Friends In Need Food Bank’s Most Wanted

Yesterday, as I was shopping at our local Save-On Foods, I came across a small laminated notice on the shelf, under the Peanut Butter.

The sign was small enough, and the print tiny enough, that it was almost invisible, amongst the bright and gaudy labels on the jars, but as I bent to read it, I thought about how blessed my wife and I are… able to go to the grocery store, and be able to buy whatever we want and need.  The list is from the Friends In Need Food Bank, (supporting Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge) and was a reminder of their most wanted (and needed) items:

  • Campbell’s Soup / Chunky Soup
  • Side dishes (Hearty Noodles, Ramen Noodles)
  • Canned Fish or Meat (salmon, tuna, ham)
  • Prego. Pasta Sauce or Canned Tomatoes
  • Meal in a Tin (Chunky. Chili, stew, pork and beans, ravioli)
  • School Snacks (Goldfish)
  • Pasta & RIce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Meal replacement drinks (Boost)

Friends In Need - Food Bank in Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows -

If you are blessed to have enough food on your table, then the next time you are shopping, why not grab a few of these basics, and share your good fortune with your local food bank ?

If you don’t have the extra money, but you have some time, most Food Banks can always use volunteers.  Why not stop by ?

Or, if you have a few extra dollars, why not share with the food bank, so they can purchase the supplies they need ?

However you help, the folks at the Food Bank are always grateful !!!



Pitt Meadows 2011 Municipal Election

For anyone not aware, I am a political geek.

Not to the point of crafting policy, but I like to be aware and informed, and as there is a Municipal Election on November 19th, I have been looking over the candidate options, their communications and their various approaches to getting elected.

I am also a Social Media geek.  I find it interesting to see how some municipal candidates had already embraced this, some are doing the Young Drivers of Canada “brake and avoid” and a few rushing to embrace it.

As I review the information I gathered at the All Candidates Meeting, it seems that there is more of a focus on quality of character, over substantively addressing the issues.

(Although, in the process of hearing the candidates speak, I was able to identify several candidates that would NEVER receive my votes… for a variety of reasons.)

Looking at the literature I brought home from the ACM, I thought I would compile a list (as best as I can) of the different sources to get information from the candidates… (Other than newspaper interviews, which are always interesting, and Shaw Cable interviews, which air on Sunday Nov 13th at 4 pm)

Pitt Meadows Mayor Candidates
Name E-mail Twitter  FB  website
John Becker  @EJohnBecker FB
Gary Paller  x  x
Deb Walters  x  x


Pitt Meadows Council Candidates
Name E-mail Twitter FB website
Bruce Bell  x  x x
Doug Bing @DouglasBing  FB
John Clancy  x  FB x
George Coghlan  x  FB x
Gay Conn  x  x
Janis Elkerton  x  x  x
Michael Hayes  x FB  x
Rick Kreklewetz  x x  x
Tracy Miyashita x x  x
David Murray  x x  x
Gwen O’Connell  x x  x
Charm Prophet  x FB
Mike Stark  x  x  x

Please research your choices and VOTE on November 19th

Pitt Meadows Voter Information & Voting Locations

* Please note that every effort was made to find links, webpages and such. If any errors or omissions are discovered, please email Bob !!! (E&OE)

Here is a video, shot by the Pitt Meadows Community Association, at the Pitt Meadows All Candidates Meeting at South Bonson Community Centre, on November 7th.

I did my research, and made my choices, which I debated listing differently, but I don’t believe my endorsement would carry any weight… nor should it.  A few of the candidates I voted for (at the early poll) may not have the name recognition, and as such, they may not get elected… but in my opinion, they are the best candidates.  Researching the choices are important, because these people will manage our community for the next few years, and make decisions and choices that will affect our taxes, our communities’ resources, amenities and infrastructure, and the direction our community takes, moving forward.

Halloween 2011

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Not sure what the going word rate is on video.  (As you can tell, we don’t have our new video camera yet)

Below is either an eerily similar video to Blair Witch, or SOMEONE… *cough* LorieGray *cough* …thought the camera was on stills, while it was on movie.  LOL

Hope everyone had as much fun as we did at Halloween !!!


Halloween 2011 -



Light Up The World…

Christmas in Pitt Meadows - Bob & Lorie Gray -
Christmas in Pitt Meadows - Bob & Lorie Gray -
Christmas in Pitt Meadows - Bob & Lorie Gray -
Christmas in Pitt Meadows - Bob & Lorie Gray -
Christmas in Pitt Meadows - Bob & Lorie Gray -
This week, we tried to light up the world… or at least our corner of it.

Large oversize Christmas Lights and Ornaments, now adorn our front and back trees.


Unlike last year, there were no sudden gales of wind, followed by gales of laughter… just some pretty cold temperatures !


But we are pleased with how it turned out…

…and hope our friends and neighbours in Pitt Meadows will enjoy it, along with us.


Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas !!!

(It’s a month to go !!!)



And, now there is snow, so here’s the latest view, complete with frosting on top !!!





Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…

Breaking up is hard to do…

No, I’m not talking about the Carpenters…

or Neil Sedaka….

The raw fact is, breaking up sucks.

I’ve had family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances go through break ups, and:

(…Stop sweating, this isn’t ABOUT you…)

Rarely is it easy… Almost never entirely mutual… And FAR too often ends up devolving from Love and going to Indifference*, without getting a chance of stopping at Friendship.

Sometimes, when there are kids or pets, it can get… ugly.  And that is what I am writing about today.

On my travels, I pass through a major intersection in Pitt Meadows, and for the better part of a year, I have seen a sign that is extremely well glued onto the back of a traffic sign.  In black block letters, on medium green paper, it says: “XXXXX XXXXX** IS A DEADBEAT DADDY”


I don’t know the guy, and I did go so far as to try to see if he was listed in the phone book, and couldn’t find him… but someone has spent a LOT of time, trying to scrape away the name, whereas no attempt has been made at the bottom portion of the sign, where the paper has actually detached from the sign.  Apparently, XXXXX XXXXX (or one of his friends) only cared that the name get removed, and not the claim that he was a deadbeat.

It seems to me, that it was pretty innovative, on the side of the mother, to take felt pen to paper, and superglue to sign.

But how absolutely sad, that she had to go to that length.

Up close, you can see the effort that was put into getting the name portion removed.

Apparently that same effort wasn’t put into his contact and support of his family.

Like I say, I don’t know the people involved, but it made me very sad.

I guess maybe for some, breaking up ISN’T hard to do… I guess some folks can move on, and not look back, at all !


*Taken from Elie Wiesel‘s quote:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

** I think I spent more time deciding whether I should obscure his name, than I did writing the story.  At the end of the day, I decided to obscure it because a) I don’t know the facts BEHIND the poster, so I’ve only heard one side… and b) because the guys name isn’t the point.  The point is the extreme lengths she had to go to, to try to shame him into meeting his obligations.

Garage Sale, Saturday !!!

One of my nieces, Hayley Woodin, is a BC Ambassador.

Hayley Woodin - BC Ambassador 2010 - BobBlahBlah.comHayley is a former Miss White Rock, who continued on, and became one of three BC Ambassadors for 2010.

Neither one of these programs is a beauty pageant… the criteria for both contests, judges the applicants on knowledge of the region, a personal interview with the panel, public speaking, presentation ability, and a talent portion.

There is also an expectation that while they are holding the Title, they will travel throughout the Province, promoting the mandate of Education, Motivation and Self-Esteem.

They have also, for the past two years, been working towards helping Craig Keelburger’s Group: FREE THE CHILDREN to build a school in Kenya.  The Free The Children group has now morphed into WE… who run WE DAY.

With that goal in mind, the BC Ambassador program has held cookie sales, selling bird houses, a few garage sales and other fundraisers, to raise thousands of dollars necessary to make this dream a reality.

There is another Garage Sale, this Saturday, June 19th, and all proceeds from it goes to Free The Children to help build the school.

It is being held at 11845 Springdale Drive, in Pitt Meadows, and will run on Saturday from 8:30 to 2:00. (No early birds, please)

Here is a link to Google Maps, showing the location. (Just in case you aren’t familiar with the Ridge Meadows area)

C’mon out !  It’ll be a hoot, a holler and a half !!!



Thanks For The Memories…

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to run a leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, through Pitt Meadows .

I was a last minute substitution, for someone who didn’t show up, so none of my family or friends were there, to see or share the joy of this great honour.

It is a memory I will cherish, for the rest of my life.

The only tinge of sadness I felt, was that my wife was not there to share the moment.

At the end of the relay, those of us on the bus, knew we had participated in a moment we would always treasure.

However, although I had taken photos with a lot of strangers, I had no camera, and had no photos to share with my family.

The Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows Times came to my rescue.  Apparently, Don MacLean, the Mayor of Pitt Meadows, had forwarded a post from my blog about this experience, to the editor of  our local paper.  A reporter, Maria Rantanen, called  to interview me, and ask about my experience.

Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Run - BobBlahBlah.comAt the end of the interview, I asked, if it was possible, to mention that I didn’t have any pictures, and would love to have photos to share with my family.2010 Winter Olympics Torch Run in Pitt Meadows -

Because of the wonderful article she wrote, I have received e-mails and calls from a number of kind people who have shared their pictures.

I am overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.

Many thanks again, to all involved.





I Ran In The Pitt Meadows Olympic Torch Relay…

I got to run in the Olympic Torch Relay today.

The enormity of that statement is just now, hours later, starting to kick in.

I didn’t write an essay.  I don’t work for a Sponsor.  I don’t have any pull.

I got lucky.

I was helping out as a volunteer at the Pitt Meadows Olympic Torch Relay Celebration… just doing whatever needed doing… like everyone else.

It wasn’t raining, when we showed up at 6 am, and the fog was starting to dissipate… it looked like it was going to be a good day.

Little did I know how good it would be!

I was busy, like a lot of other volunteers and organizers, running here and there, doing whatever the coordinators needed doing.  After a bit, I found myself in the Council Chambers, helping tie ribbons for lanyards onto the volunteer nametags.

One of the supervisors had left her Walkie Talkie on the desk, and suddenly, over it, I hear “Where’s Bob ?”

I’m alone at the check in at this point, so I stick my head around the corner of the hallway and, spying the Supervisor who’d called, asked if she was looking for me ?

This is where it all gets very hazy, as things moved VERY quickly.

“Do you want an opportunity ?”

“Sure, I’m happy to help !”

There is a chance you may get to run in the Torch Relay…”

“……….” (Stunned silence)

“If the person doesn’t show up, in the next ten minutes, would you like to do it ?”

Words at this point cannot express the magnitude of emotions, crowding into my overwhelmed thoughts.

“Of course !”  I croak.

A Torch Relay Tracksuit is thrust into my arms, and I am hustled to change, just in case.

My brain is packed with a million thoughts… How can someone NOT show up?  This would be so COOL!  I wish someone I knew was here to take a photo.  Have to remember to smile.  Why did they pick me?  This can’t be happening.  Hurry up, they’re waiting.  It won’t matter – the person will have shown up.  If the person shows up, can I buy the tracksuit?  Enjoy the moment.  Stop enjoying the moment, they’re waiting.  How could someone NOT SHOW UP?

Five minutes later, the “just in case” waiver is filled out, signed, and the Torch Relay Bus is leaving.

The man giving me instructions is talking so quickly, and my brain is working SO slowly, that I take in NONE of what he tells me.

“Am I carrying a Torch?”  I finally get a chance to ask.

“Yes, you are!”  he says, as he claps me on the shoulder.  “Get on the bus, we’re leaving!”

The bus ride was a humbling experience, as after check-in, my fellow passengers in turn, gave their name, shared how they got to run in the Relay, and what it meant to them to be participating.  One young girl in a wheelchair had been hit by a car only two weeks earlier, and although confined to a wheelchair, and having a broken pelvis, she was determined to take the Torch on her leg of the Relay.  Another was running for a family member who had passed.  Another had been involved in the original Vancouver Bid process.  Several had written essays.  Some had spearheaded programs at their work.

I got lucky.

When it was my turn to be let off the bus, I got dropped off at the side of the road, and was soon surrounded by a crowd of people.  Children and adults alike, goggle-eyed as I let them hold and pose for pictures with the unlit torch.  I tried, as much as possible, to give the crowd on the sidewalk the benefit that I had been given, of holding the Olympic Torch for a moment.  To share the joyous feeling of this unbelieveable honour. 

I was working my way back through the crowd, when the Officials came up to me, having thought I’d gone missing, and told me it was time to get ready to start my leg of the Relay.

It was then I chuckled to myself, as I realized that although I had probably posed for over 100 pictures, I had no photo for myself… I had no camera, and no time to ask anyone to send one to me.

Soon the run was started, and once the choreography of the flame being passed from Torch to Torch was done… I started off.

A steady jog… I wasn’t prepared to rush this.

Close to the end, I slowed to a walk, as I really didn’t want it to end… but seeing the next Torch-bearer, broke back into a jog, as I could sense their excitement and anticipation.

It was over, almost before it had begun… but it was a few moments I shall treasure my whole life.

Today I got lucky.  I was given a tremendous honour, priviledge and gift, by people I barely know… who I have no possibility of EVER coming close to being able to adequately say  “Thank You” to… But Thank you, Lorna !!!  I was humbled to be in the company of the people I met.  Both those who carried the Flame on other legs, and those kind people who tend to the Torch carriers.  Those people, who, despite having given the same instructions over ten thousand times, know each time, that the person isn’t listening, because their brain is screaming “I have an Olympic Torch in my hands!”  and yet just keep on smiling, high fiving and woo-hooing.

Wow, did I have a good day today.

Lighting A Fire In Our Community…

Olympic Torch

2010 Olympic Torch

On Monday, February 8th, the Olympic Torch Run will pass through Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, on the way to the Opening Ceremonies on the following Friday.

There will be celebrations held in both communities.

Maple Ridge will “go” first, with their Party running from 6 am to 9 am… (although the exact time the Torch will be arriving is still to be announced).

There will be an official ceremony at Memorial Park, with some entertainment, an Art unveiling, and refreshments.

There will also be a Pancake Breakfast at the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

After Maple Ridge, the Torch will continue to Pitt Meadows, where the party will run from 7 am to 10 am, taking place at Spirit Square, next to City Hall.  Similarly, the Pitt Meadows celebration will have entertainment, a Spirit of Wood carving presentation and breakfast.

Different Torchbearers will be carrying the Torch through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and onto the Opening Ceremonies on February 12th.

Come on out, and help light up the Town !!!