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Beau's Journey » 2007 » September

Archive: September, 2007

September 29, 2007: Added a new KIVA Partner


About the Entrepreneur

Name: Hanifa Ismoilova
Location: Kairakkum, Tajikistan
Business Name: Sales of perfumes and miscellaneous small items
Activity: Perfumes
Repayment Term: 7 months – repaid monthly
Loan Use: To increase the assortment of goods and add underwear to the product selection

Hanifa Ismoilova has been selling perfumes and “a thousand of small items” for 12 years. She has high school education. Hanifa is a widowed mother of 4 children. Each of Hanifa’s grownup children has their own family. Hanifa started her business by selling “a thousand of small items.” In 2005, she received her first MicroInvest loan. Then, she had $250 in business assets. After receiving and carefully investing multiple MicroInvest loans, Hanifa added perfumes to her product selection and moved to a cozier store under more favorable conditions. In the future, Hanifa plans to add underwear to her selection of products.

Translated from Russian by Aleksandr Zhuk, Kiva Volunteer.

Исмоилова Ханифа занимается продажей парфюмерий и тысячи мелочей вот уже 12лет. Вдова, мать четверых детей, образование среднее. Каждый из детей имеют отдельную семью. Начала свою деятельность с продажи тысячи мелочей. В 2005году начала кредитоваться в МЗФ «Микроинвест», тогда её активы составляли 250$. После неоднократного получения зама и целевого использования она добавила в ассортимент товара парфюмерию, перешла на другой магазин более уютное и с хорошими условиями. На будущее планирует добавить в ассортимент и нижнее бельё.


September 28, 2007: Evening in London


  Well after a rainy day the precip has finally moved out as of late evening.  There are a few sprinkles still around.  Hopefully the heaviest rain is over.  We are going to visit Portobello Market tomorrow.  This is a street (and indoor) market where you can find antiques and collectibles.  I visited the area last time I was in London and I had a good time.  It is fun to see all of the "stuff" that people are selling.  There are some nice antiques.  You never know what you might find!

  This afternoon we walked around Hyde Park.  This is a LARGE park for those who have not been to London  It seems to me that it is actually larger than Central Park in New York City.  I would say we walked for about 2 or 3 hours.  There are a lot of memorials within the park itself.  We stopped by the Princess Diana Memorial.  A few others as well.  We also dropped by "Speakers Corner" and listened to a guy preaching.  Speakers Corner is a portion of the park where people can get up and talk about anything they want.  Sometimes you will have a dozen or more people talking at once.  I would imagine there are a lot of politics being tossed around. 

  We had a great dinner at a Lebanese Restaurant.  The name of the restaurant is Al Hamra.  Great food.  I love Lebanese food.  Hard to find in Paducah!


 One of the memorials in Hyde Park



I love the huge lions





So these guards in from of the Queens Palace used
to carry rifles.  Not anymore.  Yeesh that is a big



London now has THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of these cameras.  Everywhere
you go you are on camera.  They track every car and every person!  Amazing
when you think about it.


All of these televisions sets have houses for sale on their screen.  The screen changes
every few seconds.  Soooo Tony…perhaps one day 🙂 


September 28, 2007: London, England


  It is a rainy day here in London.  We visited an art exhibit that Doug suggested for us.  Then we walked around and got wet.  🙂  It is amazing how many cabs there are when it isn’t raining.  🙂  I love the rain though…so it was all good.  I suppose David thought so as well.  At least I didn’t hear him complaining about the subject.

  A few photos from today.

That would be in the classic London phone booth 🙂



This is Beau Drummel – not sure about relation.  David thinks he is
definitely related to me.  I can see the resemblance.


That would be Franklin D. Roosevelt and Beau Dodson…oh and Churchill.



September 27, 2007: Evening. We have made it to London.


  Reporting live on the scene from Downtown London!  Just a post to say we made it safely through the airport circus.  It actually wasn’t all that bad.




September 27, 2007: Walking around town this morning…


  We are heading for London at 2 p.m. this afternoon.   We should be in the city by early evening.  I spent most of the morning walking around and enjoying the fresh air.  The rain has actually stopped for a little bit!  Imagine that.  Lot of low clouds hanging around. 

  You know what I love about Europe?  I love the architecture of the houses.  They are so colorful and detailed.  Not the cookie cutter homes that we build back in the states.  These houses actually have passion.  You can tell that the people love to take care of their property.  Lot of flowers and bushes.  Roses growing up the sides of doorways.  Beautiful design on the windows and doors.  A lot of houses have rooftop patios.  I believe Sue taught me that those are called "the widows walk".  At least that is what we call them in the states.

  Here are a few photos from this morning. 











September 27, 2007: Still raining here!


  I did not sleep so well last night.  I think I did better the night before.  I woke up this morning to rain!  It was raining when I went to bed you know.  Looks like a rainy day ahead.  Chilly outside as well with temperatures in the 50s.

  They have one English channel here.  CNN World.  The problem is they keep playing the same news stories over and over again.  They change it once or twice a day.  Not that exciting though.  I have all of the news stories memorized!  They do have MTV but it is in German.  I don’t know that many German words so that is no good for me.  🙂  I did listen to their music for a couple of hours last night though.  Music is music…even if I can’t understand the words. 

  We leave for London this afternoon.  I believe our cab will be here around 2 p.m.  That should put us in Britain during the early evening hours.  Perhaps we can find that nice Lebanese Restaurant.  I love Lebanese food.


This is the market area of the town.  Farmers bring their produce here to sell.


City center – Radoltzen, Germany


Some of the colorful houses along the street.

Fall is in the air.


Radoltzen, Germany


Radoltzen, Germany


City center – Radoltzen, Germany



Train pushes through Radoltzen.


I stumbled across some wildlife 🙂



I stumbled across these sheep.  They appear to be eating their lunch.


Then the sheep noticed that I was taking their photograph.


Sheep paparazzi busted!


This is the hotel we are staying in.  Radoltzen, Germany


September 26, 2007: The Poetry of Rain


  Germany is wet.  The last time I visited Germany it was wet.  This time it is quite wet!  So the word of the day is – yes that is correct – "WET".  We have been experiencing showers all evening.  It is a season of rain that has fallen upon Germany. 

  I walked over to the bird sanctuary and stood underneath a pier for awhile.  The raindrops still managed to find their way down between the wooden planks and onto my head.  🙂  It was nice though.  I love and enjoy the rain.  I have no idea why.  I guess I am just weird like that.  The low scud clouds drifting over the hills in the distance, the sound of raindrops hitting the lake water, a few birds singing their songs, and the distant fog hanging over the little village across the way.  Nature has a way of writing her own poetry.  Without our help.  This scene in front of me was obviously one of those poems.

  All of this made for a wonderfully calm moment.  A moment of complete solitude.  Peaceful.  Just the way I like it.  These type of spots are rare in themselves.  We have all found them though.  Stumbled across them i should say.  We have all felt that warm feeling inside of us.  A sigh of calm comes over you.  You know at that moment that you are right where you are supposed to be.  Just you and nature. 


A boy watches
the lake in front of him
that is from left to right

A silence surrounds him
as far as the hills in front
to behind him within the trees

The water pitters
and patters
as raindrops fall

He sighs in awe
warm feelings inside
leaning against the wooden piling

The sky has grown deep
as if written for rain
wisps of fog sleeping on the hills

The voice of the wind
moves through the reeds
rustling and waking the lake



The little lake where i watched the clouds and rain

The birds didn’t’ seem to mind the rain.



September 26, 2007: Germany


  I woke up last night about 7 p.m. Central Time – that is about 2 a.m. here in Radoltzen, Germany.  WIDE awake.  My body thinks it is 7 p.m.   I did manage to go back to sleep after about an hour.  I chatted on-line for a bit.  Caught up on the latest news from the BBC and checked out the weather of course.

  Woke up this morning to a cloudy sky.  Light rain was falling.  More of a drip here and a drip there.  Not too bad.  So I packed my camera up and threw on a jacket and headed outside.  The downtown city center is about a mile from where I am staying.  Not a bad walk at all.  It is always fun to walk around a town you are not familiar with.  This town has a lot of cobblestone streets.  The main city center has been cut off from vehicles.  Lot of people walking around and a few bikes.  I sat by the fountain for awhile and just watched people walk around. 

  Near the church in the center of the town there were a lot of people selling flowers, vegetables, farm produce, and a few arts and crafts.  I believe the outdoor produce market is a daily event.  With the dreary sky above and the bright colors of flowers and vegetables below it made for a nice walk. 

  I am tired now though!  Perhaps a nap is in order.  I guess everyone is just starting to wake up back home.  It is 6 a.m. in Toronto and 5 a.m. in Paducah.

  We are heading for London on Thursday afternoon.  I was hoping to catch Paul Potts…the opera guy that I posted about a few months ago.  He is not performing though.  Perhaps another time!  He does have a new cd out…I will have to see if they have it for sale in the city.

 Nice foggy morning here in Southwest Germany



that would be me with the fountain art 


Still a lot of flowers blooming around this small town


Some fall colors as well!


Memories of the war…



City center


Lot of flowers for sale in the produce market




September 25, 2007: Evening in Germany


  A chilly evening here in Germany.  Temperatures are now in the 50s with on and off light rain.  We walked to a nice little restaurant on the Bodensee.  I hope I spelled that correctly.  🙂  Nice sunset with all of the sunrays, clouds, and rain.  This is a little town…wouldn’t call it a city.  Probably smaller than Paducah.   Seems like a safe area though. 

  My sister called and said that there was heavy rain in Paducah.  This is good news since we are experiencing drought across my home region.  Looks like more rain through tonight.  So good news for that area!

  I took a few photos this evening…


Little rowboat on the sea

Sunset in Germany


September 25, 2007: Arrived safely overseas


  We arrived in Switzerland at 1 p.m.  Started the journey at 6 p.m. yesterday.  So not bad I guess!  The plane finally left the ground around 11 p.m. last night.  It was a bumpy flight…lot of bad weather.  I slept most of the time though.  I was worn out.   So we arrived in Switzerland safely and a car picked us up and drove us to Southwest Germany.  We are in the little town of  Radoltzen.  This is located about one hour from Zurich and it on a large lake.  There is some kind of festival going on in the area.  October fest I would imagine.  We are staying a small Inn named Christine.  There are residential houses around us.   Just starting to wake up here.  All is well.


Out the back door.

More later…going to eat


September 24, 2007: Plane troubles…stuck at airport


  Well we made it all the way to Montreal and then they turned the plane around and flew us back to Toronto.  Some problems with the heating and air condition.  I guess it was a round trip to Montreal!!!  Hopefully they will get us back up in the air before midnight.  I have a feeling it might be a LONG night ahead.  Oh well…at least they got us home safely!


September 24, 2007: BBC Animal Photos – OMG :)


  These photos were posted on the BBC News Site.  Way too cute to pass up!  You can view more here at this link.  Maybe there is still hope for the world.  🙂  At least if these guys can get along perhaps we can all get along.


A pair of Sumatran tiger cubs and a set of young orang-utans, all abandoned 
at birth, have become inseparable after sharing a room at an Indonesian zoo.
BBC Photograph.


The four have lived side by side for a month without a hitch, although 
this goes against their natural instincts.
BBC Photograph


"This is unusual and would never happen in the wild," zookeeper Sri 
Suwarni said. "Like human babies, they only want to play."
BBC Photograph


September 24, 2007: XO-Giving $100 Laptops



The BBC is reporting that XO-Giving will offer these laptops on a "buy one – donate one" basis during the month of Novmber.  You can read more about the event at this web-site.  For those who are not familiar with this project it has been in the works for a number of years now.  The basic idea is to get laptops into the hands of children in developing nations.  Their mission is to provide a means for learning, self-expression and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education. While children are by nature eager for knowledge, many countries have little resources to devote to education—sometimes less than $20 a year per child. Imagine the potential that could be unlocked by giving every child in the world the tools they need to learn, no matter who they are, no matter where they live, no matter how little they may have.

  Computer specs can be viewed at this web-site.

  To help sponsor a child visit the above web-site.  You can also read the BBC News Story at this link.


September 24, 2007: Heading for Europe.


  We are heading for Europe this afternoon.  First stop is Zurich and then we have to go to Germany.  My friend will be telling his company that the decision has been made to sell to a new owner.  I have a feeling it will be a rather emotional trip for him.  So hopefully I can be there to support him a little bit.  We will be in London later this week.

  The weather is COLD over there and warm here in Canada.  Go figure.   Looks like a lot of rain chances while we are there.  I like the rain so I can live with that.  Good thing I brought some winter clothes.  We leave for the airport at 2:30 and then the plane leaves around 5 this evening.  So we should arrive early in the morning on Tuesday.  I think that is right.  I forget with all the time zones we pass through.  I guess we get there when we get there.  Hopefully I can sleep on the plane.

  Tony said he is going to put an Ad in the paper to see if he can find me a hill in Northern Graves County.  Perhaps that is a tactic we should have tried before.  There has to be something out there…somewhere!  I was watching a show last night and they panned up and showed all the stars – it made me remember living on the farm.  You could see the Milky Way Galaxy…millions of stars.  I miss that!  Then there is the sunsets.  I miss those as well!!!!! 

  I did get an update on the small business in Kirkuk, Iraq.  He has all of his money now from donors.  So that is good news.  He can move forward on his project.

  More later…

September 23, 2007: It’s a Sunday! FIRST DAY OF FALL!


  What is it about Sundays that make everyone tired?  Maybe it doesn’t make everyone tired.  Maybe it is just me?  I don’t know.  Anyway, it is ANOTHER disgustingly beautiful day here in Waterloo.  Not a cloud in the sky.  No rain.  No storms.  No snow.  Nothing.  Just a blue sky.  BLAH  Who creates this yucky weather???  Oh yeah.  🙂  heh  Well some rain would be nice.  Something to look at.  Snow would be even nicer.  Still a bit early for that.  Soon though…very soon!

  The leaves continue to change at a rapid pace.  You can tell a difference as each day passes.  By the time we return from Europe next week the leaves will be in their FULL GLORY.  I will be sure and take some photographs!

  I think Joey, for one, will be happy when I return home.  Since I have been gone he has become SO bored that he actually bought some GOATS for his dads farm.  So now he owns some goats.  Yeeesh…I better get back there and fast.  Next thing we will have chickens and cows in the backyard drinking out of the pool.  I already have squirrels to deal with…I don’t need chickens and cows.  WHATEVER as they say! 

  I am all packed for Europe.  Okay well almost all packed.  Close enough.  It is going to be COLD and WET!  YAY!  I am already happy about that.  Temperatures in Zurich are forecast to be dropping all week.  Rain chances each and every day.  My kind of weather.  Low temperatures should be in the 30s.  Maybe it will snow in the hills and mountains.  We can only hope and pray for such things.

  Congratulations to Sue on finding a house in Nashville.  I guess she will be packing her and Jacks belongings and heading south.  🙁  I will miss our lunches.  I suppose I will be visiting Nashville more often…and for that matter she will still travel north to see her dad in Illinois!  So not all is lost in the move.  I am happy though that she continues down her journeys path.  I will anxiously await all of her blog photos from Tennessee.  She won’t be moving until next March.  Course the way time flies that won’t be too far away.

  Kristy called and is doing fine down in Florida.  She advised me that the alligators had not gotten to her or Lucy.  I told her I would stop by when I am hurricane chasing.  🙂 

  Tony is looking for land in Northern Graves County.  THAT HILL has to be SOMEWHERE in Western Kentucky.  I am not going any further south though.  He is looking across the Northern part of Graves County.  Near the McCracken County line.  I think we have been looking for a hill since last year.  Maybe we will find it soon.  The goal is to have land bought by December.  That isn’t far away.  I guess we will see how this unfolds.  LOT going on!

  Today is the FIRST day of Fall!  That means WINTER IS KNOCKING AT THE DOOR.  WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!! 


September 22, 2007: Second life 3D worlds…


  Spent some time today exploring Second Life.  Was able to see a lot more than just the basics (which is where I had been stuck).  Seeing the "real" second life world gives me a better idea of where this is all going.  I can see that the whole platform is still a long way from "full" development – but the progress is amazingly fast.  This does appear to be how the internet will be revolutionized.  Just a matter of when and not if.




September 21, 2007: Kiva Update…and other


  Yeesh where did September go?  When I get back from Europe next week it will be OCTOBER.  FOR GAWDS sake.  I wish someone out there would slow time down.  It seems like it just zooms by these days.  I don’t think that is a good thing either.  Before you know it we will be shopping for Christmas.  Course that also means we will be counting snowflakes.  So I can’t complain.  Anyway…enough about October being here!  It is sunny in Waterloo today.  The last time I came up here to visit it rained or stormed almost on a daily basis.  Now it is just sunny all the time.  Terrible weather!  I enjoy my clouds and rain.  That is just me though and I am a bit weird.  So whatever.

  On the Kiva Entrepreneurs – both entrepreneurs have raised all of their loan money!  So that is good news.  They are both at 100% – so now they can improve their business.  I have fallen in love with this Kiva program.  I think it is an excellent way to connect people around the world that want to help improve the lives of those who live in more difficult economies.  Good stuff!


September 20, 2007: Finding businesses to invest in on Kiva!


  So I am starting to look through the businesses on the Kiva.org web-site.  There are a lot of them to go through!  I have found a couple though.

 My first business!!!!!!  In Kirkuk, Iraq.

Kirkuk is above Baghdad on the map.

Name: Identity Protected
Location: Kirkuk, Iraq
Business Name: Shop
Activity: General Store
Loan Requested: $1,200.00
Repayment Term: 12 months – repaid monthly
Loan Use: To purchase new ice box and more goods

The entrepreneur is 28 years old. He has 3 children, and two of them are in school. He has a general store in Kirkuk. He applied to borrow $1200 to purchase a new ice box and more goods for the shop to increase his income and save for a better life for his family.

Disclaimer: This entrepreneur is from a volatile region where the security situation remains unsettled. Lenders to this business should be aware that this loan may represent a higher risk and accept this additional risk in making their loan.

Note: Personally identifiable attributes of this entrepreneur have been altered to protect him or her (i.e. blacking out portions of the entrepreneur in his/her picture, altering his/her first or last name, etc.).

The business online feed for updates


The second business I have found to invest in…

  Ocosingo, Mexico.  See map 🙂

Ocosingo is near Guatemala.

About the Entrepreneur

Location: OCOSINGO, Mexico
Activity: Food Production/Sales
Loan Requested: $950.00
Repayment Term: 7 months – repaid monthly
Loan Use: Sale of food typical to the region

Anadeli is 23 years old and has one child. In order to help her spouse out with the household costs, Anadeli sells clothes and prepares food typical to her region. She sells these items out of her mother-in-law’s house who also helps her with these sales. Anadeli belongs to the group Compañerismo 5 together with Ms. Pascuala Lopez Perez (who sells food) and Maria Luisa Caballero Silva (who also sells food). With this loan they hope to implement their businesses buying utensils for the kitchen and improve the condition of the places where they sell their food.

Translated from Spanish by Rebecca Pendleton, Kiva Volunteer.


The business on-line feed for updates.

September 20, 2007: Life is funny sometimes…


  Okay so life is funny a lot of times.  I agree.  Funny in a good way though.  Funny as in…doesn’t it seem like everything is working towards something.  What is that something though?  I have no idea.  Nor perhaps do I wish to find out!  If I found out then my head might explode (and it is already close enough to exploding with this semesters homework).  I say that life is funny and that everything works towards something because that is how my life has played out.  So I assume that everyones life is that way.  EVERY small decision that I have made…every large decision that I have made…it seemed to lead to the next stage or the next "thing" that was supposed to happen in my life.  The good…the bad…and the ugly.  All of it.  I am a big believer in "everything happens for a reason" – that has gotten me in trouble before with some people.  You have to be careful who you say that to or how you say it.  When someone has just lost a loved one then it is hard for them to understand how that might work towards good.  That is just one example.  I don’t need to say this because most of you know what I mean.

  It is hard to explain this experience.  By this experience I mean this journey over the past few years.  How everything has worked towards where we are now. I guess we are all that way.  How do we explain our lives to someone else?  How do we describe what a journey has been like for ourselves?  Can it even be done.  It is difficult to explain to friends and family where you have been if they haven’t been there with you.  You see they have been on their own journey.  Somehow though I try to explain to people how I perceive things.  For example…the last four years.  Since 2003 life has been scary, exciting, dramatic, tiring, incredible, amazing, sad, painful, educational, exhausting, funny, life-changing, inspiring, depressing, thrilling, loving, terrifying, and a thousand other emotions.  All of that just in the past four years.  That is a lot of emotions to attempt to explain to someone else.  You had to be there comes to mind as the best way to explain it.

  Anyway, in my opinion everything has a purpose and reason.  Sometimes we can’t understand what that reason is…but it is there.  There have been hundreds of times in my life when I have been able to look back and say "ahhhh that is why this happened."  Nine times out of ten it was something small at the time…or something I didn’t recognize for what it was.  It was there though.  In looking back in life I think most of us can pinpoint certain decisions that we made that forever changed our life.  If that one little decision had not been made then where would we be?  Would we be better off?  Worse off?  Would you be married to the person you are now married to?  Would you be single?  Would you be living in a mansion or would you be homeless?  We will never know.  We only know what we know now…where we are at today.  In the end I guess that is all that matters (unless you want to drive yourself nuts trying to figure out where your life would have been).  I don’t recommend doing that by the way. 

  During the past few weeks I have been so restless.  I have been trying to figure out how to move forward – force changes that are needed in my life (that was my motto for the year you know – force change) – move towards what my true goals are.  How do I do that?  What can I currently change in my life that is standing in my way of being happier (I am, thankfully, already happy so I can’t say happy).  What do I need to do to take things to the next level…the next stage?  ARGH sleepless nights.  Thinking and then more thinking.  I am sure everyone has been there before!  Doug would say to live in the moment and not think about tomorrow.  For the MOST part I would agree with him.  However, in order to get somewhere you must know where you are going.  I know he would agree with that as well.   🙂

  So what do I want?

  What I want is to find a hill that has a view.  I want to see storms and I want to see sunsets.  I want to live in the country again.  I want a porch on the front of the house and the back of the house.  I want to be able to set out there and watch brilliant sunsets and enjoy the sounds of nature.  I want a smaller house that isn’t so difficult to take care of.  There is a lot of good to be said about having a large house…don’t get me wrong.  I love where I live now and I am very thankful for being blessed with such a house.  It just isn’t what I want.  I want a simpler life.  Something a little less complex and a little less expensive.  It costs a lot of money to keep a pool going!  That isn’t the most important part though…more important is simplicity.  Calm.  Those sunsets.

  So anyway…I want to build a house on a hill.  Easier said than done!  First off I need to find that magic hill.  I have been looking for a year now!  Still have not found it.  I thought I found one a few months back but that one didn’t work out.  So I am now looking in Northern Graves County.  Perhaps I need to go east a bit?  I don’t know.  I know it is out there though!

  So after I find a hill then I want to build a smaller home.  Something that will be easier to take care of.  Hardwood floors…Daisy will like that.  lol  A backyard with a fence…so Daisy can’t run away.  No pool.  🙂  Keep the hot-tub though for stress relief.   Then start to focus more on the ShadowAngel Foundation and our charity work.  I am excited about this Kiva Web Site.   That is the kind of project I have been looking for.  Something tangible.  I have always loved tangible projects.  This is one of them.  I could see getting involved with a project like that. 

  The bigger question is where do we go from there?  I feel as if everything is building more and more towards a bigger project.   I am just not sure what that means.  What that project will be.  All I know is that I can just feel us moving that way.  You know that excitement you get in anticipation of something?  Well that is how it feels.  I have been here before.  It is a good place to be.  My spidey senses are tingling. 

  One wonders if the last four years have been THIS amazing then what do the next four years hold?   I guess we will just have to wait and see!  I am sure this blog will cover whatever those years bring!  Good or bad!

  Now…to the current project at hand – how do I pack my house up in order to move?  🙂 lol  Oh yeah…downsize.  More downsizing.  If I just keep repeating that…perhaps I will get there.  Perhaps I need to set some time-table goals.  To find land by this time – to start building by this time – the move out by this time!  Maybe if I set some goals I will actually get from point A to B.  David taught me that if you don’t set goals then you won’t know where you are going.  Perhaps I should listen to him!  Funny enough almost every goal we have ever set during the past four-five years has come to pass!  That is an incredible feat…especially if you knew what some of those goals were (I had my doubts).  🙂

  So on the "to-do" list.  Set some time-table goals!


September 20, 2007: Kid Nation and Kiva


  Well there is hope for this country after-all.  If anyone missed Kid Nation last night then you missed a great show.  As much silly controversy raised by a bunch of know-it-all adults as the show has had over the last few weeks I must say I was impressed!  Too bad most kids don’t have an opportunity like this.  Imagine the leadership skills that a camp like this could bring to young kids and teenagers.   Sadly there is a small minority of adults who have made a lot of noise over the airing of this series.  I say "shut up already" and watch something else!  Oh, I am not surprised that there has been some controversy.  When isn’t there controversy anymore in the United States?  It doesn’t matter what someone wants to do you can find a group of people who will oppose it.  Normally these are individuals who don’t have a life of their own so they think they have to butt into everyone elses. 

  For those who don’t know what Kid Nation is, this is what it is about.  Kid Nation takes 40 children, that range in age from 8 to 15, and put them in the New Mexico desert (actually 8 miles outside of Sante Fee but who is counting).  They are left there for 40 days, without adults!  They must run the town through leadership and working together.  Imagine that.  Horrible isn’t it! 

  Now before anyone freaks out over the "no adults" part of this series, I should let you in on one little secret.  There were adults.  Of course there were adults.  There were camera people and even nurses/doctors nearby.  They just don’t have a hands on approach.  The kids have to solve their own problems.  The kids have to cook their own food.  The kids have to build their own community.  They have to (gasp) clean up after themselves!  Do their own dishes.  I know what you are thinking – CHILD ABUSE.  No doubt.  Simple enough (don’t you wish you could have been without adults for 40 days when you were a kid)!

  I have nothing but praise for a show like this.  For once someone might have gotten it right.  I am not a fan of reality television…matter of fact I hate most of it.  But this one…I like.   Hopefully, a lot of kids will watch the show and learn that they don’t need their worthless television sets, computers, Nintendo’s, Wiis, Playstations, Ipods, heating and air conditions, Doritoes, and a thousand other everyday "necessities" that they have been told/taught are a must to survive in todays world.  Hardly!  The show teaches that you have to work together and get along in order to make a project work.  It teaches kids that they don’t need all of that "stuff" in order to survive.  Too bad more kids can’t experience something like this.  I have a feeling that every kid that participated in this project will be better off for it.  They will have learned what life is really like…outside of their comfortable homes.  Away from mom and dad.  Away from the luxuries that all of us have grown accustomed to.  Five stars.



  NOW – on to more important subjects!  I have discovered a project that I am actually excited about.  I have been looking for something like this…well forever.  It takes a lot to get me excited but this is one of those times.   I encourage everyone to take 5 minutes out of their day and visit the Kiva Organization web site.  I discovered this site after reading Bill Clinton’s new book "Giving – How Each Person Can Change The World".  Well worth reading by the way…check it out here.  Anyway…the idea behind Kiva is that you can invest in the life of a person in a third world country.  An entrepeneur.  Someone who is trying to better themselves by creating their business.  There are hundreds of people in need.  Right now the web-site will allow you invest $25 in a persons life.  That money is then paid back to you…you can claim it back through pay-pal. 

  Kiva allows microfinance institutions around the world to post profiles of qualified local entrepreneurs online. A lender can be any person with a credit card. A PayPal account is only required if one wishes to withdraw funds.  Lenders browse and choose an entrepreneur they wish to fund. Kiva aggregates loan capital from individual lenders and transfers it to microfinance partners, called "Field Partners", to disburse and administer. As loan repayments are made by the entrepreneur, the Field Partners remits funds back to Kiva. Once the loan is fully repaid, Kiva lenders can withdraw their principal or re-loan it to another entrepreneur.

PayPal does not collect a fee on Kiva transactions.  Kiva distributes 100% of the loan to the entrepreneur. Lenders do not receive any interest or other profit. The Field Partner who administers the loan collects interest from the entrepreneur.

  I hope everyone takes a little bit of time out of their day and visits their site.  http://www.kiva.org/app.php 

  If you want to WATCH and learn more about Kiva then visit this link… http://www.kiva.org/about/press/


September 19, 2007: Beautiful day in Waterloo…


  Well it is certainly a beautiful day outside.  I am going to have to go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air!  I have been waiting for my test results from school.  Looks like I got an A on both quizzes and one A and one B for the main test.  There is some debate on the B though as several people have questioned the teacher on some of the questions that a majority of people missed.   Either way I PROMISED not to complain if I got either an A or B.  🙂  So I guess mum is the word…for now!  lol

  Otherwise sort of a slow day.  Starting on the next quarters homework.


September 18, 2007: Happy Birthday John!


  Sooooooooo today is John’s BIRTHDAY!  He turns XX years old!  Okay so his age is a closely guarded secret.  Only some monks in the high mountains of China know the truth.  I will give you a hint though…it is between 20 years old and 100.  That is all I can say.  I will also say that he is younger than George Bush but older than Paris Hilton.  SOOOO ANYWAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!!!!!  Enjoy your day!

  Everything is going well in Waterloo.  The leaves are TURNING FAST!  I will let them turn a little bit more and then take some photographs.

  Doing homework most of today.  Real exciting.  A lot of math in this chapter as well.  I will get my grades tomorrow for two quizzes and two tests.  Let’s cross our fingers for at least a B and I guess we can pray for an A.  I just don’t want to get a C.  🙂

  Quiet weather across Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois.  My family tells me the weather has been coolish over the past week or so.  I am sure they are all enjoying that…especially after the horrible heat of the summer. 

  So other than that…I don’t know anything new!  I have not heard from Kristy or Queen Lucy down in Florida.  For all I know the gators got them both.  🙁  Hopefully they will contact us soon.  HELLLLLLO down there????

  Oh I almost forgot that we are going over to Germany and Switzerland next week.  I believe we are swinging through London as well.  Hopefully the weather will be nice (well my nice is rain and windy)!   Then I will be heading back to Paducah…early October.

  Dylan kicked butt at his ballgame on Friday Night…I believe the final score was 1000 to 0!  Okay well it wasn’t 1000 but closer to 47-0!  Dylan’s team won.  I believe Dylan scored one touchdown and had at least 4 carries and 1 pass (maybe more).  So great job Dylan!!!!!


September 16, 2007: Around Toronto…


  I am always amazed, when I visit this city, at the feelings I get while walking around.  So many memories…so many stories.  I honestly never believed I would leave Toronto.  I don’t think for that matter that I ever thought I would survive long enough to see my way back home…back to the states.  There were certainly times that Emmanuel and I wondered if we would make it to the next day let alone the next year.  Those were crazy days.  They were real though.  They remind me of how much I appreciate my freedom today.  How much I appreciate life, family, friendships, and love. 

  I went out tonight to get a bite to eat and ran into an old friend.  He showed me a bunch of his photos from the last few years.  It looks like he has been keeping busy working with some local charities…fund raisers.  He reminded me of the time when we used to all live on Mutual Street here in Toronto.  Nine of us?  Something like that.  Probably 7 too many!  They were amazing times.  A lot of pain and grief…a lot of laughter and happiness.  They were certainly the over-used phrase "best of times and worst of times".  Rivers of tears flowed in that house…rivers of laughter flowed from that house.  I smile though when i think about it.  No matter how difficult those times were…no matter how insane life became – we had each other.  We had people who loved us…people who cared.  And in the end…that is all that matters.  Everything else – it will pass.  No matter how difficult life is…no matter how dark it becomes…it will get better.

  Now I look back at the journal…years and years of life gone by.  Yeesh what an amazing journey.  What an amazing story.  I sometimes look back over these pages and shake my head in disbelief.  Then I smile…laugh a little.  And sigh.  The good kind of sigh…the kind when you feel like everything is going to be okay.  🙂  I am always amazed, when I visit this city, at the feelings I get.

  Few people are given the chance to live twice.  I am blessed enough to have been given that chance. 

September 15, 2007: Around the city…


  It was a great day in Toronto.  David and I met up with Andrew and had lunch and then went to see the movie – 3:10 to Yuma.  Great movie…if you like cowboys!  I liked it.   Would definitely recommend it to my friends.  It has been a long time since I have seen Andrew so it was nice to catch up with the latest from his life.  He seems to be happy and enjoying his "after university" experience.  We are heading back to Waterloo tomorrow.  I will most likely come back to Toronto at some point in the coming weeks.

  The weather was nice today…a bit cool but not too bad.  Perfect if you ask me.  I wore my hoodie…so it was warm for me at least.  We had lunch at Fran’s and that was my first time eating there.  It is a historic restaurant on College Street.  Andrew recommended we eat there…and so we did.  I had a late breakfast.

  We had dinner with Doug…and that was nice.  It was good to catch up on the latest happenings at RTC and with Doug himself.  Sounds like everything is going well.  He is staying as busy as ever.  I miss hanging out with him up here.  We have both been on our own sort of journey over the last few years.  Nothing wrong with that.  You still will always miss the old times though…but that is what they are "old times" – now we are making "new" old times! 

  David, Andrew and I walked over to Mutual Street…this was the third place that I lived when I came to Toronto back in 2000.  One of these days I am going to round up all of the photos of the places that I used to live.  That will take some work though.  I still need to photograph one of those places (the first place that we lived).  If I can even find it!  It was a long time ago.

This is Mutual Street.  I used to live here with six or
seven other people!  It is bigger than it looks but
not THAT much bigger!  Fun times though.  Lot of
good and bad memories.

Doug…Me…and Andrew on the right.

One of the buildings near the Eaton Centre.

Street performers at the Eaton Centre.  This guy with the flag came walking up and stood
there for awhile. 

September 14, 2007: Hello Winter! Well at least cool weather…


  It is snowing this morning across portions of Minnesota (wish I was there).  🙂  Snow is a good thing.  That tells me that winter is right around the corner and thus I can once again enjoy the little white flakes that come floating out of the sky.  In the meantime, while we wait, it appears that the seasons first cold air blast will move south and east later today and tonight and spread across the Great Lakes.  Temperatures should fall into the 30s across Southern Ontario tonight.  The seasons first frost and freeze will impact many areas across the Northern Plains and then spread south and east into Illinois and Wisconsin.  Bring out the welcome banner!  Colder air is coming.


  I am heading for a meeting this afternoon and then Toronto!  I will hopefully be able to track down some of my friends over there.  I am only staying a couple of days.  I don’t want to get sucked into the "Toronto" experience.  Better to just stay a day or two and then revisit later.  Looking forward to seeing a few friends though.  Although it hasn’t been that long since I was last up in this area.

  Dylan has a ballgame tonight.  We will be cheering for victory…well I won’t be there but I will cheer from up here for him!

  No new news from Kristy.  She is probably unpacking and taking care of Queen Lucy.  Certainly a handful. 

September 13, 2007: Yawn…


  I am tired this morning.  Stayed up late watching Humberto go from nothing to a hurricane in less than 24 hours!  Pretty amazing.  He slammed into Texas earlier this morning with winds gusting to 80 mph.  Some damage along the coast.  The heavy rains are now moving into Louisiana.

  On top of that I stayed up late to take my Synoptic Meteorology Test.  I hope I made at least a B on it.  It wasn’t easy.  Blah.  I am not liking these math based classes.  🙁  I will be GLAD when they are over!  I know I missed at least one on the test.  Hopefully not too many more.  This is not the big test…just a quarterly test.  I have an A in both classes – SO FAR. 

  Then I was up late because I had heartburn!!  lol  So that was no fun.  Stressed I guess.  I had dreams about my homework.  That is no fun as well.  So blah on all of that!

  Moving on!  I guess Kristy has made it to Florida.  I read her blog and she said her and Lucy were heading that way.  She has not posted since.  I think she said she would be without internet for a few days.  God forbid!  I don’t know how she will ever survive.  🙂  Hopefully she is going to like Florida. 

  Not much else going on today.  Trying to wake up.  I guess I will go get some medicine from the pharmacy.  Nexium would be nice.  Not sure that is over the counter though.  It might be. 


September 12, 2007: Revelations and the lady at the door…


  So this is how my morning started.  I know my sister will get a kick out of this.   I slept in until about 9:30 a.m.  Got up and took a shower.  After I took my shower I headed to the computer and clicked on the news to see the latest headlines.  My eyes got big at all the big news stories on the wire.  I was like yeesh what the heck is going on.  I read…

  • Putin dissolves government
  • 8.0 Earthquake hits Sumatra
  • Russia tests superstrength bomb
  • Israel bombs possible nuclear facility in Syria
  • North Korea and Iran supplying nuclear material to Syria
  • Oil closes at record high

  So I read all of that and to be honest I was a little bit freaked out.  Those are some serious headlines.  No more than 5 minutes passes and there is a knock at the door and the doorbell rings.  So I go answer it and this lady is standing there with a bible and starts to read a verse out of Timothy to me and Revelations.  She is telling me if I know why the world is in such turmoil and what is coming.  lol

  It was all a bit surreal!  I listened to her for about 10 minutes and was polite.  Took her literature, about natural disasters of course, and told her thank you.  So that was my morning!  Now I am sitting in a corner hiding.  LOL  🙂  I think I will avoid the headlines for the rest of the day.


  For those people who are "sold" on the whole global warming debate.  Perhaps you should look at this graph of temperatures from the last several hundred thousand years.  Cycles come and cycles go.  We are in a warm cycle now.  There are different versions of this map.  The problem is just how accurate is the data.  Some charts show that we are now in the warmest period ever – other charts do not show that.  Either way all of the charts do show a pattern of cold and warm cycles.  The bigger question is are we in a cycle now that is caused my mans pollution.

Global Temperatures




  Another beautiful day here in Waterloo.  The leaves are just now starting to turn.  It will be a few more weeks though until all the trees have color in them.  A few photos from this afternoon.

A few trees are starting to turn.

Beautiful day! 

Waterloo countryside – scenic!!!!  Temperatures are in the 60s today.

  David and I are going to see the movie Mr. Bean tonight.  I have been wanting to see this for awhile.  Joey is not a big fan…so David and I are going.  It should be a funny movie.

  Oh and I almost forgot – HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUE!  One day late!  🙂  ENJOY YOUR SPECIAL DAY!!!!


September 11, 2007


  It is a beautiful day here in Waterloo.  There are a lot of cumulus clouds floating around but a lot of sun as well.  A strong northerly breeze is whipping up the trees in David’s backyard!  Beautiful day!!!!  Fall is definitely in the air.  It should be chilly the next few nights. 

  I spent most of the morning doing homework.  I actually was able to take my first test this afternoon.  I have one more to take before we move on to the next chapter.  I still have a few weeks until the BIGGGG test.  The mid-term.  Blah.

  I drove around the countryside for awhile this afternoon.  It is so nice out.  Scenic area.  It just amazes me how many large farms are scattered throughout this region.  Hundreds of them.  It makes you feel at peace though.  I am not sure why.  I guess just the simple nature of all of it.  Driving around I could see that the small school houses were letting the kids go home.  Most of these are Mennonites or Amish children.  The parents of some of the children pick them up in wagons.  So while you are driving down the country roads it is nothing to see a wagon with five or six children in the back.  They just watch as you pass them by.  A few of the kids wave.  Most of them are dressed in the typical Amish or Mennonite clothing…girls have pink on and boys blue.  Then they have their bonnets and hats.  They are so cute.  I wondered, when I passed them by, what they were thinking when they see all the cars zoom by them.  I wonder if they wonder why they can’t just ride in a car.  Wouldn’t it be faster?  That is what goes through my mind when I see them.  No telling what they are actually thinking.  I am sure they have a thousand other thoughts running through their little heads…maybe homework, chores at home, or perhaps they are just enjoying the ride in the back of their little wagons.

  Someone is selling tomatoes!  You see this a lot around this region.



  I think this tree is lonely.

September 10, 2007: Waterloo…made it safely


  I made it safely to Waterloo.  I slept in this morning and drove the rest of the way (3 hours) when I woke up.  I arrived in Waterloo at 1 p.m.  Not too bad of a drive!  I could have gone all the way but it was LATE when I crossed the border.  Let me make a few observations for future reference:

1.  Arriving in Canada, at 2 a.m., 48 hours before 9/11 is probably not the most optimum time to arrive.
2.  Arriving in Canada with no cash and only credit cards could be a red flag.
3.  Arriving in Canada with a large computer system – CPU and large screen monitor IS a red flag!
4.  Looking like you might have driven 8 or 9 hours straight with only one pit-stop might raise an eyebrow.
5.  Having a laptop, home computer, large camera, video camera, and an assortment of emergency management radios all combined is definately a red flag.
6.  The more tired you are the longer you will have to wait to get across the border.  Murphy’s Law at work on this one.
7.  When you leave immigration (after being searched) don’t turn left.  Do not…do not…do not turn left.  If you do turn left then that takes you back to the U.S.A. and you then have to go through the whole process again. 

These are the little things that I picked up last night/this morning at the Canada Border.

Some other interesting tid-bits that I learned while driving to Canada:

1.  Did you know that there is a two hour talk radio show called "The Bald Truth" and that all they talk about are ways to prevent going bald?  What would we do without XM Satellite Radio? 
2.  There is a tech guy that comes on after "The Bald Truth" that talks about the latest cool electronic gadgets/toys for another FULL two hours!  I enjoyed this show!  Of course!  Two hours of non-stop GEEK talk!  This is what fantasies are made of.  I am telling you!
3.  DO NOT stop for food, after midnight, at a fast food restaurant.  Enough said.

September 10, 2007: Windsor, Ontario!

  Okay here is the deal.  When you have this compulsive disorder it can be a really bad thing.  For example…you say you are going to drive to Louisville and spend the night and then drive to Waterloo, Ontario the next day.  What ACTUALLY ends up happening is that you drive through Louisville and end up in Windsor, Ontario at 1 a.m. in the morning.  Another example…you say you are going to clean everything in the house – one room at a time.  You promise yourself that you are going to take it slow and that within a few months you will have the task completed.  What ACTUALLY happens is that you start to clean one room and you do every room in two days.  🙂  Now you see how this works?  Not a good thing!  Well, I guess it COULD be a good thing.  Depends on your perspective.

  Needless to say 🙂 I am in Windsor, Ontario this morning – 1 a.m.  I drove straight through.  I don’t know why I do that.  Again back to the first paragraph.  It is late and I am tired.  I will add one last note…going through the border at 1 a.m. is a WHOLE lot more sketchy than going through during "normal" hours.  I will just leave it at that for now.  My bed is waiting for me.  I am at the Holiday Inn in Windsor!  I will drive to Waterloo later this morning/early afternoon.  It IS cooler here.  I put my window down going across the Ambassador Bridge and it was chilly.  I LOVE IT!!!!

  More later…