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.

Is It Really Worth It?

What to write, what to do, how to proceed, these are the questions I’m dealing with at this time. The blog post title says it all.

I had this grand vision to share my thoughts, words, photos, videos and experiences, and, to have fun doing it, by creating what I called my “Wee Internet Empire”.

I started out fine, was excited, and began putting things together. My blog, this blog, had been in place sporadically for a good many years, with this being the 68th blog post. I have posted about half a dozen stories on this blog as well.

My YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr were in place for a number of years, however were not connected to each other nor was there any inclination of a theme.

My Facebook originated about fifteen years ago, as did my Twitter. I don’t use my Twitter all that much these days, one reason being the platform content has changed so much. As for Facebook, the constantly changing Facebook Algorithm really causes a kerfuffle there. Imagine Frank Sinatra trying to “start spreading the news” on Facebook today.

I have been on LinkedIn for a very long time, using it to maintain contact with a great number of people, even though I am now retired.

In August, after talking with our son, and my friend Rob, I figured I would enter the podcast arena and have twelve podcasts published up to this point. Rob and my sister have provided some suggestions for the podcast moving forward.

I had been on, and off, Snapchat a number of times and have started a new account recently, however this time I am trying to use it as part of my entire program.

It seems that half the world is on Tik Tok. I joined Tik Tok primarily so that I could support our son who uses it to promote his business. One of our daughters is also on Tik Tok, however just for the cat videos. I have had a bit of fun posting so am still going to continue with it.

I got a Discord account so that I would have another avenue to communicate with a youth group I’m an advisor for. Then I thought, I could maybe do something here as well, so I created my own Discord server, which now has other members.

My latest addition was a newsletter. I came across a newsletter on Substack from a friend and saw that there was a good possibility I could use my own newsletter to tie everything together for my “Wee Internet Empire”.

So now we get to the crux of the issue. Is it really worth it?

I don’t have any expectations of going viral, becoming world famous, having thousands of subscribers. That, of course, is totally unrealistic.

Currently I am retired, staying at home for the most part as I am a bit mobility challenged awaiting hip replacement surgery and being very careful going out anywhere due to the potential risk of Covid.

As a result my primary daily focus is this “Wee Internet Empire” thing, and feeding Otis the cat.

That all being said, there are times, more often recently, when I find myself in a vacuum. Some of you may have heard some version of the expression “my get up and go has got up and went”, although there are times I feel my get up and go decided not to visit me in the first place.

I have long been able to successfully support and motivate others when they had times of disappointment, frustration, or were feeling down, however am very unsuccessful at doing the same for myself. As many of us are aware, there is nobody who can beat us up more effectively than ourselves.

While I am typing this all out, I am talking to you, my readers. At the same time, I am also talking to myself, something that is medically proven to be a good thing (Talking To Myself).

Even so, something I feel is lacking a bit, is feedback from others. It is for this reason that I always ask people to take a moment and visit one or more of the platforms that I use. Visit my website, read my blog, listen to the podcast, look at some photos, watch a video, read the newsletter, whatever. And then, perhaps take a moment, like it , maybe make a comment, share it with a friend, and best of all, recommend it to a friend.

I have been thinking through, working on, Googling thoughts, for this blog, for a couple of hours now. Then reviewing, checking for typos, or other errors. As I do so, I am feeling a little better, being active always has that effect, so my target is to be as active with this as possible. I really hope my get up and go will visit more often.

Once again, thank you for reading this blog post. I invite you to check out my “Wee Internet Empire” by visiting my website, LeSueur.ca. Any comments, recommendations or criticisms that you may have are always welcome.

Mayhaps An Olympic Like Endeavour

Most likely because the Winter Olympics are starting in Beijing next week, the movie “Eddie The Eagle” was on television today. I didn’t get to see the entire movie, however I did catch the end. Also, I had the experience of attending some aspects of the 1988 Calgary Olympics, but unfortunately not the ski jumping.

What caught my eye at the end of the movie was a quote from Pierre de Coubertin, considered to be the father of the modern Olympic games, as given in the paragraph below.

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. To spread these principles is to build up a strong and more valiant and, above all, more scrupulous and more generous humanity.”

― Pierre de Coubertin

His quote of course applies to the Olympic Games, however I feel it can be applied to most any endeavor that a person undertakes. This got me thinking about this “Wee Internet Empire” that I aspire to, and have undertaken. Will it be massive, viral, hugely successful, thousands of subscribers, and widely recognized? Highly unlikely one would suppose. But I am working at it, I am learning and applying myself, and I am doing it to the best of my ability. As such, I would like to think that de Coubertin’s quote can, in some way, apply to this project.

My efforts at my “Wee Internet Empire” may not be ‘higher, faster, stronger’ than others have done, however it is a challenge that I have not before undertaken and I am venturing into areas I have heretofore not experienced.

With these thoughts in mind, I will press on, appreciative of the support extended to me by some of the folks who indicate their interest in what I’m producing, and who have offered their thoughts to help me make it better.

I do know that my wife Kim has been very supportive and understanding as I work on this endeavour, putting up with me puttering along, while talking to my computer (and at times, the cat), and not always being as patient as perhaps I could be while learning new aspects of various application software. This Pickles comic strip, done by Brian Crane could, but hopefully doesn’t, apply in our case.

Regardless, thank you, once again for reading this blog post.

You are more than welcome to share your thoughts in the comments.

If you would like to join me on my journey, please visit my website “LeSueur.ca” or you can subscribe to my newsletter, “Old Guy, New Ideas”, if you have not already.

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.

To The Unvaccinated

A friend of mine posted this on his social media today. After reading it, I asked him if I could use it for a blog post, and he gave me his permission. Thank you to Matthew Rogers.


I’m fully vaccinated and done with my booster shot.

No, I don’t know “what’s in it”. Neither this vaccine nor the ones I had as a child. Nor do I know what’s in the 11 secret herbs and spices at KFC. I also don’t know exactly what’s in Ibuprofen or any other painkiller– they just treat my headaches & my pains. I don’t know what’s in tattoo ink, botox and fillers, or every ingredient in my soap, shampoo or deodorants. I don’t know the long term effect of mobile phone use, or whether or not that restaurant I just ate at REALLY used clean foods and washed their hands.

There’s a lot of things I don’t know.

I do know one thing: life is short. Very short. And I, personally, still want to do things. I want to travel and hug people without fear, and find a little feeling of life “before”. Throughout my life I’ve been vaccinated against many diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, rabies. We trusted the science, and never had to suffer through or transmit any of those said diseases.

I’m vaccinated.

Not because I’m a sheep or to please the government. Not to make other people do it.

But I don’t want to:

  • die from Covid-19
  • clutter a hospital bed if I get sick
  • not be able to hug my loved ones
  • not be able to travel & enjoy events
  • live my life in fear

Can’t say it any clearer. I’m vaccinated for me and I wear a mask for you!!!

Do the same and knock some sense into people.


As is regularly the case, your comments are always welcome.

Melaka Home – High Waters

As I spoke about in my podcast earlier this evening (link here), our second home is in Melaka, Malaysia. I am retired and my wife is close to retirement, but still, since 2015 we have been spending part of each winter there, except for the last two years (thanks to Covid). With children and grandchildren in Malaysia, it is a natural place for us to go, not to mention all our friends, and oh yes, the food. This photo is a selfie of me standing on our balcony in 2020. Behind you can see the small farm I talked about and in the distance are the buildings of downtown Melaka.

Recently, Melaka, along with much of Malaysia, has been receiving a great deal of rain, very much more than they have seen for many years, particularly when one considers that January is typically one of the driest months of the year, whereas November can be one of the wettest.

What I have done here is to provide you with a number of photos taken around Melaka and posted on the Melaka Facebook Page, so that you can see the impact that the flooding has had.

While many in Canada or the US would typically experience vicious storm conditions associated with flooding, that is not always the case here. The flooding comes from a large amount of rain, causing the rivers to overflow their banks. As well, Melaka is a coastal community, hence ocean tides can have an impact also. The lunar new year is approaching, and generally this is the time of the year’s highest tides.

Regardless of whether the water comes from a storm surge or constantly rising levels, it manages to do a considerable amount of damage and create many issues. The photos in the gallery below will certainly give you an idea of that.

I know a number of the areas shown very well, and am hopeful that our family and friends will not be greatly affected.

With Covid still playing it’s games, we have no idea when we will be able to return to our second home, however we have been assured by our daughter that all is well there up to this point.

Thanks for reading this blog post. I do appreciate any thoughts or comments you may have, so please do share them. I also invite you to visit my web page and check out some to the other sites that I share.

My Internet Empire – Yeah Right!

I have been active online in some fashion for many years, beginning in the mid ’80s with an IBM PC (Intel 8088 @ 4.77mhz, 16KB memory, 5MB hard drive) and a 1200 baud modem. Pretty impressive at the time but Stone Age when compared to today.

Now, being a Old Fart, it seems I have experienced numerous different events, and taken a large number of photos as well as quite a few videos.

The result is many stories, in my head, and photos/videos, on my computer, that I could share with anyone who may be interested. If they remain in my head, or on the computer, they are not doing much for anyone.

So… it occurred to me to create an Internet Empire, a vehicle to share with all who may see, read or listen as I post on a number of different platforms. Now, to be clear, I have no expectations of having a large following, however I would be quite pleased if I have folks who enjoy what I produce and share.

Now I have a blog, a podcast, accounts with Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo, in addition to my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Just recently I have added Tik Tok and SnapChat, just for fun. They are all tied together by my website and LinkTree.

Some of these things have been in place for many years, Facebook and Twitter since 2007, blog since 2009, while others have been more recent. As many of you may have found with your own internet activity, some things tend to be a bit sporadic, often with various gaps in activity, some quite large.

As I am trying to build my Internet Empire, reducing these gaps is something that I feel I need to accomplish. Which leads me to my latest podcast.

Last evening, for the first time in well over a month, I put together a podcast, the title of which was “Nothing”. I talk about doing nothing, not by deliberate choice, but rather by lack of action. To listen, just click the graphic to the right.

With all of this in mind, my plan of action is to involve, if possible, you, my audience, in the process by sharing my empire building progress. My thought is, that by doing this, I will also press myself to help avoid these doing nothing times.

To this end, I welcome any feedback you would care to pass along. The only way that I can know if you like something, or you don’t, is if you tell me. I may be an Old Fart, but I have still been able to learn new tricks.

Thank you. May you all have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas, followed by a hopefully much better 2022.

When Seniors Age

This post does not originate with me, but rather has traveled across different parts of the globe.

Written by a gentleman in Georgia, USA, for a local paper, I came across it contained in a Vietnamese blog (maybienvh.wordpress.com).

Being well over 65 I think this is a great list, which we should pay attention to as we grow older. It is a good read. Enjoy!

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“AN EXCELLENT LIST FOR THE AGED”

By Steve Korker, The Miller County Liberal, Moultrie Ga. (May 27, 2017)

01 – It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital. Warning: This is also a bad time for investments, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.

02 – Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.

03 – Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort . Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.

04 – Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other. The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then, enjoy it now together.

05 – Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.

06 – Regardless of age, always keep love alive. Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor and remember: A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.

07 – Be proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.

08 – Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you – keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.

09 – Always stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.

10 – Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.

11 – Never use the phrase ‘In my time.’ Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.

12 – Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.

13 – Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.

14 – Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.

15 – Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven’t seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don’t get upset when you’re not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.

16 – Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.

17 – Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

18 – If you’ve been offended by someone – forgive them. If you’ve offended someone – apologize. Don’t drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said: Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don’t take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

19 – If you have a strong belief, savor it. But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.

20 – Laugh a lot. Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So, what’s not to laugh about? Find the humor in your situation.

21 – Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking. They’ll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Let them talk and don’t worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!

And, remember: Life is too short to drink bad wine! Or, in my case, a bad “Arnold Palmer,” (a drink that is half sweet tea, half lemonade.)

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Hope you enjoyed this list. Catch you in the next blog post.

2019 – Almost Done

Well, here we are, approaching the beginning of 2020 and as often happens, folks say it is time for reflection and review of the soon to end year.

2019 has been an interesting year for me. It’s the first year I have been officially retired and unemployed. During the year I marked my 70th birthday, spent two months in Malaysia, met the Governor General of Canada, logged about 7000km on motorcycles, participated in Kiwanis activities in two countries, didn’t win the lottery, and lost several good friends.

On the family side of things, Kim and I celebrated twenty years of marriage, son Colin became engaged to Amy, daughter Anita and her husband Aaron had their 10th anniversary, daughter Jaclyn and son Colin both had their 40th birthdays, oldest grandchild Valen became eighteen, Kim’s brother Philip passed away in November and her brother Jimmy overcame a serious health issue about the same time.

Overall though, it was my year, the year that I experienced, having both highs and lows.

Losing friends is a difficult part of our existance, a part which is never easy. This year I lost five good friends, one being family, and the latest happened while I was developing this post. Each person was very special in their own way, and each is an important part of my year.

Just after mid January I headed off to Malaysia for two months. My home base is Melaka and I traveled several times to Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur. The intercity bus service was excellent and travel was quite comfortable. I also got some wind therapy in Melaka by putting in almost 1000 km on a rented scooter. Visiting with family and friends, along with a number of Kiwanis functions, kept me quite busy most of the time. Oh, and as always, I thoroughly enjoyed the food. Missing the coldest February and March to hit Edmonton in years was a bonus.

Shortly after my return to Canada, son Colin and his lady, Amy, came to visit from “Jolly Old”. Not only did he celebrate his birthday during the visit, he proposed to Amy while spending time in Kananaskis Country (she said yes). A short time later it was back to England for them. Quite a successful visit for sure.

Will You – Yes I Will

Less than two weeks later, Kim and I were off to Ottawa for a very special occasion. I was to be presented with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by Her Excellency Governor General Julie Payette. It was a great honour as well as an amazing event.

After our return to Edmonton, lo and behold, it was summer. Our local Veterans UN/NATO Canada crews put on a successful fundraising event at the Kipnes Centre for Veterans. Shortly after Kim and I celebrated our 20th anniversary, and then came the Kiwanis Club of South Edmonton Annual Summer Picnic. I helped provide communications for the annual Edmonton Heritage Festival, and a week later we were attending the Kiwanis Western Canada District Convention. During all this, I managed to get in about 6000 km on my motorcycle, albeit mostly local around Edmonton.

Late September saw a number of our Veterans Crew head down to Red Deer to honour one of our members, Terry Turner, who had passed away in the spring. We sponsored a flag and plaque in his memory for the annual Flags of Remembrance ceremony. The flags and plaques were on display for two months (until Remembrance Day). When they were taken down, there was another ceremony where they were presented back to the sponsors or family. Kim and I took Terry’s wife Wendy to Red Deer and she received his flag and plaque.

Wrapping up the last quarter of the year were a number of Kiwanis activities along with our Veterans Group Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Well, there you go, a bit of an overview of my year. A sampling, as it were. There were, of course, many more happenings and events, however those included here are key memory items for me.

In a few days, a new year of happenings, events, and memories will commence. Bring it on 2020, lets see what you’ve got.

Losing Everything

Have you ever thought “what if I lose everything”?

In the past I thought of it briefly perhaps and then moved on to something else. Lately though I have considered it much more.

In the past couple of years, two people I work with lost much of their possessions in house fires, and more recently a good friend lost absolutely everything to “The Beast”, the fire in, around, and through, Fort McMurray.

We hear often stated something like “we are all fine, everything else can be replaced”, and that is true… well mostly. The blessing that “we are all fine”, or some version of, is the most wonderful thing of course, and is what we always hope for. It is the “everything else can be replaced” which becomes, at times and in many ways, the sticky wicket.

The “everything else” is of quite a diverse variety. I approach it as three basic categories.

There is the “physical” stuff: clothing, furniture, kitchenware, tools, electronics, recreational equipment, personal effects and so on. Of course the recommendation is that we have all of these things documented so as to assist with replacement negotiations with the insurance folks. Here I must say that the need for having insurance goes without saying in my opinion.

Next comes the “emotional” stuff. This consists of items which may, or may not, have a tangible value, however they do have high emotional value, usually classified as “memories”. In this area I feel that each of us must deal with these “memories” in our own fashion, as there is no easy, or defined, approach to take in this situation.

ft-mcmurray-friendFinally comes the “digital”the-fire stuff. This is what we have on our computers, tablets, smartphones and so on. The occasion which brings this sharply to mind for me was the experiences my Fort McMurray friend. After the fire, all that was left of their house was an essentially an empty basement. Even most of the metal pipes and such were melted and gone. I thank my friend for allowing me to use these photos of their house after the fire to demonstrate my thinking.
It was the third aspect, the “digital” stuff that really got me going. You see, I have everything on my computer, and I mean everything. Finances, work related information, contact lists, organization minutes, and on and on. My life activities are pretty much all there. Then I have “physical” stuff, details of things around the house, when purchased, value, even some photos. Valuable for dealing with insurance folks. And, I also have “emotional” stuff, scans of family documents, several hundred thousand photos going back many years, videos and much more.

So… what happens to all of this “digital” stuff? Pretty much since computers appeared on the scene the term “backup” appeared. It is basically a mantra repeated for years. Backup on floppy disks, backup on hard drives, backup on memory sticks, and now, backup in the cloud. Well, in a situation such as a devastating fire the recommendation has always been, have your backup offsite, put those floppy disks, hard drives or memory sticks in a safety deposit box, a friend’s house, somewhere offsite. I once knew a computer professional who kept backups in his car trunk, so they were always with him.

Now, we have the “cloud”. It is a backup, it is offsite. Should your computer equipment be destroyed, you can still access whatever you have placed in the cloud. Some refuse to consider this choice, feeling that it is insecure and that their identity will be stolen, while others totally embrace the concept. Most of us are somewhere in between.

In my case, I make extensive use of the “cloud”, however I don’t put all my eggs in one basket, but rather utilize five of the main cloud storage packages. I also maintain onsite backups for everything, just in case. My reasoning for utilizing the “cloud” was reinforced upon learning what my Fort McMurray friend had to go through to recover their paperwork lives, financial and other. Personally, I scan all our documents, which will make their replacement less stressful. There is also the side effect that all is laid out in an organized fashion when, at some point, it will be needed by our estate executor.

So, what should you do? That, my friends, is entirely up to you. My advice is to think about losing everything, consider how you would be affected, what do you have in place now, or what could you put in place to help mitigate the situation should it occur.

I am doing what I believe will work best for us. All I suggest is that you do the same.