A Lot On My Mind

My readers may have noticed that I have not published a blog, or done anything else on my Wee Internet Empire, for over three weeks. As indicated, with some humour, by the graphic to the right, I have had a lot on my mind and been going through a few things, both physically and mentally, for the past while. A combination of events, and non-events, have caused me to withdraw and basically isolate myself from most things, witnessed, and lovingly supported, mainly by my dear wife Kim and resident guard cat Otis. I have also appreciated having support from my friends Margaret and Rob.

I guess I’m kind of a funny guy. Not funny Ha Ha, but rather different from the way many would imagine. Of course, like everyone, I am an individual, unique each in our own ways. Years ago, a friend of mine coined a word, which I use to this day, to describe someone, even perhaps me. He called them una-que, kind of a play on unique.

Although I like people and am at times considered a people person, I am, and always have been, pretty much of a loner, used to spending lengthy times alone, be it at home, or at work before I retired. I also tend to be a square peg in a round hole kind of person. Or maybe a round peg in a square hole, never could figure that out for sure. Because of this, on occasion the aspect of “blending with my peers” can be a bit difficult, resulting, at times, in less that full involvement in activities. As I say, we are all a bit different.

Recently, during the last couple of months, for various reasons, it seems that I have been in a real funk, with an extremely low motivation factor. You may have heard some version of this expression from different people — “that my get up and go has got up and went”. In my case, my get up and go never appeared in the first place. Over the years I have learned that if one doesn’t do anything then absolutely nothing gets done.

So… how does one get out of this situation. In my case, I am working on a few different things. For one, I am writing this blog (although it is taking a while). For another, just recently I went down to my garage and fired up my motorcycle, which had not been run for over five months. Something about winter and snow on the ground. It started right away and was talking to me, asking me when we could get out and back on the road. I am wondering the same thing, however the time is getting close.

Another thing of interest is that I have developed a couple of friends on TikTok and SnapChat (go figure) who are encouraging me to get the Wee Internet Empire active again. This support is appreciated and does provide some incentive for me to push forward.

I will at times talk about different aspects affecting me and my intent is to inform, to indicate why I may be doing things in a certain way. I try to totally avoid “crying the blues” as these are my issues, not yours.

A couple of positives lately. Our oldest granddaughter, who lives in Malaysia, is now close to recovery after having tested positive for Covid-19. Also, Tracy, a friend of ours recently completed her cancer radiation therapy and was able to “ring the bell”, signifying the completion of successful treatment.

It is often said that writing, or doing things, is therapeutic. I like to think that, and so am embarking on “doing things”, or to put it succinctly, “get my ass in gear”, with the support of my “world wide” fans (hey, I can wish… right?).

Plans are in the works for a couple of podcasts, some photo updates to Flickr, maybe some video to Vimeo/YouTube, and even a YouTube livestream (Rob has placed a burr under my saddle for this).

I invite you to visit my website, where you can learn more about me and see some of the things I’ve been up to. Also, why not subscribe to my newsletter, to be updated on my activities and see links to others who are doing their own great things.

As always, thanks for reading. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

虎年 – Year of the Tiger

2022 年 2 月 1 日

February 1, 2022

新年快乐! 恭喜发财!

Happy New Year! Wish you prosperity and wealth!

对于我们家来说,农历新年是按照中国传统来庆祝的。 我们是一个混合家庭。 我的妻子是来自马来西亚的华人,我们有两个女儿,他们的孩子住在马来西亚。 在我这边,我们有一个女儿和她的丈夫在加拿大,一个儿子和他的妻子在英国

For our family, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with Chinese traditions. We are a blended family. My wife is Chinese from Malaysia, on her side of the blend we have two daughters, with their children, who live in Malaysia. On my side of the blend we have a daughter with her husband in Canada and a son with his wife in England.

由于农历新年对我们家来说是一件重要的事情,所以我选择用中英文写这篇博文。 我使用谷歌翻译,它做得非常好(虽然不完美)。

Due to the fact that Chinese New Year is an important event to our family, I have chosen to do this blog post in both Chinese and English. I use Google Translate which does a most excellent (although not perfect) job.

在新的一年里,我代表我自己和我的家人,向所有人致以健康、幸福和成功的祝福。 愿我们在和平、和谐与理解中生活在一起,共享这个地球。

For the coming year, on behalf of myself and my family, I sent along wishes for good health, happiness and success, to all. May we live together, sharing this earth, in peace, harmony and understanding.

谢谢!- Thank you!

Internet Empire – The Back Story

Firstly, for clarification, I am using the term “Internet Empire” in a fun way.

As I have indicated in a previous post, I have been doing things on the world wide web for well over 40 years. I have been doing blogs, in various forms, as well as Facebook and Twitter, since 2008, for work, volunteer organizations, and myself.

As we all are quite aware, life has changed, some would say drastically, over the past couple of years. For me, it goes a bit further back.

I retired from my final job at the end of 2018 with the plan that I would spend some of my winter time in Malaysia and my summer time enjoying my motorcycle here in sunny Alberta. That worked to a degree for a couple of years, but, as often happens, life got in the way.

The pain I had been experiencing in my hip got worse and was eventually diagnosed as arthritis, to be remedied at some time by a hip replacement. This impacted a number of things, one being my overall mobility, and another my motorcycle riding. It’s hard to ride when one cannot swing one’s leg over the bike. For a biker, not being able to ride creates an unhappy place to be. Over the course of the next two summers I went through two more motorcycles, eventually coming to the one I have now. It is a trike that I am able to mount properly and now I don’t have to worry about my leg strength for stability.

Then, along came COVID-19 (followed by how many variants we have yet to find out). Now traveling to Malaysia is out, for who knows how long. It has also put a severe crimp on social and family gatherings, motorcycle events, volunteer group activities and activities with my local veterans group. As well, it has created another factor into the potential scheduling of my hip replacement surgery.

As a result, I’m literally sitting like a bump on a log at home, retired, mobility challenged, Covid restricted, and in the middle of a -30C (at times) Alberta winter.

Quite honestly, it was depressing, and I found myself imitating Jerry Seinfeld and doing nothing, although it seemed to work way better for him than for me.

I would like to say, then came an epiphany, however that was not the case. It was more like a gradual thought process. It started with the thought that, as an amateur photographer for many years, I might have some photos or even some videos that folks might like to see. Obviously, they are not doing much good just stored on my computer or in a trunk in the garage. Then came the thought that I like to write, and I do have some good stories to tell from the last 70+ years. After working with different youth groups over the last 15-20 years I have become familiar with various smartphone apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, SnapChat and so on, so that I could stay in touch with them. They were impressed that the Old Guy could actually do that.

After pondering these thoughts for a while, I figured, maybe I can put all these things together (and perhaps some others as well), give myself something to do, and have fun doing it. Maybe even provide a commodity others may find interesting as well.

Hence came into being, the concept of an Internet Empire. It may not be grand in scope, however it is meaningful to me, and in the end, maybe that’s the most important thing.

This Internet Empire is moving along. I now have a website, LeSueur.ca, with links to my various internet platforms. Just recently I have have created a newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, where I can notify folks when I update any of my platforms (like this blog) or share other information. I invite you to subscribe.

As this process has moved forward, I find I am contacting with more people from all over. Now I subscribe to a good number of blogs (as you can see off to the right), quite a few YouTube channels, Flickr sites, and such. In addition to being very interesting, I have been able to learn many new online techniques as well.

So, this is a bit of the back story for my Internet Empire. You are welcome to have a look around, comment on things and share with your friends. All are welcome.

Farewell My Friend

Just over two weeks ago I did a blog post and a podcast about attending a special Remembrance Day Ceremony for Mike, a friend and fellow veteran, suffering from Stage 4 prostate cancer. It was a very special event.

Today I got the sad news that he passed away this morning.

Mike was a loving husband and father, a caring friend, a distinguished soldier, a proud veteran and a patriotic Canadian.

He will be greatly missed by all. Condolences and love to his family.

Bravo Zulu Mike, for a life well lived.

A Very Special Remembrance Day

For myself and a couple hundred others, Remembrance Day was different this year.

Not because of the weather, although it was not the usual weather for Remembrance Day in Edmonton. It was sunny, blue skies, and 5C. The weather was excellent.

This year, the location for all of us was different from the usual. We were not at a cenotaph, or a Legion hall, or a high school gym. We were gathered at Mike’s driveway.

Now, why on earth would we gather at Mike’s driveway, and for that matter, who is Mike.

Well, Mike is a friend and fellow veteran. He had 35 years of service, been wounded in Afghanistan, and has not missed a Remembrance Day ceremony for as long as we can figure.

So, why his driveway of all places.

You see, Mike is suffering from stage 4 prostate cancer, and his daughters knew that, because of his dedication to Remembrance Day, he would ignore his pain and travel to attend the local ceremonies. To prevent that, they came up with a plan.

They called out to Mike’s friends, colleagues and fellow veterans, inviting them to take part in a Remembrance Day ceremony of sorts in front of Mike’s house. And thusly came into being, “A Very Special Remembrance Day”.

In response to the efforts, persistence and dedication of Mike’s daughters, many others became involved in various ways and a most wonderful event was the result.

A local cafe provided coffee, cocoa, and special Remembrance Day cookies. There was a piper, another provided a mike and speaker system. One of Mike’s fellow veterans used the PA system on his truck to provide the appropriate Remembrance Day music. There was a chap who called Mike’s daughter and asked if they had a flag. She indicated no, and he indicated, well now you do. Then he proceeded to come by and erect a temporary flag pole in front of the house. During the ceremony the Canadian flag was lowered to half-mast as per protocols thanks to this gentleman.

Mike is a biker, so what should appear, but about half a dozen motorcycles which arrived and parked on the side of his driveway.

At the beginning of this you will recall I had mentioned a couple hundred others. Both directions up and down the street were packed with people.

When the ceremonies began, all serving members and veterans in attendance formed up and came to attention under the direction of Margaret, our honourary sergeant-major. Having had much experience as a military wife during her ninety-five years, she certainly had all of us in order.

After the ceremony there were a few speeches, including a lovely one from Mike’s daughter. There were a few presentations, including one from Mike’s former colleagues at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.

Mike shared some very emotional words as we came to the end of the event, which touched all of us.

Just at the end, after concluding their own Remembrance Day ceremony, members from the local Royal Canadian Legion arrived, including a colour party, and performed one final presentation to Mike.

As I had indicted in my podcast earlier, it was a different, and most excellent, Remembrance Day ceremony. One of the best that I have attended.

Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the event.

It was indeed – A Very Special Remembrance Day

Yes, We Have No Bananas

I have a friend. His name is Jim. Usually though, I refer to him as Gunky. Strangely enough, usually he refers to me as Gunky. That’s the way we roll. The title of this post is one of our favourite expressions.

Jim and I first met September 1970 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, when we began recruit training for the Canadian military.

We have both gone through a great many stages in our lives, some with each other, however most apart. Yet, in some inexplicable fashion, we were always together, linked by some unfathomable force.

Such has been our friendship over time.

What is friendship? I came across this description from Friendship – Simple English Wikipedia. “Friendship means familiar and liking of each other’s mind. People who are friends talk to each other and spend time together. … A friend is one who admires a person’s skill and helps or encourages them to make the right choices and do not get into any trouble at all.

If one fires up their favourite search engine and enters “friend” or “friendship” there comes a plethora of information, some of which may actually be germane to one’s personal situation.

Generally, I believe that each friendship is unique, and as such, one can have many friendships (be they casual or profound), all different in some way (minuscule or significant).

Interestingly enough, Jim and I are what could be considered a “loose fit” for the description I provided above. Particularly the ‘talking to/spending time with’ and ‘not getting into trouble’ parts. You see — we don’t really do these parts as described.

‘Not getting into trouble’ is a topic for another time. Suffice to say, there could potentially be more than enough subject matter available.

The ‘talking to/spending time with’ is my focus for today. I believe this area shows the depth of our friendship.

First, the ‘spending time with’ part. Oh yeah, we have had times where we lived together (basic training, trades training 1970-72) or lived close by (1984-87 while I was stationed in Nova Scotia). For the most part however, we have lived far apart, and on more than one occasion, have had absolutely no idea where the other was.

As far as the ‘talking to’ part, this might be considered by others to be a bit of a “dog’s breakfast”, particularly during the periods we were not near each other. That would account for forty-four of the last fifty years. Actually for the last ten or so years we have been connected via social media (primarily Facebook), so now there are only thirty-four years to account for.

During those years we would pop in and out of each other’s lives on a sporadic basis, often with gaps of several years. One thing however was consistent. When we would get together, it would be as if no time had passed, as if we had just spoken the day before. On occasion even our conversation subject would continue from our last encounter. For example, years ago, I was living in Ottawa, there was a knock on the door, and there was Gunky, unannounced, unexpected, but definitely not unwelcome. In he came, we sat down, shared a beverage (or two), and continued as if it were a normal daily visit. Four years ago, while Kim and I were in Nova Scotia, we stopped in to visit he and Ruby. It was just as if we were regulars at their place.

I have always marveled at this aspect of our relationship and consider it an indication of how deep our friendship is.

There are, of course, many other aspects of our friendship, things we have done together, experiences we have shared, and so on. This particular aspect is one I cherish and am extremely thankful for.

Take that Gunky!