The stories in this section are auto-biographical and as they say “truth is stranger than fiction”. My life has had numerous, some might say an inordinate number of dramatic events occur which have made for some very interesting and amusing stories. They begged to be written down, so this is what I have done over the years. Enjoy!
A Storm of Ravens
Since my earliest childhood I have had dreams of trying to escape the home I grew up in. These dreams began with me desperately trying to escape through my bedroom window. If, over time, I was able to get through the window, my next hurdle would be to escape the backyard. Eventually I was able to get over the fence, then over many more months and years I would make it all the way down the alley and my first choice would be to go west up 66th Ave.
Under Western Skies Conference 2016
I had known about this conference for a number of months before I made the decision to attend. A schedule of events was emailed to me to create a schedule which I promptly opened up only to discover that it had been personalized for Barbara Amos. An artist who was not only going to be attending but presenting as well, whom I had met during my time in politics. Her art project the Red Line focused on water and the environment and had been drawn in and around the Crowsnest Pass area and along the Cowboy Trail in southern Alberta. I admired her work and we had hooked up a couple of times with an outstanding lunch get together planned for the following month. She was the only person I knew attending this conference so what a strange coincidence that of all people I would receive an email intended for her.
Diamonds are Forever
Zaia bought me a pair of diamond earrings many years ago. One time while I was visiting a friend on her acreage, playing with her dogs, one of my earrings was lost. So Zaia had to get me a replacement from the same jeweler as before. This time it was determined that I would have the backing mechanism such that it could not be simply pulled out but rather a tiny button had to be pressed to release it.
This was all well and fine but the button was so tiny that once I managed to get the earrings on, it was all I could do to get them off. So they sat in my jewelry box for a couple of years, much to my dismay.
It was a slow day at the office when Zaia received an email from some guy who wanted to buy all sorts of software, about $20K worth. It was immediately apparent that something was amiss because the mixing and matching of the software he did would not happen and the name on the email didn’t match the email address. But what the hell, Zaia was bored and needed to play so he fires off a quote.
Later that day another email arrives agreeing to purchase the software and as we take credit card payments he would provide us with the information but first he had a little problem with the Missus. It seems that they had an argument and the only way he felt he could make it up to her was to get her and her son a cell phone.
His name is Icelandic for the God of Mischief and he lives up to this name. We first met Loki when we travelled to the Icelandic farm in BC to check out a few horses that they felt would be right for us beginner riders.
The farm separates the mares from the geldings into two large pastures, the first group of horses we would go see were the geldings. As we entered the pasture one could see the group of horses way in the distance so we walked towards them. One horse in the group came towards us and settled himself right next to Zaia and he stayed with us the whole time. This horse was Loki.
We usually don’t stand on ceremony about gift giving, when we see something, we get it. I guess that Zaia figured since I had been working so hard for the boys he was going to do something special for my birthday. The present he was going to get me was a beautiful pearl necklace with matching earrings; unfortunately they wouldn’t be ready for my birthday so Zaia felt compelled to surprise me with an additional gift on the special day.
Gingerbread and Mice
I had begun an annual Christmas ritual of making a gingerbread project with Charlotte, Lauren and Ellen. It began with a typical gingerbread house that was titled the “CLE B&B” in honor of their respective names. I would have the girls come over and decorate the pieces for the project and then I would assemble them into the finished theme which I would give them for Christmas.
Raining Cats and Dogs
The first summer we were in our new house there was an especially violent rain storm. After which I noticed that Phantom was looking into the small garden by the greenhouse and barking. So I went to investigate and found a small white Pomeranian whom I named Sam I Am.
No More Dogs!
I never set out to have a menagerie of animals, we had one dog growing up and it ended badly; what my parents didn’t spend on neutering him they spent on euthanizing him. My parents made a point of dissuading me any time I mentioned the idea of having a dog of my own. But here we were a house full of dogs, a cat and horses.
When you are raised by parents who experienced World War II in Germany you get told a lot of stories about what went down during that period. One of those stories was how the German officials came and vetted your family to see if they had any Jewish blood in them. My Father had a close call when it was found out that his Great Grandfather’s first name was David, which being a Jewish name had raised a flag. It turns out not to be the case so his family was spared a trip to the gas chambers. Although given that my Father later develops a form of leukemia primarily found in eastern European Jews, they might have been wrong about that.