Tag Archives: vancouver

Reaping What We Sow. Lessons From My Garden. Truths about My City.

Last night we had another drive-by shooting in my neighbourhood. How many does that make?  I’ve stopped counting. That’s how many. It’s over 30, I know that much.

As I ponder the latest incident, I  look at my  backyard and see the similarities.

A decade ago I purchased  a container of wild flower seed mix from  our local Costco.  The photo on the front promised  a variety of pretty blossoms and blooms.  The seeds were sprinkled on a  garden plot that already had some  tried and true lovely shrubs and perennial favourites of mine. Neighbours  who had bought the same seed blend a few years earlier  told me that their experience wasn’t one they’d recommend and encouraged me to  put in fewer plants  and ones that were slower to grow . It was a small space after all.

I dismissed their concerns as an over reaction.

Over time the  wild flower mix sprouted and grew, but soon it  become clear that the results weren’t what I’d hoped  for. The Morning Glory, one of 12 varieties of seeds in the batch was running amok. It was overtaking the other older and more established plants. It began creeping up the trunks of shrubs and bushes that for years had grown strong and unfettered.  It was like a cancer that couldn’t be contained. An invasion that couldn’t be stopped.

After a  while, nothing good remained, save the Morning Glory, choking everything in its path. morning glory2

It spread and spread and destroyed everything good in my garden. I guess I should have nipped it in the bud, but I was focussed on other things at the time. Constructing a new patio and working on a major kitchen renovation were at the top of mind during that time. Before I knew it, the Morning Glory  (really a weed)  was unstoppable.  Now it’s everywhere and has spread over the fence and into my neighbours’ yards as well. I try to pull out what I can, but it’s been left unchecked for  so long I don’t know if it will ever be controlled. If only I’d  been  more diligent. If only I’d heeded the warnings of those who knew better than me.  If only I’d removed this menace as soon as I  saw it beginning to take root.  Sure would’ve saved myself a lot of time, aggravation and money if I’d only paid attention to the problem when it first reared its ugly head.

Now  I am  literally reaping what I sowed.

And so it is with many facets of our complicated  lives. When will we learn that preventing problems  from taking root is the smarter choice; that paying attention at the first sign of trouble is a no brainer.  That in the end, the best decision isn’t to ignore troubles but to anticipate and address them as they appear.   Environmental, poverty, and crime issues  can often  be predicted  and dealt with long before they reach a crisis point.  That’s where we are now. At the tipping point.

As for me and my garden, I should have listened and acted long before I did.  In the end, my garden would be healthier, prettier and more welcoming  if only I’d paid more  attention.


Yosef Gopaul convicted in Death of ‘Hockey Mom’ Julie Paskall

This morning at the  Surrey courthouse Yosef Gopaul pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of  Surrey’s “Hockey Mom” Julie Paskall.  Julie was attacked on the evening of Dec 29, 2013 in the parking lot of the Newton Arena in Surrey, BC. The  attack and subsequent death of Julie on New Year’s Eve  sent shock waves throughout the city and around the world.

  Today Judge Dohm sentenced Mr. Gopaul to 10 years for the crime against Julie Paskall and 2 years for an attack and robbery two weeks prior to Paskall’s on Dec 16 2013, an  event that injured a young woman both physically and psychologically. That victim was present in court but chose not to speak.

With time already served, Mr. Gopaul will spend a total of 10 and one half  years in custody.

 Heartbreaking victim impact statements were read by Julie’s husband Al Paskall, daughters Rhiannon and Stacey, sister-in-law Joan Ross on behalf of her husband  and Julie’s brother Martin, plus one of  Julie’s cousins. Many in the gallery  were seen weeping over  how this  sad and senseless act  devastated a family and rocked a community to its core.

Gopaul read a statement and expressed remorse over his actions that led to the death of Mrs. Paskall.

In the end, nothing brings this beautiful woman back.

No sentence, no apology, no tears of remorse. Nothing.

And that  breaks my heart.

Gangsta’s Paradise? Hardly….

Here we go again. Our city is in the midst of a drug war. Police say the participants are involved in “low level” gang activity. They are young men, most of them just 20 years old, barely out of high school one assumes.  The promise of easy money, fast cars and the dangerous, but oh so seductive and celebrated gangster lifestyle is too hard to resist.  When guns are used on busy streets, in broad daylight ( again) there’s nothing low level about it. This is serious business. The soldiers in these spats aren’t concerned about civilians getting hurt. The old ‘honour’ code of conduct is dead. It doesn’t matter that the hits are “targeted”. How accurate can a shot be when it’s fired into a moving vehicle from a moving vehicle? Sheer luck has prevented an innocent bystander from getting hurt. But luck has a way of running out. And if someone, heaven forbid a child gets caught in the crossfire, there will be hell to pay.

“Gangsta’s Paradise”
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left
Cause I’ve been blasting and laughing so long,
That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
But I ain’t never crossed a man that didn’t deserve it
Me be treated like a punk you know that’s unheard of
You better watch how you’re talking and where you’re walking
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk
I really hate to trip but I gotta loc
As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool
I’m the kinda G the little homies wanna be like
On my knees in the night saying prayers in the streetlight

And so it goes…

Welcome to Metro Van Musing!

Vancouver skyline at night with campfire

Vancouver skyline at night with campfire (Photo credit: istargazer)

Whew! What a weekend!  Workshops, keynote speakers and a Saturday spent with some of the best and brightest young people Metro Vancouver has to offer up to the world.

Stay tuned for more musings about the greatest little city in the world.  Vancouver, Vanhattan, Hollywood North. Lotusland, whatever you call this place. I call it home.