Friday, February 29, 2008

My mom's dad, if he was still alive, would have turned 100 today. Feb 29, 2008. It's hard to believe. He died in 1996, and his funeral was on Feb 29th as well. He lived 88 long years on this earth. He wrote his memoirs out, which one of my uncles translated from Dutch. He closes with this:

"All I can say is that I am richly blessed in my old age with children and grand children who do not mind to drop in on their old grandfather and so remember the 5th commandment: "Honor your father and your mother. so that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God will give you".

I am now coming to the end of my story, I have titled this story with the words of Proverbs 30 verse 8: "Give me neither poverty, nor riches, but give me only my daily bread", I have found this to be sufficient in life and want to pass on these words of wisdom to my children and grand children. Fear God for that is the beginning of wisdom, seek first His Kingdom and its righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you, because your Father in heaven knows what you need. I hope, that even though I am far from a professional writer, this writing will give each one of you some idea of what two people, like pake Jelle and beppe Wieke have experienced during their 80 odd years on this earth. As my final word I want to wish each one of you God's richest blessings through your faith in Him all through your life.

November 27, 1990"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good news for Peterborough

I wrote our local MP a letter a couple of months ago. I think it was the first time I had ever done so. I wrote it after reading an article in the local paper which discussed the possible extension of the 407 ETR to the 115. Buried in the article was a small mention of passenger rail service to Peterborough. This service was canceled 20 years ago. I wrote to our MP, Del Mastro, to let him know that I would prefer to have our passenger rail link restored, rather than money invested in extending the 407. The reasons are these:
  • Passenger rail systems in North America need to be improved, having been neglected for too long. Travel by car has been too easy and too affordable until now to make rail a viable option. Those days are limited.
  • Peak Oil. We will soon (or have already) reach peak global oil production. Everything related to oil will cost more in the coming years. That doesn't leave out much in today's world. Travel by rail is a much more efficient method compared to cars, per passenger mile.
  • Peterborough's economic future. If the above is true, and Peterborough hopes to be a viable city to live in for the future, we need to be connected great Montreal-Toronto corridor by more than roads. Our factories and plants need to be able to send and receive without relying on Transport Trucks. A large portion of our population commutes to the GTA (including Pickering, Whitby, Oshawa). As the cost of fuel rises, they will question if the benefit of living in this great city is worth the daily commuting cost. Travel by train will reduce this burden.
According to the new federal Budget, we will be getting this improved rail service. I'd like to think that my letter didn't go unnoticed.
What are your thoughts?

These are my grandparents, my dad's parents. I took this picture at Christmas time. I caught them looking at a different camera, so it was a bit more natural - they weren't posing for me.

I love them a lot. They're funny, sincere, genuine and loving. I remember staying at their apartment a few years ago, the night before catching an early flight out of Pearson to Vancouver. I remember when they were going to bed I could hear them talking in their room. Grandma was trying to find her book; "John, where's my book?", "I don't know where your book went," was his response, which sounds pretty normal. It doesn't look like much in print. But, if you could hear his voice, there was just a subtle bit of raised intonation in his voice. A bit mischievous, as if he was saying "I might know where your book is, but I might not. I might have hidden it, I might not." That made my day, hearing my grandparents joking around, after some 60 years of marriage, as if they were kids, hiding each others favorite toys.

My grandfather's health hasn't been the greatest lately. He's had problems with his vision, a couple of hip replacements, he broke his femur last year, but he's resilient. He's positive. They both have strong faith in God, and He's been there for them through their whole lives, through WWII in Holland, through emigrating to Canada with a young family, through poverty and wealth. They have been blessed with 7 children of their own, 25 or so grandchildren, and some great grandchildren.

We recently learned of another setback in grandpa's health. We are praying for God to once again heal him, through medicine, through doctors, and through miracles. Please join us in this prayer, that the lung cancer they have found will be removed and he will have a quick, full recovery.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I set up my camera and tripod last night and took some pictures of the Lunar Eclipse. I would have liked it if they turned out a bit better, but still, I'm happy with them. Here they are in chronological progression.

My favorites are towards the end of this series:

I was using a 500mm lens, with a doubler. It was really tricky to focus, as the angle I had it at to see the moon made it difficult to see through the viewfinder. The cold didn't help with my fine motor skills either. Plus, I had the wrong ISO setting and wrong exposure length for a few shots. They still look pretty good in a collage format, but trust me, in full screen mode, the aren't that impressive.

I think eclipses are really really cool. I think the next one is 2010. Maybe by then I'll have a new lens, better tripod, and better pictures.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Youtube

It's hard to believe Youtube is 3 years old already. Happy Birthday little guy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Two images from todays Globe and Mail 'in pictures' segment. The contrast got my attention.

Photo: Jerry Lampen/Reuters
A woman begs for money on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan.

Photo: Frank Franklin/The Associated Press
Beagle Uno, winner of Best in Show at the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, eats steak in New York.