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The Man in China Archives
Our Incredible Summer of 2010
The Wedding and Honeymoon

I have reorganized this from the chronology of my website:  Now this begins with our wedding and honeymoon, the slips back in time to the preamble, the month preceding our nuptials.  Enjoy.

Nieces get a front row seat at our wedding.  Winnipeg, Canada

July 24, 2010  Married

It was a perfect day, and a perfect wedding. 

  Sam Baardman,  Susan Israel and Dave Clement provided music for our wedding.  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
                                                             - wedding photos by Jerry Corwin unless otherwise identified.

Sam Baardman,  Susan Israel and Dave Clement provided music while the guests took their seats.  The event proper began with the sounding of a Chinese gong.  Then Dave Clement set the mood for the ceremony with a Kate Wolf song, "Give Yourself to Love".

Guests at our wedding.  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Ruth, Norma (our officiant) and David about to have a marriage ceremony.  Winnipeg, Canada

Our wonderful officiant was Norma Drosdowech.  She positively radiates warmth and good cheer, and she kept the program moving along, handing scripts to Ruth and David in turn.

What I Expected to Find in China

David explains himself.  Our wedding.  Winnipeg, Canada

I didnít expect to find a woman from Winnipeg when I went to China.  I was expecting an exotic romance with a beautiful Chinese woman.  Probably a short Chinese woman.  Ruth didnít fit my expectations, and I have to admit that it took me almost a whole month to revise my agenda.

We were instant friends, and I found an ease and comfort with Ruth that I have never found with anybody. 

And then we became lovers, but still with no commitment.  I kept saying to myself:  This woman is perfect.  What is the matter with you?

Economists call this an opportunity cost.  Accepting one relationship shuts out the potential of all other relationships. 

Sometimes itís not easy to give up the fantasies, and to see what is in front of my eyes.  This woman is perfect.  This woman is perfect.

And then finally I listened. 

So we became more than just lovers.  We became partners. 

Thereís a book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson called  ďMetaphors We Live ByĒ  We have to use metaphors when we talk about anything intangible. 

 And of course there are many metaphors for love. 

 Love is a journey Ė Our relationship has progressed beyond friendship.

 Love is mental illness Ė Iím crazy about her.

 Love is a battle Ė she completely conquered my heart.

But the metaphor I really like is: Love is a collaborative work of art.

Love is work
Love is active
Love requires cooperation
Love requires dedication
Love requires compromise
Love requires discipline
Love involves sharing responsibility
Love requires patience
Love requires shared values and goals
Love demands sacrifice
Love regularly brings frustration
Love requires instinctive communication
Love is an aesthetic experience
Love is primarily valued for its own sake
Love involves creativity
Love requires a shared aesthetic
Love cannot be achieved by formula
Love is unique in each instance
Love is an expression of who you are
Love creates a reality
Love reflects how you see the world
Love requires the greatest honesty
Love may be transient or permanent
Love needs funding
Love yields a shared aesthetic satisfaction from your joint efforts.

All of these attributes of love I find with Ruth.  Sheís perfect.

  Our wedding ceremony.  Winnipeg, Canada

How We Met  (Davidís Dramatic Entrance)

Ruth amuses the audience with the story of how we met.  Our wedding.  Winnipeg, Canada

I did not go to China expecting to meet someone. As a matter of fact I expected to be single for my entire time overseas.

When I was offered a job by SEPIS, a school in the Chinese city, Taiían, I asked for the email addresses of current and former teachers. David was one of several teachers at SEPIS that wrote back to me, and one of two teachers there who wrote extensively about what I could expect (both good and bad) if I took the job there. I did sign on with the school and several weeks later was winging my way towards a new life.

I was supposed to arrive in the late evening, but very heavy fog delayed flights and more than doubled the normal hour drive from the airport. I didnít end up reaching my new apartment until well after 3 in the morning. After saying good night to the administrators who had gotten me safely from airport to room I wasnít tired despite the long day of travel. I was in China!! Though I hadnít seen much of it yet through the fog and the dark, it was still rather exciting. Not being sleepy I started unpacking, setting about getting myself settled in my new home.

About fifteen minutes into my unpacking there was a knock at my door. I was startled. Who could it be? Itís 4:00 in the morning. Iím in China. I donít know anyone in China.

I opened the door, and there was David, scrubbed and spiffed and cutting a fine figure in my doorway. He smiled and said ďWelcome to China!Ē

He had had the young women who looked after our apartment blocks wake him when the administrators arrived with me. He had gotten cleaned up (even shaved Ė no small feat when the water is turned off at midnight) and dressed up to come and greet me, to make me feel welcome.

He made a good first impression and has continued impressing me ever since. That was early November in 2004. By Christmas that year we were dating. And the rest as they sayÖ

Nat and Kat fall all over themselves at the romance of it all.  Our wedding.  Winnipeg, Canada

Why I Want to Marry Ruth 

David explains why he wants to marry Ruth.  Winnipeg, Canada

Why do I want to marry Ruth?  Aside from the fact that I love her, love being with her, and don't ever want to live without her?  I have all of this without the formality and legality of being married to her. What is it about marriage that makes it something I want to do? Actually, this breaks down into two questions:  Why do I want to marry? And why do I want to marry Ruth?

I'll tackle the first, and more difficult question first.  For me, marriage is a public declaration of relationship.  It is not a list of promises, which most mortals may or may not be able to keep depending on their brain functions.  Marriage says to the whole world "This person is central to my life.  This is not a casual paring.  This is not a one night, or one month or one year stand.  This relationship is IMPORTANT.  I want to announce it to the world.  I want everybody to know that I value this person above all others."  While I don't believe that a marriage should contain unrealistic promises Ė who knows what life will bring us - I do believe that it sets out some property rights.  What's mine is hers.  If I prosper and become wealthy, she will prosper too.  If I fall upon hard times, I have no doubts that she will give me whatever support she can, just as I would for her.  We are a team.  We are a couple.  We are equal partners in life and we make decisions as a couple, with discussion and honesty. Being married is more than just living together, as we have for the past six years.  Being married is living together publicly, making a public statement of our commitment to each other.

I know Ruth agrees with me that neither one of us should be the "boss" in this marriage.  She has a right to her own thoughts, emotions, and decisions.  I have a right to mine.  Where our actions affect the other, we will discuss our choices and come to an agreement.  We may not always be totally happy with this agreement, but we will respect the individuality of our partner. I also know that Ruth agrees with me that we have ownership of our own past, and our own feelings for others.  Marriage is not something that narrows our emotional life.  On the contrary, it welcomes in those whom our partner loves.  We both have the confidence in ourselves to accept whatever "baggage" the other brings to this marriage. So, there is no downside to marriage for me.  There's no risk. Marriage feels like an obvious evolution of a relationship that started with intellectual attraction, developed into a close friendship, and resulted in intimacy.  We already are married.  We have been married for some time.  Isn't it time to admit it?

The second question, why do I want to marry Ruth, is much easier to answer.  Ruth is simply one of the best people I have ever met.  She's caring.  She's honest.  She's very very intelligent. I can be with her for months on end without ever running out of conversation or becoming bored.  We share many attitudes towards life, people, society, and ideology.

Somebody once described us as one person in two bodies. This is not quite accurate, but sometimes it feels perfectly descriptive. I've never met anybody I could be as comfortable with as Ruth.  Most of all, she's a "good" person. If there's anything mean or nasty about Ruth, I haven't been able to discover it. In this regard she's much better than me, and she makes me want to be a better person.

Just one recent example.  We were in Australia for our winter holiday.  I'd been wanting to see an echidna.  But when we found one at the side of the road, it buried it's head in the bushes and braced it's feet. All I could see was its backside.  I took a stick and was going to force the animal out of this position, so I could take a good look at it.  Ruth objected.  And of course she was right and I was wrong.  The poor terrified creature did not want anything more than its prickly spines expose.  I won't go so far as to say I feel ashamed of my impulse to terrify this creature.  But I do recognize that Ruth has instincts that are less... primitive than mine.  Her very name says it.  Ruth, the opposite of ruthless, a word seldom used now that means "compassion".  Her empathy level is always high, for everybody and every creature.  In this, and in many other ways, I learn from her.

I've told Ruth that I think she's perfect.  She laughs at this, and says she hopes I will remain deluded.  But really she is perfect,  or at least perfect for me.  I'm very happy that she has decided that I qualify as a life partner.  I'm very happy to be able to stand before you today and declare that Ruth is my wife.

Wedding of Ruth Anderson and David Scott,  Winnipeg, Canada

Why I Want to Marry David

Ruth explains to David why she wants to marry him.  Winnipeg, Canada

I love you.

You love me.

You express that love every day in many ways and I feel it.

I feel very comfortable when I am with you.

I feel incredibly supported by you.

I have fun living and travelling with you.

You know more about me than anyone else in the world and you still say I am perfect.

You laugh when I say youíre delusional.

You are smart and you challenge me intellectually.

You have a wild, spontaneous edge that is good for me to be around.

You love dogs.

You love to learn and so do I. We share what we learn and we both grow by it.

My life is better for having you in it.

We talk through our problems and strive to be honest (and compassionate) with each other.

You can (and have) said Iím sorry.

You point out when I stumble in living up to who I want to be, when I am bitchy or hurtful or cutting.

You donít hold grudges after a heartfelt apology.

You help me to be a better person.

You are a good roommate and take the responsibilities of sharing a household seriously.

After 5 and half years of almost daily contact for hours a day (except in the summers) I still enjoy being with you and we donít seem to run out of interesting things to say to each other.

I donít foresee that changing.

You are a good cook.

You introduce me to new things.

You let me prod you into going places you may not be inspired to go to on your own,

and you tell me when you enjoyed them.

I like who I am when I am with you.

You are a fine musician and I love to perform with you.

You are comfortable with me having center stage at times.

You say your life is all about you, but many times you make me feel it is all about you and me, and sometimes even just all about me.

You donít try to dominate me and you donít want me to dominate you.

I have never felt this compatible with anyone before in my life.

You appreciate me.

So that says why I want to be with you, but why do I want to marry you?

Marriage is a public statement of intent. There is power in a public statement. To make one requires a stronger level of conviction than a statement made behind closed doors. When I made the decision to be a vegetarian 11 years ago I didnít tell anyone else for a few weeks because I knew the power of a public statement. I knew I would feel more bound to follow through on being a vegetarian once I had announced it publicly. I wanted to be sure it was something I really wanted, and could do, before I invoked that power. That public statement, which had not been made as a lifelong commitment, helped maintain my vegetarian convictions for five years.

The fact that I did not stay a vegetarian should be no reason for concern. Vegetarianism hadnít make a reciprocal commitment to me, and it didnít add even a fraction of the things to my life that you do.

When I say my vows to you, you will know, and feel, that stronger conviction. I will be telling you that I am not just taking it day by day to see how it goes, but that I am planning my life with you as a central part of it. And when you say your vows to me I will know and feel the same. I think that this mutual knowing and feeling will deepen the bond that we feel with each other, that it will move us to a deeper level of connection.

Do I expect our relationship to change after we get married?

Right now I donít think so. I think our feelings may intensify and I may feel a greater sense of emotional certainty, but the day to day arrangements of our living I expect to continue much as they have. We will work out new things as they come up. I donít think I have ideas of what a husband should be or do lurking in the back corners of my mind. But I do know that if you start to notice behaviours on my part that show that I actually do, that youíll be quick to point them out to me, and weíll work through any bumps.

David reads his wedding vows to Ruth.  Winnipeg, Canada

Our Wedding Vows (each in turn)

Ruth takes her turn to read the wedding vows.  Winnipeg, Canada

I  vow to you that I will be the best partner, friend and husband/wife I can imagine being.

I will do my best to always have my words come from a place of love, seeking to support and encourage the wonderful person that you are.

I will do my best to give you space to be yourself, and I will be your number one fan when you express yourself as you are.

I will do my best to make the collaborative work of art that is our love continue to grow in beauty, intricacy, complexity, and expressive power.

I will do my best to be considerate, and to remember that you live your own dream, a dream that I am privileged to witness, but not to own.

Most of all I will be here for you to the best of my ability. I will give you my very best, and keep you in the central position in my life for as long as you want to share yourself with me.

I appreciate you. You bring comfort and joy to my life. You impress me and inspire me. I commit myself to our partnership without doubts, qualms, or fears. There is simply nothing I want more than to be with you.

Not a dry eye in the house.

Scott Anderson, professional sound engineer, generously donated his services to our wedding.

Scott, brother of the bride, provided the PA system and sound engineering services. 

 Norma signs our marriage into law.
Then it was time for the official paperwork to be signed.

During the signing, Dave Clement entertained with a song he wrote for his daughter's wedding - "Husband and Wife".

David signs the marriage form. David Rivers witnesses our marriage. Ruth signs the marriage form. Ruth's sister, Deborah, witnesses Ruth's signature.

And that's it.  It's official.  We're married.

After the official signing, we sang the song that has become "our song".  "You Belong to Me" by Peewee King.

First performance as husband and wife.  "You Belong to Me"  First performance as husband and wife.  "You Belong to Me"

The tradiional wedding kiss.

To wind up the ceremony, Ruth led the audience in a three part song she wrote for my sixtieth birthday.  Half the audience sang "Being gentle showing loving kindness." while the other half sang "Be aware, have self acceptance."  and Ruth and David sang the third part: "I am grateful, for everything I have in my life - with you."  The three parts fit together like a Gregorian chant.  Simply brilliant.

The wedding concluded with an open mic session.  Guests were invited to come up and sing a song, read a poem, present a dance or say a few words. 

Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada

Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada

Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada  Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada 

Pat welcomes a new son in law.  Thanks, Thump.    Nancy entertains with a Morris dance.
                        - Blair Mahaffy photo

Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada  Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada  Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada

Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada  Guests participate in our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada

Linda and Clark perform at our wedding celebration.  Winnipeg, Canada

Peggy performs at the open mic.  What an incredible voice!  Paul explains why the Bhigg house is special.  Winnipeg, Canada
                                                                   - Blair Mahaffy photo                                                                          - Blair Mahaffy photo

This was followed by a pot luck feast in a Canadian/Chinese style - perogies and cabbage rolls eaten with souvenir chopsticks, and a music circle that continued into the late evening.

I can't say too much about the kindness and generosity of Ruth's family and friends.  Special thanks to Elizabeth Clement for all her hard work accommodating guests and arranging food.  Also, special thanks to all those who contributed so generously to our travel funds.  You have all made our wedding day special beyond words.

The Honeymoon Tour

First stop was a visit to Donna and Terry.  Donna was Ruth's eighth grade teacher, and is now a lifelong friend living south and east of Winnipeg, just north of the American border in a serene country home they call "the ReTreat". 

picture: Donna made a pillow case out of some silk I bought in Winnipeg, a surprise for my sister.  Thanks, Donna.

Their yard was full of dragon flies, snapping up the mosquitoes, and regularly visited by deer.

After a slightly tense border crossing (The American border seems to have turned ugly since 9/11 and visitors are no longer greeted with smiles.) it was on to the wedding recreation at Nancy's place in Minneapolis.

July 31, 2010 Minneapolis

A virus has messed with my camera card, so I can't download any pictures until I figure out how to clear it.  We're in Minneapolis today, visiting Ruth's friend Nancy Hansen.  There's another big party planned for tomorrow.  In the meantime, here's a message from one of our very favorite students, Spacefish (His English name is a direct translation of his Chinese name, Zhu Si Yu).

Subject: Congratulations & Best wishes for our beloved  
              teachers David&Ruth


Dear David& Ruth:


This is Spacefish, a student of both of you. I can still remember the time when we first met. Four years' time has gone and past, we graduated and you finally get married. It is a pity not having the chance to present on the scene to witness your wedding, it was definitely moving and marvelous!

A wedding card from our student, Spacefish.  We're going to miss our graduating students.

I made a small card for you. The color of red represents joy in chinese culture. The red pattern in the center of the card is traditional chinese pattern for wedding. You may found that there is decorative character "囍" in the middle, which express the idea of shared happiness of two families; phoenix and dragon on each side represents the bride and the bridegroom. We often believe that the dragon and the phoenix will bring happiness and prosperity. I hope your have a marriage with a lifetime of togetherness and happiness!
I'd like to end this letter with some tradtional chinese expressions for you:
心心相印(xīn xīn xiāng yžn Have mutual affinity)!
百年好合( bǎi niŠn hǎo hť Love for all seasons)!
天长地久(tiān chŠng dž jiǔ Everlasting and unchanging love)!
白头偕老(bŠi tůu xiť lǎo Live to old age in conjugal bliss)!

Yours Sincerely
from English 0601

I suppose the downside of really liking our students is seeing them graduate and move on.  We're really going to miss the students of Spacefish's year. I do hope they keep in touch.  Keeping in touch is a lot easier now than it used to be, before websites and the Internet.

Replacing the window visor that was stolen in Winnipeg.

August 1, 2010 The Wedding Tour Hits Minneapolis

Another city, another party.  What can I say?  Food.  Smiling happy people.  Music.  We recreated the ceremony with Nancy playing the part of Norma for Ruth's Minneapolis friends.  Most of you won't know the people in these pictures, but the people in these pictures will know who they are.



There are more pictures to come, and tags to put on these ones.  But we're on the road again at 6:30am heading for Longmont, Colorado.  So refinements can wait.  My thanks to all of you for sharing in our celebration, and for bringing such good feelings to our lives.

Theft - an International Industry

As we were loading up to leave Winnipeg we noticed that the side window visors were missing from our little blue traveling machine.  Since both sides were missing, it's obvious that they were stolen by somebody who has a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier.  We didn't think that the CSI people would be very interested, and hanging around Winnipeg looking for a car like ours with (identifiably our) side vents seemed futile, so we got underway, trying to not let this bring us down.

Cleaning off the old tape and glue was the toughest part of hte job. finding the replacement visors was a lot easier than I feared.

In Minneapolis I tracked down an auto supply that could get new visors in for us.  $44 U.S., which is a lot less than I feared they would cost.  Installation was simple.  The toughest part was removing the old glue, and washing off the glue remover.

And installation was a snap.

The little blue car has been running like a top, and using very little fuel.  We are constantly reminded of the kindness of my former in-laws, Sadie and Malcolm.

August 03, 2010 On to Colorado

My wife, Ruth Anderson, and the little blue car someplace in Colorado, U.S.A.

picture: Nancy rides her recumbent bike to her job with the city water department.  So she was off to work, and we were off to Colorado.

After saying goodbye to Nancy in Minneapolis, we were off on the tour.  First stop, a visit with Thomas and Marina in Longmont, Colorado.

Picture: Thomas and Marina on their apartment balcony, Longmont,  Colorado.

We met Thomas during our first teaching job at the Shandong Electric Power Company International School (SEPIS) in Tai'an, Shandong, China, just before he trekked off to Russia to marry Marina.  They now live in Longmont, Colorado.

picture: the view from Thomas and Marina's front door.  Suburban landscape in Longmont, Colorado.  picture: the open space in Longmont, Colorado.  We're off to see the prairie dog colony.

picture:  Thomas and Marina on our mountain outing.  Near Longmont, Colorado   picture: Savah the Chinese dog, now a U.S. resident in Longmont, Colorado

After two days in Longmont, with trips into the mountains, a soak at a hotsprings resort, and a visit to Boulder to check out their pedestrian mall, we were on our own, following Thomas's suggestions for places to stop -  Garden of the Gods, then on to Mesa Verde ancient Anasazi ruins, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, and the Little Colorado Canyon.  Details and pictures as soon as I get time to sort them out and post them.  For now let me just say that America is living up to its Chinese name - měi guů, "beautiful country".

The Honeymoon Tour - on to the Grand Canyon

Pouring rain in Flagstaff, no weather for viewing the Grand Canyon.  We decided to cut the day short and take a motel.  Unfortunately, all were full up or otherwise unacceptable.  So we pushed on.  By the time we reached the Grand Canyon we had clear blue skies.  The sunset was incredible.  We managed to find a motel room, then went out to dinner in a cowboy steak house, sharing a table with a nice girl from Paris and a clothing designer from Switzerland.
Pictures as soon as I have time to organize and post them.

Picture: The Grand Canyon living up to its name.

 Next morning the canyon was fogged in and there was very little to see.  We left for Yellowstone Park. 

Tonight we're in Manti, Utah.  It's been a great day.  Tomorrow we should make Yellowstone National Park.

August 11, 2010 Dragon's Keep, Provo, Utah

As luck would have it, our route to Yellowstone took us right past Dragon's Keep in Provo, Utah. I mean right past.  On the route. We know of this place because it's the working base for our favourite web cartoonist, Howard Tayler, author of Schlock Mercenary.  We didn't expect to catch Howard at work (his blog said he's off at a convention), but we did get to do the fan thing of seeing his drafting table, and picking up a couple of his more recent signed books.

picture: Dragon's Keep, Provo, Utah.  Home of Schlock Mercenary.  picture: Dragon's Keep, Provo, Utah.  Home of Schlock Mercenary.  We bought two signed books.

We also got to take a good look at Dragon's Keep, and meet Jeremy the manager. Ruth has been a gamer for years.  I haven't.  So some of the excitement goes over my head.  But I could see, and Ruth confirms, that Dragon's Keep is a deluxe place for gamers to hang out.  I just enjoyed seeing where Howard gets writer's cramp signing his books.

picture: poster for rule 35 of most effective pirates.  That which does not kill me has made a tactical error. picture: Dragon's Keep, Provo, Utah.  Home of Schlock Mercenary.

     I have great admiration for Mr. Tayler.  His site is good hearted and innocent, yet occasionally sexy and scatological, good clean fun. He's built himself a job based on the Internet and a business model that he claims to love.  His work ethic is impressive, and I expect him to become very famous in the near future.  He's got a good start already.  So all in all he seems to be living life the way it should be lived.
     My Chinese students should understand that many words that Howard uses in his web comic are made up to suit his vision of a science fiction future.  This is part of the fun, but if you expect to find "teraport" in a dictionary, you'll have to wait a few years.

picture: The honeymoon tour.  Threatening weather, but we mostly kept out of it.

The Honeymoon Tour - on to Yellowstone

Storms and rain chased us all the way to Yellowstone Park, but kept behind us.  We arrived late at night, and all rooms were booked and all the campsites full - it's the high season.  We slept in the car, making use of the Old Faithful Lodge washroom.  Breakfast in the lodge cafeteria at six in the morning, and we had a perfect day for exploring the park.  Rain clouds were rolling in as we left the park.  Our timing has been... miraculous so far.

Meeting People is Most of the Fun

I'm just not a disciplined enough person to keep track of the names of the people we meet. 

Picture: A family from... Louisiana?  Yellowstone trail to observation point.

I remember this family we met in Yellowstone, and how much we enjoyed talking to them.  But unless they send me an email, their names are lost.
     Occasionally we would meet a family from China, and would enjoy shocking them by tossing off a few words of Chinese.  That was always fun.

A Yellowstone visitor from Calgary, B.C., but a Chinese speaker.  I hope she sends me an email.

This visitor to Yellowstone spoke Chinese, but she's now living in Calgary, Canada.  I'm hoping she sends me an email eventually.
And now I'm going to throw in some pictures, without comment.  The pictures speak for themselves.

picture: It looked like a big boulder, and nobody was seeing it until Ruth spotted the bison.  Yellowstone park.  picture: One obvious observation - bison are big.  Yellowstone Park.

picture: Is it a bee, or a fly.  Whatever it is, it likes this flower.  Yellowstone Park.   picture:  somehow the dew drops make the flower looke magical, or contrived.  Yellowstone park.

picture: This is a marmot.  He seemed quite used to visitors.  Yellowstone Park.

picture:  warning sign saying that one risks death by wandering from the path.  Yellowstone Park   picture:  this geothermal area is cluttered with beautiful hot pools.  Yellowstone Park.

picture:  a misty morning on the trail to the observation point above Old Faithful.  Yellowstone Park.

picture:  Ruth with a hot pool behind her.  Yellowstone Park  picture:  Ruth with a hot pool behind her.  Yellowstone Park

picture:  Old Faithful between eruptions.  Yellowstone Park  picture: a huge crowd gathers to watch Old Faithful blow water into the air.  Yellowstone Park.

Chinese Word of the Week:  美国
(měi guů literally "beautiful country") the United States of America

picture:  the Little Blue Car was a joy to drive and gave us not a lick of trouble.  Thanks again Sadie and Malcolm.

Chinese Word of the Day 蜜月
(mž yuŤ literally "honey month") = honeymoon (it's still happening for us)

August 17, 2010 Full Circle

I'm back in Maple Ridge, B.C. with my bride.  We've had a wonderful tour of the west that included five American national parks - Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde, The Painted Desert, The Petrified Forest, The Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone, plus at least one state park, the Garden of the Gods in Colorado.  All were impressive.  Most were unforgettable.
     Once we hit the Canadian border, we went up to Kelowna to visit my former brother in law, Tom, and then on to Williams Lake to visit my cousin Colleen and her husband Jerry.  We completed the circle with not a hint of a car problem, inconvenience, or grumpy word.  The impression I'm left with is that this world is beautiful beyond belief, and filled with friendly, loving people.  What a contrast to the impression we get from the media.

pictire: Karen, owner of Karen's Restaurant in Williams Lake, stopped by our table.  We lavished praise on the food.  pictire: Ruth with Cousin Colleen and her husband Jerry,  Williams Lake
In Williams Lake, Colleen and Jerry took us to Karen's Cafe.  Great food, and I would say this even if Karen hadn't given us a complementary piece of pie.

Chinese Word of the Day: 恭喜
(gōng xǐ) = congratulations

August 23, 2010 Kids, Dogs, Friends and Family

What a great party my family threw to celebrate our wedding.  Just perfect.  Great food.  Wonderful atmosphere.

picture:  Isabelle made a big splash at our wedding celebration in Ruskin, B.C.
Isabelle is about to make a big splash at our wedding celebration.

 picture: the wedding party in Ruskin, B.C.  High overcast but no rain. Perfect.   picture: the wedding party in Ruskin, B.C.  High overcast but no rain. My mother and Cousin Reta get a chance to chat, while one of several dogs hopes for a treat.  Ruskin, B.C.
High overcast but no rain, which means comfortable weather for a party in the yard.

All topped off with an extensive sing along. Life is good indeed.

picture:  jam session at our wedding party, Ruskin, B.C..  picture: Martin and Chloe at our jam session.  Ruskin, B.C.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Ruth Anderson pictures

Thanks everybody, especially Alice and Steve, our hosts, my sister Catherine, the chief organizer, all those who contributed food, those who made the long drive from Vancouver, Surrey, or Kamloops, my fabulous sisters and assorted cousins, and the kids and dogs who added so much to the festival atmosphere.  Uh... I guess this just means thanks everybody.  It was all good.

picture:  the wedding continues with a big family party in Ruskin, B.C..  Thanks for the cake, Cath.

picture: Amanda Sublett, my niece, displays her silver medal from the Canadian Games.  I bask in reflected glory.

Congratulations are also in order for my niece, Amanda Sublett.  She won a silver medal in canoeing at the Canadian Summer Games.

Congratulations, Amanda.  Way to go.



picture: My former home, Marina House in Gibsons Landing, as seen through the water taxi windshield.

Chinese Word of the Day 巧事
(qiǎo shž literally "coincidental event") = coincidence

August 19, 2010 Death by Nostalgia

picture: the mermaid above Ya Ya's Oyster Bar in Horseshoe Bay was carved in my yard in Gibson's by my friend Godfrey Stephens who was living in a dugout canoe after losing his sailboat on the coast of Mexico.
The mermaid above Ya Ya's Oyster Bar in Horseshoe Bay was carved in my front yard in
Gibson's Landing by my friend Godfrey Stephens who was living in a dugout canoe after
losing his sailboat on the coast of Mexico.

Our summer continues to be magical. Yesterday I took Ruth for a ferry ride to the town of Gibson's Landing, where I owned a large house on the ocean many years ago. Julie and Frank, the couple who now own that house, welcomed our visit very warmly, and I was able to show Ruth some of the renovation and improvements I made when I owned the place.  I also showed Ruth my daughter Reba's tiny hand print in the concrete of the sidewalk.  Reba was born in Marina House.

picture: Marina House, my former residence in Gibsons Landing.  Three stories of elegance on the ocean.  picture:  Ruth is standing in what was once my front yard in Gibson's Landing, B.C.

picture:  Frank and Julie, present owners of Marina House in Gibson's Landing, B.C. and delightful people.  My house is in good hands.

Here's where the coincidence (see the Chinese Word of the Day) comes in.  Julie and Frank married on July 28, just four days after Ruth and I were married.  They met over the Internet, and lived together for ten years before tying the knot.  Apparently a period of living together before marriage is becoming much more socially acceptable, which makes a lot of sense.  It never seemed like a good idea to me for virtual strangers to make a lifelong commitment to each other.  That's asking too much of luck.

History Lost

This is all that remains of Coles Machine Shop and Marine Ways.  My memories of this building go back to the sixties, when my uncle's commercial fish collector, the Advise, was hauled out here to change the propeller after he hit a log going under the Lions Gate Bridge.

  picture: All that remains of Cole's Machine Shop and Marine Ways after the fire.  Gibson's Landing, B.C.   picture: The wall of Cole's Machine Shop and Marine Ways, covered with the names of boats that were hauled out here over the decades, after the fire.  Gibson's Landing, B.C.

Decades of boat owners added their boat name to the wall, making it a pastiche of history.  When I lived in Gibson's, Dave Coles, the owner of this shop, lost his life while kayaking in Chaster Creek.  The current swept him under a log jam, then sent his body out into the ocean.

picture:  Ruth picks blackberries on the seawalk.  Gibson's Landing, B.C.

Don's Water Taxi

After a pause to feast on blackberries, and a brief stop to swap tunes with a young fiddle player, we made our way to the marina where I bumped into my old friend Don Scagel, owner operator of Don's Water Taxi.

picture:  Don's water taxi, a Russian hydrofoil based out of Gibson's Landing, B.C.

The Back Story on the Russian Hydrofoil

Everything about this day brought back such memories for me.  When I lived here, I owned a Russian hydrofoil, identical to the picture above, built for taxi work on the Volga river.  The boat had a Czechoslovakian made Volvo AQD32 diesel motor that put out a hundred and five horsepower and would scoot my boat along at twenty knots on less than a gallon an hour.  It was a fun boat, and we had some good times running into Horseshoe Bay for an ice cream with the kids, a trip that would barely get the motor warmed up. But Dasvadania, as I called her, was only good for relatively smooth water, a heavy chop at most, and so not ideal for commuting to Vancouver, which is what I bought it to do.  I decided to sell it.  With my son, Casey, age about six, in the passenger seat we set off for a marina in North Vancouver to put Dasvadania up for sale. 
     Once up on the foils, Dasvadania cut the tops off the chop and gave a very smooth ride. Unfortunately it couldn't handle more than a three foot swell without turning into a submarine, and off the foils it wallowed along at only three or four knots, giving a most uncomfortable ride.  Leaving the Gibsons gap, the entrance to Georgia Straight, we had three foot swells hitting us broadside.  We were rolling along cautiously, and I was thinking the trip would take the whole day. But then we turned the corner toward Vancouver, giving us a following sea, and I began to give more and more throttle.  Finally we were up on the foils, flying out of each wave and sending up a glorious sunlit spray as we smashed into the next.  Then we hit a wave a foot higher than the previous ones.  Suddenly green water was rolling down the bow.  It slapped the windshield down, smashing it.  For a moment I was under water.  I couldn't see anything.  When my vision cleared, Casey was not in his seat.  I thought he'd been washed overboard, and was frantically searching the seas for his red life jacket.  Then I realized that he'd been swept down to sprawl under the dash at my feet.  I pulled him back onto the seat and tried to calm him down while I inspected him for damage.  There was blood everywhere I touched.  I was trying to find the source of the blood on Casey when I realized it was all mine.  The knuckles of my hand holding the steering wheel had been lacerated by the shattered windshield.
     We limped on to our destination with me peering through a four inch hole in the broken windshield.  The man at the marina gave me a lift up to the hospital to get some stitches on my knuckles.  I arranged to have the windshield repaired, and left the boat in hopes of finding a buyer. But when no buyer came forward, I gave the boat to Don on the "never never" payment plan.  Don eventually sold it to a drug dealer from Lasquiti Island, and handed me a brown paper bag containing ten thousand dollars in very used bills.

picture: Don at the wheel of his water taxi, Gibson's Landing, B.C.  picture: The crab pot comes up with some nice crabs.  Gibson's Landing, B.c..

Now for the surprise.  While I had a bad time with that boat, Don fell in love with it.  He's since tracked down and owned five of them, sequentially, and has made his water taxi from the latest, removing the big old diesel motor and replacing it with a 250 horse power outboard, modifying the windshield to handle water over the bow, and installing a top that let's him play submarine with impunity.  So this is the boat he took us out on.  What a machine.  After a spin in the harbour, he took us out the gap to pull up a crab pot and present us with two very large Dungeness crabs.

picture:  Ruth mugs in  front of Molly's Reach, famous as the set for the Canadian TV series, "Beachcombers".
Ruth mugs in front of Molly's Reach, famous as the set for the Canadian TV series, "Beachcombers".

After a brief visit with Don and his lovely wife, Nancy, we bought some ice, collected our crabs in our cooler, and went in search of Paula and Dennis. 

Dennis and Paula O'brien

picture:  Dennis and Paula with David.  Delightful old friends.  Gibson's Landing, B.C.

Paula is an amazing artist, founder of Pavelka Designs.  Dennis is a scoundrel and adventurer with an amazing knack for making money.  He regaled us with tales of sailing single handed from Cape Town to Brazil with a boat load of whiskey and a bucket of Krugerrands. To tell you about this couple in detail would take a whole book.  Suffice it to say that they are incredible.  They now have Canada's largest company making toys and games for restaurants to give to children when families come for dinner.

picture: Ruth reads her SF in the car while waiting for the ferry back to the mainland. bpicture:  Ruth enjoys a bag of Miss Vickie's Salt and Vinegar potato chips on the ferry back to Horseshoe Bay, B.C.
Ruth reads her SF anthology in the car while waiting for the ferry back to the mainland.

We caught the last ferry home, and got back in time to cook up the crabs and have a great crab feast. So all in all it was a perfect day.

pictture:  two large Dungeness crabs, steamed, cleaned and ready to eat.  Thanks Don.
Steamed, cleaned and ready to eat. 
Two large Dungeness crabs on a very large platter. Thanks Don.

The Guitar Hospital

Before heading over to Vancouver Island, venue for our last Canadian wedding celebration, I made a stop in  Vancouver to drop my guitar off for a setup.
     There's nothing much wrong with my Martin D28, but I've known since I bought it that the action is heavier than it needs to be.  So I brought it back to Canada with me hoping to find somebody who can set it up. I was toying with the idea of just lowering the bridge saddle, which I'd be willing to attempt myself if I had a duplicate to replace it with if I messed up the job.  But the process of finding a bridge saddle lead me to Nicole Alosinac, Luthier, in Vancouver and one look at her website
was enough to sell me on her services.  The $45 she charges for a set up makes doing it myself a fools choice.

picture:  Nicol Alosinac, luthier, inspects my guitar.  Vancouver, B.C.

What a pleasure it is to meet an articulate and competent technician.  Nicole gave me a quick education into how to look at a guitar, and the condition of mine.  Her first observation was that it is dehydrated (probably a result of its first owner living in Arizona) and she showed me how to tell this by the ridges in the finish.  She checked the alignment of the neck and fingerboard, recommended a new set of strings, explained that a light dressing of the frets might be necessary, and promised to have the guitar ready for my by Monday when we'll again pass through Vancouver on our way back to Maple Ridge.  I'm really looking forward to playing my guitar once it's been set up.  I'm expecting a big difference.

Chinese Word of the Day: 野地
(yě dž literally "wild earth") = wilderness

August 27, 2010 Waking up in Pristine Wilderness

It's twenty after eight in the morning.  Clouds hang low on the mountains and the ocean is glassy calm.  The air is so sweet I feel like I'm drinking it rather than breathing it.  The day before yesterday I discovered that we had time and opportunity to spend a night at a floating lodge managed by my old friend JoŽlle Rabu.  An opportunity not to be missed.  Clint and Linda, our hosts in Nanaimo, decided to come along, and provided the transportation to Moutcha Bay, between Gold River and Tahsis here on Vancouver Island, a three hour drive, the last of which was over a well maintained logging road.

picture:  Waiting out a bit of rain in Moutcha Bay, a resort that is under construction in Nootka Sound, B.C. where we embarked for the Nootka Sound Resort.

The Nootka Sound Lodge sent a boat to fetch us from Moutcha Bay, and here we are, sitting in the lap of luxury in the West Coast Canadian wilderness. 

picture:  Clint, Linda, Joelle (our host) and Ruth on the balcony outside our room.  Nootka Sound Resort, B.C.  picture:  This is the appetizer plate before our gourmet dinner at Nootka Sound Resort.  Roughing it in the bush was never like this.
JoŽlle welcomed us to the resort she manages so brilliantly,  where the appetizer tray looked too good to destroy in a feeding frenzy.

picture:  Happy fishermen with their catch.  This is what they come here for.  Nootka Sound Resort, Nootka Sound, B.C., Canada

picture:  Joelle, besides being a great resort manager and old friend, is also a famous singer.  She was one of the first performers to be invited to China, singing at the Grand Theatre in Beijing in 1986  picture:  a bottle of bubbly and a note written in chocolate were waiting by our bedside.  Kimberly, the chef at Nootka Sound Resort, is an artist.
JoŽlle, besides being a great resort manager and old friend, is also a famous singer. She was one of the first performers to be invited to China after the opening up, singing at the Grand Theatre in Beijing in 1986.

A night of playing music and singing with JoŽlle and her brilliant musician son, Nico, was a delight beyond description.  My heart wells with gratitude and love for my friends. 

picture:  David Scott in a rowboat in front of Nootka Sound Lodge, Nootka Sound, B.C., Canada

picture:  Nootka Sound Resort with Ruth in the foreground enjoying a kayak.

The Nanaimo Wedding Party

This was the conclusion of our Canadian wedding tour.  Now all that remains is our party when we get back to China. 

picture: Clint and Linda, the best friends anybody could ever ask for.  Nanaimo, B.C.
Clint's been my friend since grade seven.  He and his wife, Linda,  have been my summer hosts since I went to China.  Not too shabby.

It was another wonderful party.  A delight to see my Nanaimo friends again.  Special thanks to John Kenchentan for video taping the highlights and burning six DVD discs for us to give out.

Last Day in on Vancouver Island

And what a day it was,  starting with a visit with my old friend Tim Johnson and his family, then proceeding to  Victoria to visit Ruth's cousin Denise, husband Andy and three of her children,

picture:  Ruth's relatives in Victoria

pressing on from there to see my artist friend Godfrey Stephens,

picture:Godfrew Stephens, artist.  Victoria, B.C.

who coincidentally moors his boat on the same dock as our friend

picture:  Godfrey's amazing hand made boat.  Victoria, B.C.  picture:  Godfrey's amazing hand made boat.  Victoria, B.C.

  and former Lambton teacher (which means we met her on OUR campus) Lynne Kailan has her floating home,

picture: former Lambton teather and all round great person,  Lynne Kailan. On the seawalk, Victoria, B.C.  Canada

and winding up the day with a visit to Doug Dodd to return the guitar he lent us for the party. 
None of this would have been possible without the little blue car that Sadie and Malcolm bought for our summer use.  Once again we're feeling gratitude.

August 30, 2010 The Beginning is Over, The Marriage Begins

picture: Cruise ships set out from Victoria harbour into the sunset.  Victoria, B.C.

Chinese Word of the Day: 感谢
(gǎn xiŤ) v./n. thank; be grateful

End of the Honeymoon Trail for the Little Blue Car

picture:  The little blue car is back where it started.  It's been a great machine.  We're sad to say goodbye.   picture:  Ruth, Carrie and Sadie on the B.C. Ferry to the mainland.

We left the little blue car parked in front of Sadie and Malcolm's, where it was when I took possession.  Sadie, my former sister-in-law and her mother, Carrie, my former mother-in-law, gave us a lift back to Maple Ridge, 

Aunty Jolly, former beauty queen and very nice person.  Whiterock, B.C., Canada

with a stop to visit Aunt Jolly in Whiterock, before picking up my guitar on route.

The Guitar Setup Results

Nicole handed me my newly set up and strung Martin D28 this afternoon.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  Not only does it sound wonderful, it is infinitely easier to play.

picture:  Nicole Alosinac tests out my Martin D28, which she has significantly improved.  Vancouver, B.C.

I want to thank Nicole Alosinac for making my guitar a priority, and getting this done in time for me to pick up the guitar on my way through Vancouver.  Great work.  Great service.

The Honeymoon is Over

picture:  Saying goodbye to my mother.  Photographers always want to see open eyes.  But sometimes, eyes that are closed make more of a statement.  Maple Ridge, B.C.  picture:  Mother holds court in the hallway with her friends in the assisted living home.  Maple Ridge, B.C.

So, that was the end of our incredible summer.  After picking up the guitar we went back to Maple Ridge to say goodbye to my mother and sisters, and pack for the flight home.
     It was hard to leave such great friends and family, especially my mother, who reminds me each summer now that this could well be the last time we see each other.  Of course she's right. This is always true, all the time, for everybody.  I'm hoping my mother might last for another twenty years.

picture:  Ruth and I had separated seats on the flight home.  It's almost the furthers we'd been apart since before the wedding.

We still have one more party planned, this one to celebrate with our friends in China.

September 5, 2010 Good to be Back

After our incredible summer, I had mixed feelings about returning to China.  I love my work here in China, love my students and friends.  But... well, Canada is a beautiful place to live.  Fortunately, the warm welcome we once again received on our return went a long way to ease such ambivalence..


We found Jenny's note on  our white board when we returned to our apartment.  Jenny is the friend who made the arrangements for students to look after our dog.  The Chinese characters in the note read: "GouGou had a shower, we don't want to leave her."
     Last night, Jin Bo, our liaison here, presented us with the perfect Chinese wedding gifts, a pair of bedside reading lamps.  These are modeled on ancient oil lamps, converted to electricity.  One is a phoenix, representing the wife.  The other is a dragon, representing the husband.  Very Chinese.

The Tension Builds

Now let me take you back to the fun time as we returned from China with the wedding planned for July 24.

June 25, 2010 I'm Back in Canada

But just for the summer.  My updates may be a bit spotty, even more so than usual, for the summer months.  We return to China at the end of August.

Stupidity Tax

I got nailed for a stupidity tax at the Shanghai airport. Two reasons - I wanted to take my guitar back to Canada with me, and I wanted to take back my new bullwhip so I can compare it to the whip I bought back in the seventies.
     I thought I remembered taking my guitar on an airplane with no extra charge, but those days seem to be over.  The guitar counts as another piece of luggage, and since they only allow two pieces the nice girl at the checkout told me there would be a... gasp....$220 Canadian charge for the additional case.  I whined and whinged and she suggested that I check the guitar, but hold back my smaller suitcase and take it on as carry on.  Whew.  Problem solved.  Except... I had forgotten that I put the bullwhip in the smaller suitcase.  Naturally one can't take a bullwhip onto an airplane.  Why, I could... wave it at somebody and make threatening noises?  What?  There's no room on a plane to swing or crack a twelve foot bullwhip.  What could I do with it?  But there you go.  Security theater demands that nothing that could be in any way threatening be allowed on the plane.  So they sent me back to check in the bag, and pay the extra baggage charge.
     Gotta hate those stupidity taxes.

July 13,2010 Not much about China (It's all about me.)

Travels, friends and family - I'm back in Canada visiting all the people I love back home.  It's been an incredible vacation so far, and it promises to get even better. 

  Check out that sky.  Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada  My mother, Thea Scott, in the assisted living home.  A good place for her.
This hill is steeper than it looks in this picture.  My morning exercise was to walk up it to visit my mother.

Cousins thrice removed.  Beautiful children.  Ruskin, B.C.  Cousins thrice removed.  Beautiful children.  Ruskin, B.C.
Cousins thrice removed.  It's a growing family with great kids.

My daughter, Reba.  Nanaimo, B.C.   David and Marjorie, my violin teacher.

 My son Casey on his sailboat.    Casey came to the government dock to get me and take me out to his boat.
My son Casey took me out to his sailboat for a night of spiced rum and conversation.

Ah, the simple joys of life.  Kiri on my shoulders.  Saltspring Island, B.C.  A visit with the grand kids.  Kiri and Via.  Saltspring Island, B.C.
A great visit with the grand kids.

Saorsa with pi xiu, ninth son of the dragon.
My grandson Saorsa with his present from China - pi xiu, ninth son of the dragon.

Breakfast with grand kids.  Nanaimo, B.C.    How else can you get it in your mouth?  Breakfast with grand kids.  Nanaimo, B.C.
Nothing like a good plate of lingini.

I don't know who they are, but I know the feeling.  On the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay, B.C., Canada

Right now I'm writing this in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, at Ruth's mother's home, after driving all night in the car that Sadie and Malcolm bought for me to use this summer. 

I made it.  All the way to Ruth's mother's home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada   Ruth's mother, Pat Anderson, and  I have been having a great time.
The little blue car that Sadie and Malcolm bought so they could lend it to me for the summer has been running smoothly.  All I had to do was wash the bugs off it, and it's all sparkly again.

Along the way I visited my nephew Ean in Kelowna, and taught him how to play Chinese chess.  We've got a game going online right now. I also stopped in on Sheila, my ex-wife's sister, and went hiking with her and her boyfriend, Les.

Les and Sheila and Buster the affection sponge dog.  On a hike near Peachland, B.C.

Next morning I met Sheila and her sister Sadie for coffee.  Sadie had been traveling with Laara and Zel on their big honking motorcycles, but she was heading back to the coast, and I was on my way to Saskatoon.

After coffee with Sheila, Westbank, B.C.  Sister Sadie on her Yamaha.  A traveling machine.

The People You Meet on the Road !!

A bit of repair work on the road between Bangkok and Winnipeg.  Tandem bikers on a major adventure that will take them to South America.

It's not often you see a couple on a tandem bike working their way up the highway in the Rockie Mountains.  Shortly after I pulled off the road to put my lunch together, the biking pair pulled in too.  They stopped a fair distance ahead of me, either not wanting to impose on my space or not wanting any company.  But I was curious and walked up to introduce myself.  And that's how I met Emanuel and Nawal, who started their bike ride in Bangkok.  Bangkok?  You mean Bangkok, Thailand?  That's right, with a ride all the way through China.  Now they are heading for Jasper on their way to Winnipeg and ultimately Venezuela in South America.  Inspiring couple.

They began their trip in Bangkok, and rode the tandem bike through China.  Here they are heading for Jasper,B.C.  They began their trip in Bangkok, and rode the tandem bike through China.  Here they are heading for Jasper,B.C.

You can check out their adventure on their blog. It's in French but the pictures tell the story.

Summer vacation at home with Ruth's mother, Pat, and some of her family.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

July 17, 2010 Summer Vacation Continues

After leaving Sheila and Sadie in Kelowna I did an all nighter to Saskatoon, to the home of Ruth's mother.  It was a beautiful drive through the badlands of Alberta.  I should have taken more pictures.

Ruth's mom checks out the engagement ring. Okay, the magnifying glass was my idea.

I had a great day of hanging out with Ruth's mom before Ruth arrived by bus from Winnipeg, to take the curse of the last leg of the drive.

Ruth's sister Deborah in her cancer research lab.  A real live scientist.

Ruth's sister, Deborah, runs a cancer research lab in Saskatoon.  She treated us to a tour and running commentary on her work.  Fascinating stuff. 

Deborah shows us around her lab.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

They recently had a breakthrough and verified a molecular switch that was previously not understood.

Ruth gets a look at cancer cells.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada   Actual cancer cells, as seen under the microscope in Deborah's lab.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada   Ruth's mom gets a look at some cancer cells.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
We all got a chance to look at cancer cells through the microscope. 
Not that we could tell what we were looking at.

Ruth and I enjoyed a pleasant and uneventful drive from Saskatoon to Ruth's house in Winnipeg.

Dangerous Toys

Our friend David (Yes, another David.  This house is full of them.)  is working with us.  He was very impressed with my new bullwhip (scroll way down if you follow this link), which I've been showing off wherever I visit.  But below is the result when he tried to crack it.  Ouch.

Welts raised by my new bullwhip in the hands of a man who doesn't know how to crack one.  He was lucky.  The thing is capable of cutting to the bone.

I thought it would be easy to teach people how to crack a bullwhip. Apparently I was wrong.  So far I've managed to teach the skill to nobody, and have only succeeded in inflicting pain on two of my friends.  Fortunately David came back for more, and I had to convince him to stop trying when I couldn't stand to watch anymore.  He says he wants a bullwhip of his own.

And What Did You Do Before Your Wedding?

 Now we're renovating a bathroom in the days before our wedding.

Ruth at work renovating her bathroom in the Bhigg House.  Winnipeg, Manitoba

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