Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses


I seem to have been quite fractured lately with many things on the go. So I apologize for not putting new things on this blog in a timely fashion, as well as not visiting your site as often as I might have liked. As a consolation, here is a photo of the garden outside my front door, in all its glory. The evergreen azalea is past its best with old flowers on it, but the three astilbe and the two different hosta as well as the astrantia are looking particularly fine at the moment. this bed basically does its own thing, with little help from me. Of course I was the one who planted it some years ago and the perennials just do their thing. Hosta and astilbe are two of my favourite plants so you see them everywhere in my garden. This bed is really rather overgrown and needs dividing but dividing hosta clumps after a certain stage is liking digging up concrete. So of course I have been putting it off. I'll probably need dynamite when I finally get around to it.

Enough with the gardening talk, you say. What have you been up to lately? Well I had the hearing before the Board of Review, regarding my house assessment, which I talked about previously in this post. It was scheduled to last for two hours but actually went for four hours. I made my six page presentation, along with my 10 attachments and 6 spreadsheets. Yes I'm the Queen of the Spreadsheets and I'm sure I'm the only one who understood them, despite my detailed explanations and my different coloured columns. They were works of art, let me tell you. Since I was the first appellant to present many people came to watch so I was feeling very nervous. However the defense in this case was the Deputy Assessor, second in charge of the Vancouver and surrounding area office whom I had met before in meetings. He was extremely rude to me from the very beginning so this got my dander up and all my nerves disappeared. In his questioning of me, he was so out of line that even the Board put an end to some of it. I don't think he showed himself at his best in this forum. Will I prevail? Probably not, but I gave it my best shot. The evening before I had been at a Chinese banquet to celebrate a friend's 70th birthday. My fortune cookie seemed particularly appropriate, so, at the end of the summary I made, I read it out to the Board.

PEOPLE FIND IT DIFFICULT TO
RESIST YOUR PERSUASIVE MANNER

I said I hoped that I had persuaded them to my point of view with my presentation and the Chairman of the Board said, that, as was said in the movie, A Few Good Men, he thought they had picked on the "wrong marine". Unfortunately other factors may well prevail.

Of course, this process is still ongoing for others and I had to present a report on the subject to a meeting last night and all kinds of people are phoning and requesting information or help. I give any information I have and I help if I can, but I can't always. It goes on for another week I believe and then we await the judgment.

A very happy outing occurred in the past week. I've posted about the Thursday Walking Group many times. Some of our members are getting quite elderly and no longer walk with us. One of our members, a delightful 87 year old from Yorkshire, England, had sold her house and moved to an "assisted living" home, outside the city, to be near her daughter. So 9 of us drove out to take her to lunch and she was so happy to see us and show us her new "home", a two bedroomed apartment, which is very nice. She is such a delightful lady, with a wonderful sense of humour and we miss her. When it came time to drive back there were a lot of tears shed, let me tell you. Look at that lovely face and her wonderful smile.

Tomorrow at walking, we have joining us another former member of the group. She no longer walks with us because her knees are basically destroyed. She has been using a manual wheelchair but now has acquired the Cadillac of motorized wheelchairs so will be whipping along with us. We try valiantly to keep up with her. She's been coming for the last two weeks because she lives near Granville Island, which is our most common walk. Trust me, we are puffing along trying to keep up and we have to take it in turns to lead the way with her.

Well there you have it. Sorry it's not more interesting. Life in the retired lane.



32 comments:

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Well, I can see why you've been away from blogging for awhile. I'm so impressed with your assessment presentation. Way to go! I love it when people plead their case. And, your garden is gorgeous!

Josie said...

JMB, I'm very interested to see how you make out with your hearings. It's an awful situation for all of you folks. I love your chutzpah in reading your fortune cookie out to them. What a nice touch.

The whole thing is just highway robbery.

Cheers,
Josie

Cathy said...

I have been waiting to here how this court date went. Atleast, no matter what happens, you know that you gave it your best shot.

Your friend and her smile are both lovely. I bet you gals made her day by doing that.

The garden is so pretty. I miss having gardens of my own, but we really do have some beautiful landscapping here. I should post pictures one day, I guess.

Don't ya hate it when real life gets in the way of blogging, and you have to be away form your PC for awhile? Dont worry about it. Everyone will be here when you have time....:)

jmb said...

Hi Jill,
Thanks for stopping by. It was lots of work but I'm a fighter so consider it worth it, even if I lose.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Josie,
The whole problem stems from the fact that the Government gave the lease over to the Band. Our original lease was with the Queen. The subsequent bylaw was written by the Band and agreed to by the Gov. It is a very flawed bylaw and has basically caused all the trouble, but it is the final definer of the situation. That's why I probably won't win but the BC Assessment office now takes us very seriously and will have their ducks in a row from now on when they deal with us.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Cathy,
It hasn't been all bad because in actual fact I'm rather good at this stuff. So while preparing for it has been a lot of work, it's been a challenge that I sort of enjoyed. It keeps the old neurons firing.
I am trying to post every couple of days so people know I'm still around.
regards
jmb

Eurodog said...

Three cheers for the fortune cookie.
Good on you, jmb. Fight them till the bitter end.
Lovely picture of your 87 year old friend. Her picture would be nice in "Nos Regards".
I am very impressed with your hostas. Mine are destroyed by slugs in a matter of hours.

lady macleod said...

drink it in indeed! Oh lovely. I am imagining just lying down on that lawn and inhaling. Beautiful!

That hearing sounds a right proper raid. My money is on you. I love that you read the fortune cookie, classy. My other favorite is the "wrong marine" line, brilliant stuff.

Your walking group sounds interesting. Where do you walk? How far? What speed do you aim for? I love to walk. I try to live in, and visit what I call "walking cities".

I must tell you, and this is a total complement as I love and admire her, that in this post you remind me of Q's grandmother with her efficient manner and charts.

You will note on my blog that I followed orders. I'll not have you thinking I am slovenly. I was up and first thing this morning I have learned to "link". May I have my pat on the back now? :-)

Janice Thomson said...

Love your garden Jmb! Perenniels are the next best thing to chocolate!

I think you approached the hearing with nothing short of great aplomb - kudos to you! Surely something will sink into the dull and foolish minds of bureaucracy.

Such a delightful pic of your lady friend.
An enjoyable post Jmb as usual.

Ellee said...

I love gardens too and walking. I wish I could get my mother to walk, but she won't shake off her high heels and wear flatties. Glamour comes first for her.

jmb said...

Hi Eurodog,
Well I've always been a defender of the just cause and I never give up till the bitter end.
Yes those slugs are very hard on hostas, but so far these have not been attacked seriously. I'm sure they will before the season's end
regards
jmb

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It's very interesting indeed, jmb. Beautiful garden photo. Well done for your assessment hearing! I hope you prevail. What a lovely story about the lady you all visited! So good to hear she is happy and loves her home. And nice takles about the walking group, too. I can just imagine you all trying to keep up with the wheelchair lady!

Voyager said...

JMB, if any of my garden beds looked like that I would be ecstatic. Beautiful job!
V.

Smalltown RN said...

I commend you for standing up for yourself and making the presentation...I know how hard that can be...having made presentations to School Boards and City Council while being shown live on local TV is very nerve racking...but when one is passionate about an issue it comes through....I am sure they saw that in your presentation...I wish you well....

I love your graden....mine is a work in progress...oh there is so much to do...and so little time...today whilst I was in the yard mowing...I ran over some huge piece of metal left by compliments of the old owners...anyhow I ran over it and busted my lawn mower....oh woe is me.....

all the best!

Lee said...

G'day, jmb...cold down this way at present. Not as cold as it gets up your way, no doubt, but it has been a bit of a shock to the system. Winter arrived late this year but it came with a bang, when it did, catching us all off guard, I think! I'm rugged up and the cats barely poke their noses outdoors and when they do, it's not for long!

All the best...you're doing a great job! :)

jmb said...

Hi Lady Mac,
Glad you liked my garden. It is so fleeting looking like this, I thought I should immortalize it.
Well the walking group has been going for more than 3o years although I have only been participating for the eight years since I retired. We are a rather elderly lot so we like to choose a route where some can drop off when tired and we pick them up on the way back.
Yes, I did see that you now have linked. Congratulations, a new skill acquired.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Janice,
I love perennials too. This perfection in the front bed is fleeting. Soon enough there will be dead flowers and slug bites out of the hostas.
Who knows with the hearing. Expect nothing but give it your best shot is my motto with this.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Ellee,
I'll tell you a story about one of our walkers. She is an elderly Parisian widow who was married to a German Baron. She is always dressed to the nines, with her classic clothes and her Herm├Ęs scarf tied just so. She will wear Rockport shoes to walk in but always changes for lunch. She does not mind that we are dressed for walking but cannot dress down herself. But we love her anyway and she is not the least snobbish, except for herself.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi WCLC,
After our walk today we went back to the wheelchair lady's for lunch. She had bought some soup and another lady made sandwiches and lemon tarts. So there were 14 of us for lunch and we sat and looked out her windows at the lovely view she has of the Granville Island marina. And the sun was shining after a cloudy morning.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi voyager,
It won't be like that for long so I thought I should photograph it immediately.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi smalltown,
Good for you too, standing up for the cause, even on TV. I think I would be too nervous for that.
Well I'm sure you don't have much time for gardening, since you have such a demanding job. Breaking the mower is sure a pain in the neck, especially when it wasn't your fault.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Lee,
I thought it never got cold in Queensland but I can see I was wrong. Is it windy too? That always makes it worse. Poor cats.
Take care
jmb

Sienna said...

Great presentation!

Love the quote at the finish....class, wish you the best for judgement...(spreadsheets are good!)....you just never know.

The flowers are beautiful...I have missed them so much, but some green is here now, after some good rain, I even missed the color green..
I haven't been able to access blog ...strange old set up, so I am catching up with all the news...so sorry to hear what happened to your Dad...thank goodness treatments have improved, that is so sad having that disease in that time and place..

I will bet for sure the Board of Review wont forget you in a hurry JMB!! Great stuff....and helpful for others too, these things can be overwhelming.

All the best!

Pam

RUTH said...

I thought is was a really interesting post! Please tell me your secret getting Hostas to grow without slug and snail holes in them! I've tried everything and am seriously thinking of giving up on Hostas which is a shame because I love all the differtent leaf forms. I hope the house assessment goes in your favour and the fortune cookie comes true. Had to smile at the thought of you all trying to keep up with your motorised friend. :o)

jmb said...

Hi Pam
Welcome back from your hiatus, although it was unwilling to be sure.
Thanks for the good wishes and the commiseration.
We shall see.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Ruth,
Well it's not that I don't have hostas with tears and chunks out of them. At the moment these don't. I don't know if it's because they are so crowded the slugs have trouble getting there or what. I do find that the variegated ones seem to have less of a problem. I will not give up on them because I love them so much. Not the flowers, which on the whole I do not care for, but those gorgeous leaves in the wonderful swirl patterns. Looking out my window from where I sit I can see 17 different clumps and that's only half of my back garden.
regards
jmb

RUTH said...

17! Wow. Like you I don't grow them for the flowers.

jmb said...

Hi Ruth,
For me hostas are the perfect plant. Well except for the holes in the leaves and that they don't do so well in sunny spots. I grow them there anyway.
regards
jmb

Ian Lidster said...

Your astilbe is ahead of mine, which isn't yet out. Otherwise, a lovely scene.
Ian

Ian Lidster said...

Oh, and do your best to grind the taxation bastards down. I know you will.

Ian

jmb said...

Hi Ian,
These astilbe were just perfect on the day I took this. They look good for such a fleeting time but I like the leaves too.
I gave it my best shot but the hearings are ongoing. So if any one of us makes inroads we all benefit.
regards
jmb

RUTH said...

I hope you are able to accept the award on my Million Stories blog....