Category Archives: Thanks

Ya gotta eat.

Food is one of those necessities that, like oxygen and water, you don’t survive long without. You can wear you clothes to tatters, you can live in a tent, you can live on the street – but you’ve got to eat to live.

It is because you have no choice about eating, that the rising cost of food imposes such a burden on the poor – and those who endeavour to ensure those who cannot afford this necessity of life, get enough food to sustain life.

Which is why Saturday January 22 found the Thursday Night BBQers holding their first ever fundraiser to help cover the rising cost of the food – costs that until now have come out of their own pockets.

Many people find sustenance at the Thursday BBQ and on their (and my own) behalf I want to proffer thankful appreciation to those who made raising funds to defray rising food costs possible.

Thanks to Immanuel Fellowship Baptist Church who provided the use of their parking lot and assorted accoutrements to hold the fundraiser – a BBQ/bake sale/flea market.

Thanks to those who donated items, baked goods et al to be sold.

Thanks to the BBQers who gave their time not only to put on Thursday’s repast but put in all the additional time required to put on the fundraiser – so they could continue to spend time providing a Thursday night repast.

Thanks to the volunteers who gave their time to assisting in putting on the fundraiser, most generously giving up their Saturday to put on the fund raiser.
Special thanks to those who came out to support the fun raiser with their wallets. The success of any fundraiser lies in the members of the community who come out and open their wallets to contribute. Some of who simply came by to make a donation – or to pay (when you do the math) outrages prices for (admittedly tasty – but not THAT tasty) smokies and burgers.

For a community to be whole and healthy it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other – for without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.

Cavalier’s Saga rolls on

The Saga continues ……

Recapping: four trips to the insurance brokers to get the paperwork done; multiple jumpstarts to get it home; battery won’t hold charge; reconditioned battery not properly conditioned, strain burns out alternator leaving me stranded on Lakeview Terrace with a car that is not going anywhere under its own power without an alternator and a battery that will destroy any new (to the car) alternator; trade the VW I lived in while homeless for a used alternator and its installation, loaned a battery to get home, hooked up re-conditioned battery to trickle charger to charge and condition it, left 5 days because I was to nervous/wary/scared to drive car before that …

… and on the fifth day started the engine and drove to sign over ownership of the VW. Before stepping into the Insurance Brokers the battery was tested and proved to be fully charged, staying cool when charging and the alternator/battery was charging fine.

Driving away … the engine started overheating. The following day it overheated on the way to lunch. Discussing this state of affairs with my things mechanical advisory board over lunch I was advised to purchase and install a new thermostat. Returning home and switching to the dependable Duster, I drove to get the new thermostat for the Cavalier.

The next day I drove down to meet with the person who offered to install the thermostat if I bought and brought a thermostat to lunch Saturday. Unfortunately they were unable to be there to change the thermostat. Fortune did provide someone who could install the thermostat – after they finished work. Patience … Patience … Patience … and the old thermostat comes out in two pieces to be replaced with a shiny new thermostat.

With the new thermostat installed I drive away filled with trepidation, Which proved unfounded as the engine heated up properly and remained cool.

With the engine running at the proper temperature and my attention no longer focused so singularly on the engine temperature my senses were open to notice that there was hesitancy in the engine and its response, like a runner short of energy or oxygen.

Consulting with my advisors I secured new sparkplugs but when we went to install them it developed that my sparkplug tool lacked the depth of reach to change the Cavaliers sparkplugs. Once I had followed the advice on where to obtain appropriate tools to do the job, at an good (affordable to me price), we pulled the first plug. When that plug, and a subsequent sparkplug checked just to be sure, proved in very good shape I was off to return the plugs and secure air and fuel filters.

When we went to install the air filter it proved to be the wrong size. A return trip to Lordco revealed that the computer showed that air filter as the correct air filter for the Cavalier. Stymied, the person helping me was forced to resort to desperate measures – the actual paper catalogue. The printed catalogue showed the same air filter as in the computer … and a second air filter that proved to be the correct size. Books are such useful and entertaining friends to have around – you should take a book out for a read today.

The new air filter was installed, replacing the completely black old filter.

Then it was on to the fuel filter which is located under the car between the fuel tank and the rear axle. Fortunately I had looked up the location on the internet; unfortunately it was where it was.

With the location and design it is impossible not to have a volume of gasoline spill out when changing the filter. Indeed the gentleman who shimmied under the car to change the filter had to take a fresh air break before finishing the installation.

When we drained the remaining fuel out of the old filter the gas was dirty; suggesting that it might be a good idea at some future point to drop the gas tank and drain/clean it.

Driving away, the engine was running better. So much better that it blew the (rusted?) baffles in the muffler; leaving a muffler that looks fine to an exterior inspection but that, when shaken, rattles to reveal its lack of interior soundness.

Primal Scream; hang and slowly shake head. Take a very deep breath hold it and slowly release it – repeat as needed to reach a state of calmness.

I found myself reluctant to replace the muffler, wondering once the muffler was fixed what next? Hey – it’s not paranoia if the Universe is really out to get you.

However one of the things they do not warn you about when they encourage you to seek mental health recovery and wellness is that it severely compromises your ability to procrastinate. I use to be able to procrastinate with the best of procrastinators. But now healthy ways of thinking do not permit me to procrastinate until something simple turns into a crisis of mountainous proportions.

Being reluctant to discover what would (will) happen after the muffler was repaired I decided to take care of a small repair that should have no consequences. So I headed off to the auto wreckers to find a replacement licence plate holder since the one on the Cavalier was broken, leaving the front plate held by a single screw and flapping in the wind.

Better to take care of the matter before I paid the procrastination price on this by getting a ticket and fine for driving without a front licence plate.

It developed that the Universe was not about to let me procrastinate on the muffler front. At the wreckers I ran into a friend who, having heard me drive in, said he could get me a new muffler cheap. He made a phone call and I was off and procured a new muffler for $40. How could I say no to a new muffler at that price? I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.

With the new muffler in the trunk I headed off to the library. All the way to the library the muffler was whispering to me – ‘I’m here in the trunk all shiny and new, anxious to be installed and muffle ….’ It kept up its whispering campaign while I was in the library; reaching the point I was forced, for the sake of my sanity and peace-and-quiet in my head, to e-mail a friend with a floor jack asking whether he would be able to install the muffler.

Shortly after I arrived home I received an e-mail suggesting a time the next morning which I accepted with alacrity.

I arrived at his place the next morning, backed in, blocked the front tire; he jacked up the rear end, set up the support brace and proceeded to remove the old muffler. Using his van I made a quick trip to get two new clamps to attach the muffler and Voila! it was done.

A piece of advice: you want to make sure that among your friends who know their way around cars that at least one of them has a set of tools (air/impact wrenches, SawAll, hand held grinder, sockets and wrenches up the wazoo, etc…) that is the envy of every guy.

After a cold pop and conversation on what is going on with homelessness around Abbotsford it was time to fire up the Cavalier. After which I drove quietly home.

As I finish typing this the Cavalier sits in front while I sit here hoping that repairing the muffler does not cause some other domino to fall; that the Universe is through testing or playing with me vis-à-vis the Cavalier and that this is the end of the Saga of Repairs and Headaches.

Afterword: People tend to give me strange looks when I say that I do not regret my journey through mental illness. But while this journey may have replaced the richness of my bank account with poverty, it has also replaced my poverty of friends with a richness of friends and people in my life who will lend me a helping hand when a ‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth’ gift horse turns out to be a bit of a Trojan horse

Post Script: To those who so generosity lent a hand a sincere Thank You.

Healing Garden.

The opening ceremonies for the Healing Garden behind the Salvation Army Centre of Hope were held Saturday June 13, 2009. It was an opportunity for local politicians to speak and for thanks to be expressed to those who had donated funds or materials to this project.

While the homeless truly appreciate these donations, we know that without Dave Darbey this area would still be patchy grass and weeds. It was Dave who, looking at patchy grass and weeds, saw what could be. It was Dave Darbey and Judy Williams who lavished the hours and sweat equity into the garden.

Others may have come alongside from time to time to contribute labour, but it was Dave and Judy who were the common denominators as the ponds and cascading water flows were dug with pick and shovel under the blazing sun last summer; as the piles of soil and rock disappeared wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow out of the store parking lot, around the building and into the garden area; as throughout the cold and wet of winter the garden continued to take shape; as places for greenhouse and seating were dug out of the hillsides during the rain and cold of the winter; as that greenhouse produced plants this spring; as over time pant materials were planted; as the Healing Garden was brought to life.

While the homeless may have questioned the sanity (or lack thereof) of Dave and Judy, there was never any question about the labour and love they poured into the Healing Garden to bring it to bloom.

It is because of this labour of love that the Healing Garden is a place of healing. Sitting there listening to the sound of water as it tumbles musically over the stones into the pond one can feel the stress wash away; seeking/finding peace, perhaps even serenity, as the love and good will lavished on creating the Healing Garden touch wounded/battered Spirits.

The official opening does not mean that, as in other public gardens, the Healing Garden is completed. Rather, it merely marks a point in the life of the Garden. Dave Darbey’s vision is not of a static, finished garden but of a garden that, like Life, flows and changes with the seasons and the passage of time.

It is this continual progression and growth, the additional investment of sweat equity and care, which will continue to make this space a Healing Garden.

It is in the example of Dave Darbey and Judy Williams that the possibility of making Abbotsford a Healing Community, a transcendent place to heal, recover and live lies revealed.


Climbing out of the car into the brisk cold of the evening air served as a crisp reminder that it has been an unusually snowy and cold winter.

As a result of the snow and cold the extreme weather protocols for the opening of extra beds for the homeless have been in effect most nights since the beginning of December.

The consequence for the local churches that signed on to provide extra beds in December (Grace Church), January (Seven Oaks Alliance) and February (Emmanuel Mennonite Church) was the need to be open most of the nights in the month they were covering. These churches have also stepped in to provide beds for our continued unseasonable weather this March.

Thank you, it was and is much appreciated.

A Thank You needs also be extended to Faith Bible Church and all the volunteers who stepped in to provide a sheltered place for the Thursday night barbeque to be held. Shiver. A very warm Thank You.

Again Thank you, it was and is much appreciated.

Then there is Pastor Andy Kwak and his magnificent Sunday Brunch together with the usual suspects: the folks of the Calvin Tuesday dinner, the FVCC with music and a meal on Friday night, the good people of the Sunday blue bus and the ever popular pancake breakfast at the APA.

Thank You all.

Wishing all a …

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada great (not to imply that Canada is necessarily greater than any other country), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:
-This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal.
-It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting.
-It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.