Route 66


Hi friends, I began this project to get back to blogging, perhaps writing humour shorts again for a magazine from yet a new adventure. I thought I could put this material with many of the stories about other trips I have taken and finish off a travel book.  Park on the Road, would be an appropriate name. I really had not taken a big adventure since my accident and I certainly had not written anything worthwhile so I thought perhaps it was time to get back on that horse.  What I learned is when  your horse dies… dismount and move on, by foot if necessary.

I discovered something I am sure most of you already know and that is what you find on an adventure has little to do with discovering new things about the places you go, the people you meet or the things you see but rather what you discover about  yourself.

What I discovered in the end is that this will be my last adventure and probably my last series of blogs.  As we travel through them I am sure  you will agree what I learned was of value and it is time to put this horse down.

For me this is a sad realization because I have not seen what is behind the other doors yet, but I am sure something exciting is waiting me.  Let me know if you enjoy any of the stories.

Thanks,  Layton

Wainwright – AB:

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A friend who doesn’t want to be made famous in my blog, so I will refer to him as the Orange Runner, as in Rum Runner (someone who runs across international boarders with contraband, to be explained in a later chapter) and I packed up the old motorhome and headed out from Edmonton.

The goal was to reach a ¼ Ton and LA by the end of October. That means adding 9,500 kilometers (6,000 miles) to the RV and losing 60 lbs. between us. The later seemed a pretty tall order so we changed it to ¼ tonne which means we only have to lose 10 lbs. between us a much more realistic goal.

We got away late in the afternoon so we only traveled about 200 km to Wainwright where my old friend Morley told us to stop by and he would throw a bar-b-q for us. Maybe the thought of losing any weight is unrealistic. As we pulled into Wainwright he called to say he was riding his Harley from Lloydminster so would we mind picking up the stake and meet him at his beautiful hide-a-way. Unsure of what he might have to go with it we picked up potatoes, sour cream, corn on the cob and some beer. We arrived at his beautiful log home and started preparing supper when another old friend Terry Sharpe showed up with a 114 foot long motorhome and slide outs that added five more rooms to his unit. He was soon followed by Morley riding in on his bug coated bright yellow Harley.

As Morley dismounted the bar-b-q ran out of propane and he said he would go get some however Terry had an extra tank in his motorhome and we continued with the potatoes and corn. Morley mixed up an incredible rub for the stakes and the meal got underway. Of course Terry had to go back to his motorhome and get some butter for the corn but Morley did have the salt and pepper so we were happy he had invited us.

Of course this is not typical of Morley’s hospitality I just enjoy pointing this out as his hospitality is usually as perfect, as the meal turned out in the end.

Morley’s sheds and garages provide home to an awesome collection of vehicles. The new shed included a: 1958 Apache truck, two 50 mercury’s, one a great hot rod, a 49 Mercury convertible, a 1932 International truck, A 1949 Hudson Wasp, A 38 Hudson rat rod, a1954 Buick, a 50 Ford one ton, and more, but I just didn’t remember them all.

The older shop had a 1928 Indian with a 1939 engine, a Indian bike and side car, and seven Harleys, one of each engine design… sorry photos did not turn out.

Morley’s Barns turned out be as good as a museum as one might find in most towns and more importantly is that each vehicle comes with it’s own unique story.

Day one was ;short but complete and we had a good nights rest and were ready to begin the journey.

There will be many more stories to this adventure… stay tuned.

Unreserved!


Miss Kitty at workI

Miss Kitty Pickles at Work!

I hope to get this blog to the attention of “Unreserved,” the name of a popular CBC radio show hosted by Rosanna Deerchild, and reporter Connie Walker, who take you behind the headlines of the top trending stories from Indigenous Canada.  There are some very interesting stories and today it made me think of one of my own.

I was raised in a town that had three reserves nearby, yet growing up in the 50’s I only knew three or four indigenous people. We all have prejudices, as by definition the word simply means preconceived ideas or beliefs.  The prejudices I have about my children, friends and relatives are all quite positive. The general definition today, however is that prejudices are all negative. Words become emotionally charged and we learn to associate positive or negative emotions around them based on what we were exposed to and learned in our youth.

Take the word “Indian” for example.  That was the word used in my town to mean people from the reserves, not always in a positive light although my definition was defined by the popular western movies of the day. In my mind it was a better word for the proud Indigenous people in the movies.  Today I have a number of Indigenous friends, some who prefer the word and are proud to be called Indian.  One told me it is what his grandparents, parents and reserve called themselves Indian and he prefers to do so as well.

Another becomes quite defensive and says the word to him is an insult because although he is Aboriginal he grew up with a white family in a white community and the word Indian was used as a slur in describing him and his people so he prefers Aboriginal, First Nations or Indigenous, but never Indian.  The same word but one enjoys a positive feeling with the word the other a negative feeling based on prejudices he experienced to it.  For that reason I restrain from using the word Indian in my blogs but there are some circumstances in which I feel the word works better and may use it but only with the most respect.

I got my first buckskin jacket at five and have owned several since.  I fell in love with Indigenous art at a young age and have acquired a large number of pieces.  I was once accused of approporating their culture because of it and it made me became somewhat concerned about showing it off. Then I met an Indigenous lady who was head of a Federal Aboriginal Art Museum in Ottawa, who told me she also answers proudly to being called Indian.  She explained that I am not appropriating their culture as it is important for non-Aboriginals to enjoy and buy the art work of Aboriginal artists or the artists cannot make a living.

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The bear is on the right

Which brings me to the reason, after a long silence, I need to send this blog out today.

It seems I am being blessed daily by having more and more First Nations people right here in my family.

It started with my son-in-law who I am proud to say is a member and councillor for the Haisla First Nations and who has now given me two beautiful Haisla grandchildren.

Apparently, my other daughter has a part Cherokee grandchild on the way for me as well.

Today I learned from Ancestry.com’s DNA test that one of my daughter-in-laws is part First Nations as well, something she didn’t know but may explain her beautiful dark hair, skin and eyes.

Finally the reason for today’s post is to introduce you to my youngest daughter-in-law, the First Nation artist known as Miss Kitty Pickles.

Miss Kitty Pickles is an Alberta Aboriginal artist with a very difficult but interesting past.  Born to an indigenous mother and white father she was bullied while living on the reserve for being too small, too white and probably too cute. Her parents separated and then her mother died when she was still very young. Kitty left the reserve and got by with the help of her fraternal grandfather but when his wife became ill and later died, Kitty left to be on her own as a young teenager.

After a few years struggling to get by, she met my artistic son who recognized and began promoting her artistic talents. She decided the best way for her to be a paid well as an artists was to become a tattoo artist and now is doing very well and she still sells her flat work as well.

Indigenous art and artists are now being recognized for their true value and although Miss Kitty does not limit herself to traditional subject matter, she has a most unique style. Kitty is bright, kind and well spoken, although a little shy but I am sure that she will one day be recognized as a Great Canadian artist.  She just needs to get more or better exposure to help fast-track her success.

I am hoping you will help in promoting her and her art by sharing this blog. Perhaps it will find its way to “Unreserved” or some other media that will interview her and help show her artistic talents and intellect.

Please view and share her web, buy an original, print or tattoo while she is still affordable.

Thank you.

Layton

Samples of the work of Miss Kitty Pickles:

The art of the resilient and talented young artist known as Kitty Pickles can be seen on her Facebook pages as well, Links below:

https://www.facebook.com/artofmisskitty/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011490285315&sk=photos&collection_token=100011490285315%3A2305272732%3A5&lst=576366744%3A100011490285315%3A1493574139

 

 

Does Bad Service Make You Angry or Laugh?


Normally when I experience bad service it makes me laugh because of the irony of it all.  Companies spend millions of dollars promoting and advertising as to why customers should do business with them, only to have some half-wit undo their investment by making clients angry.shell-in-mission

Case in point today.  I stopped at the Lower Mission Shell station, to fill up my truck.  Just as I started my phone rang and I answered it.  An old lady came out of the building and across the parking lot waging her thumb and finger around her ear signaling phone and yelling I can’t use a cell phone at the pumps.  I looked at the pump and saw no sign but decided to comply and quit pumping. I walked over to the sidewalk to finish the call but she was not satisfied.

The old lady walked over to the next pump and pushed the intercom and asked the attendant inside to cut my pump off.  I started laughing and the fellow in the other end of the call asked what was so funny and I told him this snarky old lady was giving me a rude and bad time about the use of my iPhone. She obviously overheard my comment and spun around then grabbing her jacket she tore it open like she was the queen of Bourbon street during the New Orleans Mardi Gras.  Unfortunately, it only exposed a Shell shirt as old and worn as herself so I smiled and waved as she pointed to her shirt and hollered she was the manager.

I ended the call and got back in my truck with only $30 worth of gas but decided I would buy it somewhere else, after all gas at all the stations is the same price and comes from the same refineries, so why put up with this Gas Nazi.

As I drove away I thought, I buy more fuel per month that this person makes but she has just drove a customer away from her place of employment.  Maybe she was not the manager, maybe she was even a special needs person just working there, but if so why would the man inside follow her direction?

I couldn’t let it go so. I thought customer service like this hurts us all as we all profit from the tourist industry so when someone acts like this it leaves all visitors with the wrong impression of our city.  So, I decided I should investigate it further as I was sure she was wrong.  A quick google turned up numerous sites claiming cellphones igniting gas stations to be nothing more than a myth or urban legend.

On the CANADA SAFETY COUNCIL web site, I found the following:

“Dr. A. Burgess studied all formal reports on gas station fires in great detail. He established the fact that there has not been a single confirmed incident where a cell phone has ignited gasoline vapors. There is now official acknowledgement of a lack of any evidence that a spark caused by a cell phone would ignite gasoline vapours.

Use of cellular phones at gas stations will not ignite a fire or cause an explosion.”

I don’t plan to go back to this station but if you do perhaps you should share this blog and tell the manager that this employee is not only losing him business she is giving all Kelowna a bad name when it comes to customer service.

 

7 Reasons to Blog


I was reminded today these 7 reasons to blog.  Maybe that will motivate me to get going again.  What excuses are you using not to influence or make someone else smile?

1. Influence the world – successful bloggers get noticed and become trusted advisors, being able to influence decisions made by others

2. Raise your game – blogging forces you to continually expand yourself and gain more knowledge in your area, because you constantly need fresh content to engage your audience with

3. Help others – no, it’s not a cliché! Blogging is a simple way to improve the lives of others and a great way to give back to your community through helpful and practical content

4. Networking – other experts in your industry are always looking for potential partners to work with…and your blog is a great way to get noticed and attract the ‘A’ players in your field

5. Discover more – simply listening to your audience helps you gain so much insight into your own business and how you can help people with their daily problems

6. Engage to sell – engaging with your audience and understanding what their problems are means you can create products based on what they need and what they want. This means helping them while also making money!

7. Become an author – ever wanted to write a book but didn’t know how? Blogging is perfect for you to talk about topics which are important and once you’ve built a good audience, you can simply put your content together into a book and sell it!

A book for ID 10TS


There is an old joke that states that 1 out of 3 people are idiots. If you look at the person who lives on your right and they seem okay, then you look at the person who lives to your left and they too seem okay then it is you who are the idiot.images

They (who ever they are – I suspect they work for Google) say that there is a little truth in all humour. I spent a lifetime either as an unconscious incompetent or trying to justify or hide my idiocy with humour. To understand that statement you have to understand the four core competencies of everything.

  1. Unconscious Incompetent – someone who doesn’t know they don’t know. For example learning to type. Someone, from a newly discovered tribe who has never seen a typewriter (Oh wait that could be right her in North America) or keyboard would not know they don’t know how to type.
  2. Conscious Incompetent – is the person who has been introduced to the keyboard or typewriter and now knows they do not know how to type.
  3. Conscious Competent – is what they become when the learn how to type but have to think about each letter and finger in order to do so because they know they know but it takes thought.
  4. Unconscious Competent – with a great deal of experience, perhaps Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, the person’s fingers now fly over the key board typing words as fast as the mind thinks of them without ever thinking about the letters or the keys. They now don’t know or think about what they know it just comes automatically. This applies to everything from riding a bike to flying a jet.

In any event I thought it should be the start to a new book called ID 10TS, which is what the geeks always say is the code for what is wrong with my computer. Either that or they say I have a PICNIC problem

But I digress. The purpose of this book is to explain some of the fundamental places where we all go wrong and when it comes to going wrong, I have completed my 10,000 hours, left turns, or mistakes so I can call myself an expert in this department.

Now I know what I should have done but time has stolen most of the youth I need to do it.

This is not a poor me book, as I am sure that everyone, no matter how accomplished, thinks the same thing. If I only knew then, what I know now! Code for ID 10TS!

What do you think? Would you like to contribute?

 

 

 


My son-in-law was driving my 4 year-old granddaughter and her 2 year old brother, Damon, when he heard her begin chanting; “Don’t say the F word! Don’t say the F word! Don’t say the F word!”

My son-in-law, who I have never heard use the “F” word, pulled over and turned to the back seat, “What are you saying?”

I said, “Don’t say the F word!”

“But why would you say that?”

“Because the F-word means cookies and if you say it Damon will not eat his supper.”

“Honey, Cookies doesn’t start with F it starts with C.”

Sitting back she crossed her arms and said, “Oh!”

Thought about it then started chanting, “Don’t use the C word, don’t say the C word!’

I was reminded of this incident this morning when someone posted a funny Lewis Black clip of him reading a resignation letter from an 18 year-old Mormon. The piece was clever, well written and very funny, however the use of the F-bomb kept me from reposting it.

I know it is 2015 and everyone uses it. George Carlin had a very funny and famous piece about the seven words you can’t use on television, in which this world played a prominent role. Unfortunately George is gone and so are the rules around the seven words. An any given night you can hear them on TV, except for the kids channel, in which Sesame Street has yet to say, “Todays show is brought to you by the letter F.”

It’s not the use of the word that bothered me so much but as a writer I squirm whenever the same word is used three times in every sentence, no matter what the word.  I rubs, like, like, you know what I mean, like.

At one time the word was reserved to express; anger, frustration, pain, surprise, shock, or as an insult or description of an action. Now it is used as filler and soon Toast Masters will have to add it to the list of Um’s and Awes to be counted so speakers realize how many times they use it.

This over use is watering down its true effectiveness, and soon it will have no more value than yelling the word spoon and its use will disappear from our lexicon.

What else can I yell when I am outraged? “Damn!” At one time that was a bad word, remember Clark Gable shocking the world at the end of Gone With The Wind, when he uttered those famous words, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”  OMG!

We are fast approaching the point where there will be no effective words to use in such a scene. Even my Granddaughters word, “Cookie” doesn’t fit. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a cookie!” just won’t fit.

So join with me lets only use the word where it belongs, put it back in its fucking place.

Thank you.

Quick thoughts…


What are they thinking… or are they?

My friend John Geha posted, Someone just came up to me at Starbucks and asked if I was Mr. Furiess (I guess a person he is supposed to meet) I said no, he looked at me and said, “are you sure?”
Now I am beginning to wonder?

I attended a week long writing conference with a number of world best selling authors giving courses.  During one course two of the students begin talking about the main character in a series of books when one said, “She wasn’t married until the second book.”

“No she was married in the first book.”  A distracting debate began forcing the instructor to step in.

“I’m sorry she is right, the protagonist was not married until the second book.” the instructor said as she began to carry on.

“No she was married in the second book”  The second speaker now turned her debate to the instructor who responded,

“The protagonist was not married in the first book.” The first speaker began to speak to further argue her case when the instructor continued.

“Remember, I wrote the books.”

They do walk among us!

Help me wake Hotels Up!


I hear that most large corporations have programs that scan the net to see who is saying what about them. I need help in spreading this to see if they actually do.  I mean this is as big as building a wall around the US and everyone is ignoring it.  So Hilton, Marriott, Westin, Delta, Holiday Inn and Super 8 pay attention!

The population is getting older and as a leading edge Boomer I can tell if a quarter is heads or tails from half a mile away but I can’t read anything less than an 18 font.  I especially can’t read beige print on a white bottle when my eyes are full of water, like when I am in the shower. So why do hotels shampoo suppliers print the three little bottles in the bathroom, in 2 point font?  It’s not just the printing but when Shampoo,shampoo-commercial Conditioner and Body Wash is written on the bottle, they surround it in French and descriptors such as mint, energizing, forest glade, herbs, plus the name of most every flower making it damn hard to see which bottle I have. Are we naming a garden or a product for my hair?

I end up starting with conditioner, then the shampoo and finishing off with body wash.  My hair doesn’t swoop when I move my head like my stand in model in the photo, or shine in the sun, except for the parts that no longer have hair. I am getting mad as hell!
I thought about using a seeing eye dog, but I’m sure you saw the picture I took of my dog backed up to a post that held a sign showing a dog pooping with the international circle and slash through it.  You guessed it-my dog can’t read and chose that signpost to poop on so I doubt he would be any help in the shower.  The wife says there is not enough room for her to come in and help me. Truth is she can’t see the small print either. I just threw that image in to freak out the kids.  “WHAT!  You and mom in the shower at the same time, NO! I don’t want to imagine that!”  It’s little fillers like this that keeps them from reading and commenting on my blogs.

So getting back to the matter at hand, can you help me flood the net with this problem so someone looks at it seriously and does something about it?  Having water in all the Boomers’ eyes is a bigger deal than someone exposing only their eyes because of her niqab, yet she is getting all the press. No one seems to care about us.  Maybe this needs to be a political issue.  Where do you think our three leaders would stand on this issue?

I’m sure young Trudeau doesn’t care because he is young enough to see and has a tag along hair stylist, Mulcair obviously doesn’t care and does not have much hair anyway.  Harper had his hair cemented in place before he called the election and an assistant reads the small print to him, so he doesn’t care either.

Once again us Boomers are left to figure things out on our own unless the hotel industry reads this and steps up to the plate so please Like and Repost it so we get this issue the attention it deserves.