I can't ride my bike here as they have put "spacers" under the rebar grid .

For some reason, I have been noticing a lot of Hacks lately.   This is a nearly new Ural Patrol 2 WD

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Beautiful Day on the Coast

Last week I renewed my bike insurance.   It rained all week and for some reason Saturday was sunny and fairly warm for this time of year, if you can call 8°c a warm day.   I suppose if you compare it with the snow, ice and minus temperatures back in Eastern Canada, we are lucky

Although I managed to go out for a short ride and sit on a bench to relax, it wasn't as idyllic as you would believe this scene was

    False Creek, Sea wall walk

It was peaceful, a little cool but it was nice to just sit and watch the world go by.  There does not seem too many people are walking around today but it was okay with me to spend some time by myself thinking how nice it was being alive and breathing in the fresh air

While I am looking completely relaxed it is not easy to release my bike from its hiding place, thus often I just decide that it's not worth the effort to "dig" it out and thus just use my commuter car.  Before our construction project we had a double carport.   Now I have to share our single carport with other construction supplies and tools

I have to cover my bikes to keep the dust off and a couple of days ago they put those metal pieces there to block my exit.   They were fairly heavy and without gloves I tried to move them out of the way and slit my finger on the sharp edges.  Those are construction tools on the right side

I didn't feel it at the time but I got blood everywhere and I couldn't get it to stop bleeding.   The last couple of times I used my bike I was able to use the narrow driveway and get out to our lane.  But a couple of weeks ago they put scaffolding there

I thought that if the aisleway were wide enough I could squeeze my bike out and try to move that toilet out of the way, so with a tape measure in hand I went to measure the width

Nope !  it was 4 inches too narrow.   They have to finish something on the roof and I hope they do it soon because when the scaffold is removed, then I will be able to get my bike in and out whenever I want with less difficulty

On the other side of the lot, we have another gate but with all that sand and the cement forms, and the top heavy weight of my V-strom I didn't want to attempt it, so now my only option is to use our narrow walkway

Everything is prepped for the arrival of the cement so there is a rebar grid which I would have to ride over.  They have delayed the cement because it is raining too hard and they are waiting for drier weather which will be another week, as we are forecast to get rain for the next 5 days.  A couple of weeks ago it was dry but with frost in the evenings they said it was too cold

I spent some time surveying my situation so I sat down for a while to ponder my decision.  Imagine: a perfect day for riding . . .  if only I could get my bike out

You won't believe that I spent nearly an hour walking around and checking the dirt for leftover nails.  I have picked up quite a few nails and screws as I don't need the anguish of a flat tire.   Eventually I decide to GO FOR IT . . .

I did a 12 point turn to get my V-strom turned around

and into exit position and I start the engine to get it warmed up.    I cannot push it over the rebar and then up the incline at the other end.  I need help from the engine . . .

My gate is a bit wider than the old one but it is still a tight fit to get out

I get home around mid afternoon as I had to go out for a Club Dinner and then I am faced with putting my bike back into its hiding place

Before they removed my old sidewalk I used to just roll my bike down the cement incline.  Today I had to leave the engine on and ride it over the rebar, and then up the 2" lip at the other end

I nearly lost my footing as you have to step between the rebar to get a secure footing, and don't forget that I am feathering my clutch and rolling using engine power

Once the cement is poured I think I will be able to just push my bike along which will be much safer

I manage to maneuver to my parking spot, attach my cable locks, battery tender and proceed to install my bike cover

Sometimes it takes a while because you have to make sure you don't get it backwards.  It is hard to find the front

I manage to get the cover on, but I must secure the nylon strap to the ring on the other side.   This keeps the cover from lifting off during windy days

There you have it.  It's a pain in the neck for me to access my bike and lately its just been easier to take the car.   Things will change for the better after the cement is poured or the scaffold is removed

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It wasn't me that sent

those emails earlier today.  I know many of us have secondary emails and keep our real ones for trusted friends.

    Ural Hack with Man's best friend

I am no different.  I have several emails which I use for different purposes.   I have Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and also my personal email.   Most emails from these providers keep your information in their "cloud" so somehow somebody got inside my Yahoo cloud and sent automatic spam to a few people using the contacts in my address book, which is also in their cloud.  I like the idea of having access to email addresses which previously were only accessible on your home computer, which you keep at home but obviously your information isn't very secure as you have no control over the security of your private information

    He was patiently waiting for his master

I think my own computer is safe enough as I have security software and I am careful which sites I venture to but I can't say the same for Yahoo or Hotmail.   I know this security breach only affected my Yahoo account as I can tell from which addresses the spam was directed to.   Recently I posted a link to my Yahoo email address so my followers could contact me but I never send email from yahoo.   All replies are sent from my personal (real) email address

Gmail is the only email provider which can capture and redirect/forward emails from other providers so I use this for backup.   It is automatic and I don't have to do anything except to go and delete the duplicates from time to time.  For example recently I was forced to use Windows Live mail and I set my properties to "delete" copy from server.  This means that the emails downloaded to my laptop are no longer accessible from an internet connection.   If I need to access an email when I am not home all I do is log into Gmail and the duplicate should be there.

  Numbers matching Harley Davidson with factory installed sidecar

I should have known that something was wrong when I received an email from myself and I knew better than to "click" on it and I guess that's how the bug got in.    Later I received over 30 emails on my Yahoo account with a delivery failure error.

Then I started to get emails from various friends asking what was going on

So if you happen to get one of these emails, it wasn't from me.  I did not knowingly send them and I am sorry for the inconvenience.  Just make sure you don't "click" nor "open" them.   They will come from Yahoo and I do not use yahoo to send emails.   I only use Yahoo to receive emails

This road may not look well traveled and it is difficult to hear the fast cars creeping up from behind me coming at high speed, but I did manage to get out of the way after I "clicked"