Bits and Bites – Wednesday April 15th, 2009

Good morning to everyone, sorry for the late posting but if you had 4 kids from 10 months to 17 years, you might understand…

I was sitting in the chair at my surgeons office yesterday afternoon, which overlooks the new Canada line along Three road in Richmond. A gorgeous sunny day, the view through his floor to ceiling windows afforded me the opportunity to see why this line is not going to make enough money to break even. The  roads and parking lots below the  Canada line are filled, bumper to bumper, with luxury cars, and within them are people who will never step onto any form of transit in their lives. The people who currently take the bus will be the same ones who take the skytrain, and rest assured, it will not entice any new users simply because it’s there. And realistically- how many people are likely to haul their luggage down into  the horrifically steep  bowels of the Burrard, Granville and Waterfront stations, to connect to this line,  when they could simply take the shuttle or a taxi? Really, the access points are not travel laden tourist friendly.  This is clearly not a case of ” If you build it, they will come.”  My question is, how long will it be before the government admits defeat on this world class, worst case scenario decision?

Talking about worst case scenarios… the reason why I was at the surgeons office again was to check on the periapical cyst in my jaw, which is still giving me grief. Despite having the best dental insurance, I’ve spent enough on this one tooth to have been able to take a long cruise, a vacation to the Bahamas, or buy a good used car-  possibly even all three. You heard me. It started with a filling that fell out of a molar ( Cha-ching$). Then, the remaining tooth was not suited to a re-fill, so I had a crown put on(cha-ching$). The root canal abcessed( cha-ching$ on meds), so another root canal had to be done ( double  cha-ching$, because Blue Cross only covers one root canal per tooth!). This lead to the episode entitled ” When Good Root Canals Go Bad…” meaning, something happened that shouldn’t have and a cyst developed around the root. So, off to the surgeon, ( Cha-Ching$) who removed the growth and part of the offending root. Despite the best efforts, that tooth continues to be a problem and the lump is back, leaving me with some options to have more surgeries – that in the end may not work ( Cha- Ching$) – or have the tooth removed and get an implant. ( BIG Cha-Ching$$)

So, in two weeks, I’m having the freaking tooth pulled out, and will be forced to go toothless back there for about 8 months while my jaw bone heals itself so that I can have the implant done. Lesson here? Sometimes it’s better to listen to your inner voice saying ” Just pull the damn thing.” rather than the dentist who needs to pay for his Mercedes…

For those of you following the BC Rail/ Basi-Virk Hearings, please go over to  blog of my dear friend BC Mary and read some riveting new posts she has up on the link between Accenture and Enron( WOW!! Who knew?) , as well as a wonderful guest blog by Paul Nettleton, the former MLA for Prince George – Omineca. In his post, Paul addresses the need for everyone to fight for honesty, openness, transparency and accountability in the government- and how that related to his own experiences with Premier Gordon Campbell…

As many of you know, my eldest is graduating highschool this year, and with that accomplishment comes the never-ending flow of money out of my wallet to cover all associated costs. I’m lucky in two ways though. First, she is a very un-demanding and simple girl who doesn’t go for the designer gowns and expensive accoutrement’s that are likely to be worn only once. Secondly, I can afford to pay for the items she does need, like her grad gown.

So many of us take things like that for granted, but what about if you are a single parent on a limited income- or maybe, no income? Paying for even the most basic dress or suit rental would be an impossible dream. There are many, many kids out there in homes like this right now, contemplating not going to their grad gala because they have nothing to wear, and I consider this to be a shame. High school graduation is not only a wonderful achievement, it is also a right of passage for every kid, and one that should never be denied.

That is why I want to bring something special to your attention: Surrey’s Cinderella Story. This is an annual, one day, non-profit event that provides formal wear and pampering to some of Surreys high school graduates who need it most.  They are looking for donations of new or slightly used men’s and women’s formal wear, so these kids can attend their grads with pride and honour.  Specifically, they need dresses, suits, dress shirts and ties, shoes and purses and jewellery. In addition, they also need volunteers to solicit donations, help organise the event and assist students in picking their items, and be part of the post event crew.  I’m not sure what the current wish list is, or how its changed but give them a call to find out.

I urge anyone looking for a good cause to step up and help out. These young men and women deserve it. You can contact  the following people for more information:

Parm Brar: 604-595-8890  or email:

Laurie McMurtry: 604-614-6642 or email:


Like Hockey? Love the Canucks?  Ready for the opening round game tonight? Can you actually afford to go to tonight’s game? Not I, my friends- there is no way to justify the cost of those tickets when you have 4 kids around…. Recession or no recession, beer sales will rocket during this playoff run, especially in light of all the band-wagoners out there. You know who you are. You don’t watch all season, you make fun of the devoted fans who stick through thick and thin, and now that the Canucks have actually made it this far? You suddenly go get a jersey and car flag so you don’t look like the only geek not cheering on the Canucks. But don’t worry. We still know who you are because you stick out like a sore thumb. Don’t ask how we know, we just know.

That’s it  everyone – short today because the baby is wrapped around my ankle right now, teething yet again,my four year old is trying to get his inside out underwear, back the right way out, and some Jehovahs Witnesses are knocking on my door…I think I must be on the ‘still not converted’ list this week.


3 thoughts on “Bits and Bites – Wednesday April 15th, 2009

  1. Laila,

    I was hoping you’d like Paul Nettleton’s message … and you did! Thank you for the kind words you wrote about him and his message for British Columbia.

    Was he (as BC Liberal M.L.A. for Prince George – Omineca) on the political scene when you were growing up?

    It’s been interesting working on this story. A group of us tried hard, about 2 years ago, to find him because we thought he’d know a whole big lot about BC Rail and we had heard of his reputation for honesty …

    but nope, nobody seemed to know how to contact him. Or where he was. Or if they had even heard of him. Yeah, right. Disagree with Gordo and you disappear.

    Then, last month, the actual words of Paul Nettleton were quoted in The Province … and we finally were able to reach out to him.

    Well, I tell you, even in e.mails, he is a quietly impressive soul. He offered immediate answers to my questions. Offered research assistance. Fitted all this into his busy schedule without complaint but with encouragement to me and my little circle of supporters. It all came together over the Easter Weekend, which, as we got to know Paul Nettleton, seemed appropriate.

    Here’s a chuckle: There were a couple of typos in his statement and honestly, I felt terrible having to correct them. It just didn’t seem right. But Robin Mathews insisted. So “Openess” (which I liked) became “Openness” (which I told Robin, looks closed). And “lead” became “led”. Why did I, as editor, want to keep those typos? Because somehow, those little errors made Paul Nettleton seem more like the rest of us, therefore more brave in what he had demonstrated about high-level accountability. Me — or anybody — correct him for a couple of typos? Imagine the irony. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, thanks for telling more people about this man who staked his career on defending BC Hydro and BC Rail and lost the battle but not his honour. That’s what I call a real winner.



  2. Laila, I could identify with your root-canal story. Years ago I had an experience which was similar, but also much different. I developed a painful abcess and went to the only dentist for miles around at the time, in Queen Charlotte City.

    This cracker jack dentist quickly determined that I didn’t even have a cavity in the affected eye-tooth but that the abcess was caused by pressure from my bite due to an improperly surfaced filling done by a previous (in Kamloops) dentist. He then had to remove the offending filling, perform a root-canal to drain the pus, and then I had to return to have the tooth refilled (and ground and surfaced properly).

    Where my story really differs from yours is in the ka-ching factor. This dentist refused to charge me a single dime for all of this work, because he felt bad that another of his profession had done such a poor job, and considered it his responsibility to repair the damage – though he couldn’t compensate me for the pain of the abcess. This in spite of the fact that I was doing high-lead logging full time at the time and had both a good dental plan and lots of bucks.

    It is always refreshing to run into honourable people who take pride in their profession, even to the point of cleaning up after their less accountable peers. I hope your current problems are resolved before you go either crazy or broke. This dentist was a man like Mr. Nettleton, and unlike Mr. Campbell – the man who managed to kill the forestry sector in BC in spite of the biggest building boom (bubble) in American history – fiscal management my posterior……………………

    Now that the election is underway I can hardly believe how much I read and hear about Glen Clark’s deck again – as if the Convention Center, the Sea to Die Highway, the gradual privatization of BC Hydro and the theft of BC Rail weren’t any where near as questionable – I guess it all depends on what Canned Waste feeds the sheeple.


    1. Ouch, I’m reliving the pain from your story!! How lucky for you that you found such a stand up guy. I’m lucky now though, that I have a surgeon who told me he could do this$$, or that$$, but that if it were his tooth, he would have it pulled. AND because I can’t seem to find a dentist who wants to touch such a mess now, he is going to do it himself, which makes me feel much better. As for the dentist behind the root of all this? I’m sticking pins into a little dentist voo-doo doll as we speak… just kidding.

      Funny that Glen Clark reference, because I was just reading a story about how it looks like hes headed for the Canfor board….
      All I can say is that I’m glad my dad is headed for retirement, since with Pattison controlling so many shares now, the unions will have even a harder time keeping what they’ve fought for over the years… sad day for the forestry workers under Canfor when Pattison ends up getting the lions share and busts that up too.

      BC Mary, I did love that post of his on your blog and what a fantastic job he did. I completely understand what you mean about the editing job – i too relate more to people who feel and act real, rather than the plastic and smooth talking smarmy ass politicians that abound. Shirley Bond would be one of those. I had my laugh at her remarks on the news tonight about what people in Prince George want and are looking for in the Liberals. All I can say is that she better start packing.

      Keep up the good work Mary, and Kootcoot- I like to read more of your writing and wish your posts were even more frequent. Many a story to be told there, I think…


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