Family & Friends

Wildplay

Jon, Rick and I tackled the Wildplay in Nanaimo.  It was their first time attempting the obstacle course in the trees and both did very well, especially Rick as heights aren’t his thing; the highest point in the course is nearly 25 metres.  It took us close to two hours to finish the whole thing, a far cry from the 13 minute record, but we had a lot of fun.  We finished the day off with a nice lunch at Nori, my favourite Nanaimo restaurant.  It was a fun day and great to catch up with two people I don’t see often.

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Categories: Family & Friends, General interest | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Boccé 2013

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.54 AMWell, mark your calendars and get your balls polished up, the 2013 edition of the Boccé Bash is now here.   The tourney date is Saturday, August 10th on the boccé pitches @ Knight.  We’ll follow the usual format – details to follow in a few weeks.  Just remember that registration commences July 10th and space is limited to 24 teams.  You can register at my office or if you see me in person; $50 per team (we need team name and t-shirt sizes) and pay to play.  Costumes and team themes encouraged.  Don’t delay as it fills up fast (as some of you can remember from last year!).  Thanks and see you soon!

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Free money for a great cause!

Many of you know I’m a big fan of Kiva.  We’ve been using the site for a couple years now and have nearly 125 loans funded, all around the world.  Click here to see more about our loan portfolio (gender/geographical breakdown, economic sector and so on).  You can meet a few of my borrowers below!  If you like the idea, consider setting up your own ‘min-bank’ where you get to choose to whom you lend, where and how much.  Right now, Kiva is offering a free $25 starter loan to new users; no cost, no obligation, no hidden agenda – just enjoy helping people start and manage small businesses which in turn help support their families.  To learn more just click here.  Cheers and enjoy!

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Merry Christmas!

IMG_3088Another year has flown by – where does it go?  We had a year full of challenges and heartbreak but also with some wonderful memories and events.  Please click here for more.  From our family to yours, please have a safe and enjoyable Christmas season, happy holidays and a great 2013.

Cheers,

Ben

Categories: Family & Friends, General interest | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Thanksgiving

I’m very fortunate.  Sure, Josée and I work hard but we’ve had some breaks and helping hands as well.  One of the ways we give back to our community is through Kiva.  Some of you may be familiar with this micro-finance site.  Since its inception in 2005, Kiva has helped over 800,000 small businesses access about $350 million in capital.  Most of these businesses are family run with just one or two employees and many are located in ‘non-Western’ countries.  The premise behind Kiva is very simple: you use the site to find someone who wants to borrow capital to improve life for their family, usually through a small business; along with other Kiva users you loan money (usually $25) to the person you select; they re-pay you over a certain term, usually 12-24 months; you re-loan the money to someone else.  Unlike borrowers in North America, many of whom declare bankruptcy to avoid their debt, Kiva borrowers repay their loans.  To date, the repayment rate is 98.96%.

I like Kiva because I can learn about people around the world who are starting or improving a small business.  They are just like you and I – working, supporting their families and trying to improve their lives.  Some of the success stories are phenomenal and it is gratifying to see people flourish just by getting a small helping hand in the form of access to capital.  I like Kiva because the money goes directly to the end borrower.  In addition to your loan, you can donate to help Kiva operate but it isn’t a requirement.  Operationally, Kiva is very efficient unlike some of large global charities where most donated money is used just to finance the organization.  If you want to create your own ‘bank’, lend a helping hand to families around the world and then do it all over again, I encourage you to check out Kiva.

To start your ‘bank’ with a free $25, click here; if you want some help setting up your KIVA site, just let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Salmon (shark) anyone?

I just returned from an epic adventure in Kyuquot Sound, north Vancouver Island, where my good friend Bud took me fishing on his fish boat.  I’ll do another post with some of the photos and a few details of the trip but for now, I wanted to get the video below online.  It was one of the definite highlights of the trip – Colin reeled in a salmon shark, probably about 5-6 feet long and we estimated maybe around 200-250 lbs.  It was exciting to see one so close but we were all happy when Bud got the hook out and we set him free.  Enjoy the video!

 

PS..if you want to watch a National Geographic video about salmon sharks, click here.

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Boccé Bash 2012

The latest edition of the Boccé Bash is fast approaching.  Registration opens 3 July 2012 for the first 24 paying teams.  I will have a wait-list for other teams who are interested but you’re not in until you’ve paid!  The bash is on Saturday, August 11th @ the Knight Rd. Boccé pitches.  Details to follow.

Registrations can be submitted at my office in Comox or you can swing by the house.  If you own a business and wish to sponsor the event, please contact me and I’ll provide some extra info:

  • For registrations received on or before July 20th – $50 per team
  • For registrations received on or after July 21st – $65 per team
  • Cash only
  • When you register, please have a team name, your player names and your t-shirt sizes
  • Late entries are NOT guaranteed to receive a t-shirt

I’ll post more information in a couple weeks but for the time being, if you have questions, get hold of me on email or text 250.792.5151

Categories: Family & Friends, Sports, Trips & Events | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

My little pig Monty…

Early Tuesday morning, about 2am, my little pig Monty died in my arms.  I felt his last breath on my cheek.  He looked so peaceful when he finally died, his spasms and seizures over.  He was a brave little pig and really fought hard against the poison the vets think was ranging in his body, causing him to basically bleed to death from the inside out.  I haven’t stopped crying in the last 24 hours and I’m sure it will be a few more days before the fountains stop.  To be honest, my relationship with Monty is the first close relationship I’ve had which has ended in death.  I’ve known acquaintances who’ve died and my grandparents as well but they were all slightly distant relationships and many of them died when I was young.  I’m not trying to say that pets are more important than people but I’m sure you get my drift.

I guess I’m writing this mostly for myself as I don’t really expect people to understand how one can love a pig.  After all, he was an uncommon pet and, unfortunately, no one except Josée and I spent enough time with him to see how sweet he was, how he loved us and communicated with us (pigs can make up to 20 different noises you know!!) and how his cute little habits, like poking his head out of the dog house when we came home or knocking over the metal food bowl so we’d let him in at the door or sneaking away to a quiet corner to eat a bun, grew on us til he held a most special place in our lives.  Some people couldn’t get their heads around the fact we had a pet pig and he lived in the house at night, just like our dogs and cats.  Some people experienced the dreaded Monty nip as he tried to keep his place in our social hierarchy; but they didn’t see the intimate nuzzles he gave us, the endless times he would curl up and spoon us, grunting and oinking softly as we rubbed behind his ears or along his (rather ponderous) belly.

Our vets and their staff, at Shamrock, were wonderful, very supportive and concerned, as were my parents and our friend Lynn.  Monty was near death Monday morning, his red blood count at 10 when 40-45 is normal.  Joan and Saskia said if it dipped below 10, life was not sustainable.  Through a combination of treatments, they managed to raise his count by late Monday afternoon to 15, an increase they said was encouraging.  We took him home Monday evening, scared but a little more optimistic.  We fed him Gatorade, trying to help re-hydrate him and he gulped down syringe after syringe, obviously thirsty for the fluids and nutrients.  He had a few min-seizures or spasms but these last just seconds and then he relaxed.  Eventually, he started to breathe more regularly, even snoring gently a few times – as sign of improvement we thought.  Around 2am, Monty started into a seizure from which he just couldn’t recover.  I told him he could die if he needed to, that he didn’t need to fight anymore, that he didn’t owe us anything; anthropomorphizing, I know, but I loved him and I think he knew that even if he didn’t understand my words.  He started to hold his breath between spasms and then finally took one big breathe, exhaled over my cheek and he was gone.  I never knew the meaning of the expression broken heart until that moment but I do now.

I lay with Monty, soaking his peaceful, smiling face with my tears.  Mum and Dad arrived and gave us some hugs, as they’d done at the vet in the day time.  They didn’t say much and didn’t need to as just their support was nice.  We wrapped Monty in his blanket and I slept in the room with him; Josée slept with Tegan and Jack, our dogs, who were aware something had happened but weren’t quite sure what.  This morning, I got up and in the rain, dug a grave for Monty, a nice spot on the ridge near our ponds.  I think we’ll plant a dwarf apple tree on his grave because he loved apples!  Mum and Dad came back down and helped us move Monty to his grave; it was a very sad moment but I’m glad we buried him on our place.  Maybe I’ll put a bench up beside the apple tree as well for us to sit and reflect on the fun and loving times we had with Monty.

My grief is made worse by the tremendous sense of guilt I have.  Monty stopped eating on Friday and that should have been the number one warning sign but I downplayed it, thinking he maybe had a cold or just was feeling under the weather.  I should have taken him to the vet at that point to be sure and, while Monty probably would, I will never forgive myself.  Everyone says that I shouldn’t feel guilty, that it was “just his time” or a cliché of that ilk but they really don’t know and it doesn’t make it any easier, nor does it ease my feelings.  My guilt may never leave me but I know in time I will be able to remember Monty without the pain.  Until then, I will keep my pain beside me as it serves as a reminder of how much I loved Monty.

Thank you for your messages and condolences.  We have no children but Monty was our baby.  I think he had a short but sweet life with us and we were blessed to have him in our lives.  Rest, my little pig Monty – I’ll always love you.

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Categories: Family & Friends, Pets | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

23 1/2 hours…

I was doing some reading over the weekend and stumbled on an interesting website about the benefits of exercise.  I won’t go into the details as I think we all know that exercise is good for us, prevents disease, makes us more productive and so on.  If you’re not busy, take five minutes to watch the excellent video below.  It puts a lot into perspective.

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Dogs, trucks and pianos – a busy week…

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I won’t bore you with the details but this past week was a busy one.  In addition to our regular activities, I hosted my Christmas open house on Thursday which was a great success.  We took the dogs for a hike up the mountain, we spent half an hour waiting for the Christmas lights truck parade (which although small is growing in numbers each year) and Dad and I attended TEDx at North Island College.

The TEDx was a great event, as always.  We enjoyed listening to tales from Ruth Masters, a presentation of great piano from Sarah Hagen, a discussion on the treatment of patients involved in Phase I clinical trials and a talk on the limitless possibilities of our physical bodies!  I’m looking forward to the next TEDx – it’s always an opportunity to learn about some amazing people.  One of the more interesting TEDx talks presented via video was from TEDx-Toronto and discussed the topic of apathy – you can view it below – enjoy!

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