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Journal Entries for January 2004
January 11, 2004 - 2:15 pm
Well, here we have another year before us; time is flying isn't it? The year is off to a good start anyways. I finally got all the work done on the Red Dragon that needed to be done... New timing chain, changed all the intake manifold gaskets, rebuilt the carburator, fixed an exhaust leak behind the alternator, etc. I think there is still a bit of a problem with the timing, but that's easily remedied. Yesterday my dad and I pulled off my starter, and anyone who's ever driven with me in my van must have known about the issues with that starter... How you had to put your seatbelt on before it would start and all that... Well, after opening it up and looking at the problem, I have NO IDEA how it EVER started at all! When we found out what was wrong, both my dad and I could not believe it had ever started the van. But we fixed it up with parts from another starter and put it back on, so now the Dragon fires up first time, every time. Really, it's always started well. Hot or cold, summer or winter, the only thing that ever caused it to have problems was really damp weather. If that motor was covered with condensation, there was no point in even turning it over; I knew it was not going to go. But other than that, even the coldest winter mornings I'd go out there, having not even plugged it in the night before and it would fire right up. I love my van. It was almost a pleasant break though, that week it was out of comission. I had to take the train in the morning to work, and then in the evenings I'd find somewhere to go and (usually someone to get me there). One night I just felt like going for a walk, and despite the -20 degree temperature, I walked home from work. It only took me an hour and fifteen minutes, and I had my heated gloves which Pam and Barry gave me for Christmas so I really wasn't even that cold. My company jacket is wonderfully warm and I had on a couple of sweaters as well so I was allright. But people couldn't believe it when I told them I'd walked all the way home. My sanity was questioned a number of times... It was interesting though, because I realized that night that I haven't gone for a walk outside, like -- a real walk -- in a LONG time! Several years ago I used to walk everywhere. I'd walk to Becky's a lot (one night even walking home in my bare feet!) I walked to Grace once, would often skip the bus ride and walk from home to the train station or vice versa. When I was a paper boy I used to walk the neighbourhood EVERY morning! I remember some mornings THAT was REALLY cold - Minus 40 and even lower! That was a cold winter. But this year I really can't complain, we've had it pretty mild so far. Now granted, we usually don't get the blunt of Winter until February anyways and we're hardly into January... So I am holding my breath for that. But still, I went out last night with Bo and Luke to see "Big Fish", and we didn't even wear jackets! Interesting movie by the way, a story about a story-teller. It is a pretty serious film but it's interspersed with great little shots of humor. I would watch it again but probably not in the theatre. In other news, my new web site is nearing completion, it's been performing test credit card transactions with the development server at Moneris so I am very pleased at how that is working out. Doing the online transactions was one of my bigger concerns with the site so it's a big relief to have that sorted out. There is already one truck driving around and the next one is scheduled to be painted in a week or so... I've heard from a number of people already who have "Spotted" the truck... If you see it, you'll understand. So needless to say I am busy, busy, busy trying to get that all up and running. Between that and computer service calls, I barely have time to sleep these days. But it is, as they say, all good and I'd rather be busy than bored. And now, being true to form I have to go get ready for Life Night. Some day I'll put the New Year pictures up on the site, and all the family Christmas photos too. I'm going to have to look through what I took this year, I should have a decent number from the time spent at Ed & Barb's place this Christmas as well. Now if only I weren't broke! But thanks to all of you who have helped out in that department. It really means a lot to have the support of you guys.

Have a great day!

January 8, 2004
With the new year well under way, it seems to be a time to make changes in one's life (or at least promise yourself to make changes...) and I found this little story to be especially timely as I looked at my own life and plans for this year.

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King's 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, "I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone." Thus, he asked the 4th wife, "I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No way!", replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, "I have loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No!", replied the 3rd wife. "Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to remarry!"

His heart sank and turned cold. He then asked the 2nd wife, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!", replied the 2nd wife. "At the very most, I can only send you to your grave."

Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go." The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!"

In truth, we all have 4 wives in our lives:

Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go. So cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us who will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout Eternity.

January 18, 2004 3:24 AM
Becky's Birthday


Tonight was Becky's 19th birthday party and her friends rented out Rundle Pub for all her friends to come celebrate not only her birthday, but also her going away. On the 21st Becky leaves for Toronto where she is going on a 9-Month cross-Canada 'discovery' ... thing. There's a name for it but I never could remember. I think it's a Native term, and basically she goes and lives with a handfull of other Canadians from across the country in various parts of Canada for periods of time, one place is entirely French-speaking. All her expenses are paid for (lodging, food, transportation, etc.) and she can participate in community service type events to earn (minimal) extra spending money. It's basically a chance to see some diversity in the country that the majority of Canadians never get to see, and when she comes back home after her 9 month adventure, the government gives her a thousand bucks! Not a bad deal, eh? So tonight we had close to 50 people at Rundle Pub, all of whom are friends or acquaintances of Becky. It went pretty good for the most part but of course there had to be some trouble- makers... At the end of the night there were a few guys who had been just itching to fight all night that started a brawl in the parking lot. There were 9 or 10 guys involved in the scrap and from what I saw, one guy got cut in the head pretty good. There was a lot of blood. However the rowdy mob dispersed when they learned that the cops had been called and the rest of the guests slowly dispersed after that.

I gotta say that I'm really going to miss the little Spud when she goes on her trip. Who knows? I might even go and visit her! Anyway, it's almost four in the morning and I've got to go to Robyn Lee's tomorrow to take a look at their computer. No rest for the weary it seems. Goodnight Y'all.

January 21, 2004
I had marked on my calendar Jan 21 as the day Becky Leaves for her trip and was all set to go see her off at the airport today. So here, imagine my shock and surprise when she phones me last night to tell me she's actually leaving (last night!) I was still at work at the time but left here very shortly after she called and went to meet her at her mom's house. (In Pineridge) She had all of her stuff packed and ready to go, but her flight didn't board until quarter after midnight. (Why they schedule these things at such an hour is beyond me...) Eventually at about 10:15 we got the car packed with her stuff and drove to the airport. There were were met by her dad and Jennifer (his girlfriend) who also came to see her off. All in all there were 6 of us who came to the airport with her - Her mom and dad, Jennifer, her two best friends Jolene and Selena and myself. The poor dear has an awful sore throat, she couldn't sleep (the night before her trip), then she was up all night with her flight last night and they figured she'd arrive at her destination around 6 or 7 this morning. I felt very proud of her watching her walk through the doors at Customs all by herself. But it was hard to hold back the tears as we were saying goodbye. I knew I was going to miss her I just hadn't expected it to be so much. It was kind of strange watching her walk away, knowing that the next time I saw her she would probably be an entirely different person. I'm going to find out from her mom the exact day she gets back and put a countdown on my web site to show how many days are left till she returns.

January 24, 2004 - 3:01 am
Beach Night 2004 was the best beach night I've ever been to. It was great this year not only because Brentwood Baptist's (B-True) youth groups joined our own but also because I got to partake in both nights of beach volleyball & hot tubbing. Now I do have to appologize, usually I take a lot of pictures at things like this, but this year I was having so much fun playing that I really didn't get a whole lot of shots. What few pictures I did get are in the photo album though, and if anyone else took pictures (I did see a few other cameras there...) and would like to share them, I would be more than happy to put them up.

Beach Night 2004

My compliments go to Kristin who went all out on her attire for the night -- becoming in fact the very image of summer despite the fog and snow outside. The hot tub heater actually worked this time, (I guess the regulator was faulty at the last event... Here Matt and I were out there in the minus thirty weather with a hair dryer trying to thaw out the regulator... In retrospect we were probably pretty lucky we didn't blow ourselves to smitherines, but it just proves once again how God is watching out for me.) At a lovely 106 degrees it was very pleasant to sit out in as the flakes of snow gently wafted down and landed briefly upon whatever portions of one's body were not submerged before themselves becoming droplets of water...

Anyways, it is now quarter after three and I should probably get to bed. I promised Jessica I'd go job hunting with her tomorrow morning and there was something else I was going to in the evening although for the life of me -- I cannot remember what. Thanks to everyone who came out to Beach Night, it was a huge success this year (as it is every year though it just keeps getting better) I don't have the final numbers but I think it would be safe to say that we had in total over 200 students take part and that is awesome! Goodnight!

January 27, 2004

Well it is COLD outside! I left my keys in my van this morning and when I looked at the thermometer, there was NOTHING on the shaft at all! All the red stuff was in the ball at the bottom, it was THAT cold! Of course, by the time I got my camera out and took the picture, the van had already warmed up a little bit and you can start to see the line there now, but man! What a cold morning!

An interesting realization dawned on me today as I was reading a letter from Becky who is of course, now in Newfoundland for a couple of months. You know that big water main break we had here, over around McKnight & Barlow trail? That made their news in Newfoundland! It's kind of strange how our local news is big enough to be broadcast across Canada. We hear this and that our of Toronto, Montreal, and some other parts of that end of the country, but I guess you don't realize just how far your own news travels until you hear about it from someone abroad like that. Becka's having a great time though, she wishes everyone could go on something like this. One of the girls in her group has already gone home, just got too homesick -- but not Becka! I'm so proud of her. She starts her job at a French Emmersion school tomorrow that teaches children K-6. She's really looking forward to learning French and even showed me a couple of phrases she's learned already. (Most of the people in her group can speak French fluently.) I am really glad that things are working out for her. She is so brave.

Speaking of old friends, I talked to Carmen tonight and we caught up on each others' lives. She's doing quite well also, which further added to the pleasantness of my evening. Luke and I went to Boston Pizza for Pasta Tuesday and really I have nothing to complain about at all right now, other than perhaps feeling rather fatigued. I've discovered a new passion at Boston Pizza: (Ready? Those who know my tastes should probably be sitting down...) Thai Chicken Salad. Mmmm MMM! Is it ever good. And it's not all that much off my usual taste palette... Chicken -- Always good, noodles -- gotta love those noodles... and something like a Caesar Salad, which has always been the salad of choice for me anyways. So really, I guess it's not all *THAT* strange.

Last night I came home from work and was really tired, I think this cold weather has been taking its' toll on me. So I got my PJ's on and grabbed my thick quilt and went upstairs to the living room, made a bed over the heater, curled up and went to sleep. About three hours later I was awakened by Luke who came to investigate this strange sound (I can only assume was me snoring...) so I got up, finished my laundry and went to bed, but MAN was that ever a cozy little nap. I forgot how much fun it was to sleep on a heater it's been so long. If you've never tried it, (hard to believe that there might actually be a few people who haven't...) -- You should. At least once. Anyhow, other things to do, people to see, letters to write... As always and until next time... John
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