Winter in the Park (and back to proper blogging)

I thought it was time to get back to proper blogging. Blogging that is just for enjoyment. Looking back the loss of the cabin derailed blogging for over a year. In all honesty the concept of photography as fun had also disappeared, all wrapped up in one horrible experience (or three if you count the two written off vehicles as well).

For the last couple of weeks I have felt it was time to turn things around. It was time to again shoot some landscapes and nature. It started out as reference images for painting, and then I realized shooting for shooting’s sake was starting to be fun again. So two weeks and hundreds of images later perhaps I am back on track.

Below is a teeny selection of a walk through the park by our home, literally 5 very cold minutes of shooting. And I am back to my first love, black and white, which again feels a positive move. Hopefully this is the step forward to a more positive blog. I hope you enjoy the black and whites.






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93,951 Views Of My Open Letter And Still Receiving Hate Mail

News flash…….. the election is over. The votes have been counted, the decision has been made. Isn’t it amazing, the election has been over for days yet the hate mail continues.

As of 5 minutes ago my open letter had been viewed 93,951 times, and still continues to be viewed hundreds of times each day. The number of views is significant, however beyond the readership numbers I am getting an inside look as to the mentality of a certain portion of Canadian society.

Let me share what I am discovering. First, there is an absolute HATE by the political left for stay-at-home parents.

Evidently we are living in the lap of luxury, lounging on the couch eating bon-bons all day while our servants run around cleaning our house and dusting our bottoms due to our lack of activity. Unfortunately they are wrong. The fact is we bought our house for land value and renovated for years. We chose to stay at home after arriving to our baby sitter and finding our toddler had been left with her ten year old son while the babysitter went shopping. We choose to raise our own children and run our own lives rather than outsource all aspects of our lives. We choose to have a marriage that is a partnership. We choose to be responsible and self sufficient and hard working. We choose to make our own path for success rather than blame others for our lack of foresight, hard work or ambition.snowshoeing at riverbend - red deer, alberta, canada

When the election results came in my husband asked me my thoughts, so as I am still getting hate mail (clearly people have a lot more free time than I do) I may as well share them here:

The Environment – anyone who really knows me, knows we are environmentally conscious. Yes it is shocking, but not every person that leans to the right believes in raping the earth. Check back in the blog and you will find an ambitious fight (and win), spearheaded by us, to save a nesting ground, including door-to-door canvassing with our five children. We walk the talk on a daily basis. The other political parties were quick to point their fingers at the “nasty, nasty” Conservatives, yet all their environmental talk was nothing but babble. Neither the Liberals, Greens or N.D.P. had a firm plan in place, it was all political babble. These political parties are clueless. They like to blame the oil industry but emissions are an issue nationwide not just in Northern Alberta.

If these parties had any clue they would have promoted feasible plans, what they needed to do is so simple. The two nationwide polluters and users of fossil fuels are our homes and our cars. This is where the fight to improve the environment needs to start. It is so simple, kill the commute and put solar and wind in our homes. The solution isn’t a carbon tax, it is changing the way we live.

Killing the commute is quite simple. All that would be needed are government incentives to move industry and large employers to smaller towns and areas with dwindling populations. By moving industry and business into areas like this jobs are created in areas that are usually economically struggling, housing is affordable, and the drive to work is 5 or 10 minutes rather than an hour and a half. It is a winning situation. It is a simple situation to reduce vehicle emissions. However it takes a creative forward thinking government willing to work WITH business,  not a government that just wants to tax business.

Putting solar and wind in our homes is another concept that is beyond simple. The technology is there, and has been for decades. It is time for our homes to be run on cleaner power. Solar power has been an interest of mine for years, we have investigated the possibilities and walked away on numerous occasions. The price is too high to get your investment back and it is difficult to learn all the ins and outs of what is really needed to switch your home over to a sustainable form of clean energy. As long as it is only a minute fraction of the population using solar and wind, this will never change. For change to happen government needs to intervene and give incentives; incentives not to the homeowners, but to big business.

The place to start is with diversification of the energy sector. The energy sector is just big business. The government needs to talk to them about the form of power they produce. Would they be interested, with the aid of government incentives into moving into producing clean power options as well? Businesses diversify all the time, they don’t care about the product the produce, they care about guaranteed profit. If there is money at the end of a venture, business is interested. Building factories that produce solar panels, equipment for wind power and storage batteries. Retraining some of their staff for these factories and as installation technicians. All of this can be done up at Ft. McMurray just as easily as the tar sands operations are now. But a government promise has to go a bit farther to make this feasible, they need to provide a sure-fire need for the green technology produced. The federal government will have to work with provinces and municipalities to revise building requirements and building codes, and make all new builds powered by a certain percentage of green energy. This creates a demand for the product, and the demand for the product is what will bring the price down to an affordable level. As the price comes down homeowners will retrofit their homes. A whole new industry is born, new jobs are created nation-wide as installers will be needed coast to coast, and our country begins to wean off fossil fuels in our homes. So simple. So effective, but again it takes a creative forward thinking government willing to work WITH business,  not a government that just wants to tax business.

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“Generation Entitlement” – “Generation Entitlement” was my second thought regarding the election results. They are the new generation of voters, and the left wing parties recognized the fact and ran with the concept. Undoubtedly the generation that thinks that their parents should pay for their college educations, their cars, their vacations, and a coat “when they are sad” (true story!) are going to need to vote in a government who will “take care of them”. Mommy and Daddy have been giving “hand outs’ all their life, and now they want the government to do the same. This is the same generation that still think of themselves as “kids” at the age of 30. This is the same generation that feel they deserve the big house and fancy car “right now” rather than work for it. This is the same generation that is on CBC Radio every few weeks complaining that there are no middle management jobs for when they get out of college, and that the older generation is staying in their jobs for too long and not retiring. Newsflash “kids”……..the old folks are staying in their jobs longer to pay for your education, holidays, cars and coats when you are sad. They will be staying in their jobs even longer if they are taxed higher by a government with a “hand out” mentality. The tactic may have voted in the Liberal’s, but I suspect four years from now “Generation Entitlement” will be exactly where they are now, complaining with their hand out.

A Campaign of Hate – Hate is what ran this election. “Harper Hate”. Hate for people who blog their opinion. Even after the election the hate continues, which is quite remarkable. I’m still receiving hate mail. hate mail is everywhere on social media. We live in a hateful society. We have made a few observations through people we know in person and have interacted with online. Generally the “hate” seems to be a way people either respond in jealousy to other people’s success, or is a reaction regarding their own lack of ambition or regretted choices. I am not talking about people who have truly had unfortunate incidents happen to them in their lives, in fact I have not received or witnessed “hate” from a person in this circumstance.

We personally know a person full of “Harper Hate”. This is an educated person from a comfortable upbringing with a lot of emphasis placed on material items; a person who migrated to Alberta a few years ago from an easterly province. Interestingly  this person’s employment  is somewhat dictated by the oil industry in Alberta. They are a one income family, his hours were cut, yet he still spouted “Harper Hate”. His livelihood is hanging in the balance yet he would prefer to spout hate and vote in a government where their energy policies could leave him unemployed. He would prefer to be jobless and homeless. The “hate” is blinding people.

I find it amazing that the hate continues after the election. What is the point? The votes have been cast, the decision has been made. We watch and see what happens. The “haters” too have cast their votes, they should be happy, but the hate continues. This is troubling. It shows the election results do not reflect an informed population, it just reflects a hateful society. If the hate had been in an effort for change, the haters would now be silent, but they are not. They continue their personal attacks. They continue their social media attacks. The Liberal’s may have won the election, but evidence shows (and continues to) that they won on hate and not policy, and that is pretty sad.

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Yesterday my husband commented how quickly I have moved on from the election. I said to him “It’s a done deal. This is the vote. This is the decision. Now we watch.” ( I also may have said “Thank goodness our oldest has a job and by the time our second oldest needs a job another government will have been voted it.” …..but back to the post.)  He also asked “Are you not angry?”, and I replied that I am not angry at all but rather amused.

I am amused. Year after year all we have heard in the media is people blaming Harper and the Conservatives for everything that has gone wrong with their lives. Now I get to sit back and watch. Now I get to sit back and watch the same people, continue to live the same lives, with the same problems under a different government. Now I get to watch the circumstances, that these people blamed on “Harper”, remain under Trudeau. What these people do not understand is that hand outs do not move people forward, added taxation does not help a country, and legalized pot does not make everything better. The fact of the matter is that the only thing that can truly improve one’s plight in life is to make wise choices, be responsible, self sufficient and hardworking. Each person  chooses to make their own path for success, and blaming and hating others for their own lack of foresight, hard work or ambition will get them nowhere.

I am amused because four years from now the “haters” will be exactly where they are now. However it will no longer be “Harper’s fault”, it will be their own.






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Are Canadian Women Allowed An Opinion Outside Of Their Own Home?

blog house graphic

Are Canadian women allowed to truly have an opinion beyond the walls of their home? This is a thought that has been on my mind over recent days.

The last month has left me contemplating  how equal women truly are in Canadian society, not how it reads in theory on paper, but how equal we are in real life. Back in mid September I wrote an open letter expressing my feelings on how the discussion of eliminating two policies affected me. The elimination of policies was  discussed by  a couple of  party leaders running in Canada’s 2015 federal election, and the attitudes of these two political parties surrounding the elimination of these policies  made me feel worthless. These were policies that for the most part gave a sense of recognition to parents at any level of income across Canada. It was an inclusive policy. Policies that included every single family in the country. Somehow the letter was shared on social media and it has now had over 85,000 views. It is great to have an opinion piece read, it was meant to give insight as to how an everyday person felt about issues involved in our upcoming federal election.

However this is where it becomes interesting, the piece reflected my feelings and my opinion, yet other Canadians, primarily male Canadians, took issue to tell me I was wrong. I was told my opinion and my feelings were wrong. How can this be? How can a male Canadian know how a female Canadian feels? How can they know how a mother feels? Honestly how can anyone know how another person truly feels, yet vicious attacks were made regarding how I personally felt and my personal experience. I had no right to an opinion.

Now Facebook banter is one thing, it is an insignificant lowbrow mudsling, but when an individual tracks you down and sends a hateful, lie filled email to you personally, because you dared to share your opinion, we have a problem. We have a further problem because one has to decide how to deal with the correspondence. Clearly this person is unstable, as who sends a toxic email to someone who has written an open letter about their personal feelings. This person also posted their hateful email filled with lies about me on their blog. However, if I had taken the email to our local R.C.M.P. my feeling is that I would have been seen as an overreacting female. So the situation is interesting. We have an unstable person trespassing into my life by writing a toxic email and posting libelous statements about me on his blog, the authorities are not going to take me seriously, and I do not know what this male is going to do next. What do I do? I protect myself the only way I can, I post his email online.

Now in my blog I posted that I would let this gentleman have his say. In reality the email address was put out there to point to who this person was if he chose to escalate things further. If my children were threatened, if my house was set on fire, if our tires were flattened, his email was out there to point to the possible motive. Clearly this person was not stable, what normal person reacts in such a toxic manner to a complete stranger having a personal opinion over political policies and programs? We have to protect ourselves, and that is what I did.

This male sent me a second email citing “privacy issues” with my blog post. I knew this gentleman had no issues with “privacy”, his Whosis profile even lists his phone number. If he had “privacy issues” he wouldn’t have used his real name or real email address which included his name. He was just mad that I didn’t succumb to his cyber-bullying. That I didn’t issue a retraction for having an opinion. That is correct, this person thought I should issue a retraction for having an opinion. When males of our Canadian society think that women should have to issue retractions for having an opinion we have a very problematic situation happening in our supposedly equal society.

blog house graphicNow one could say I am basing this on one “looney leftie” , a term popularized out in social media, but the attitude was verified as the situation escalated. When this rather unstable male went to the Saskatoon police to complain about the “privacy issue” I was again treated with a less than equal attitude. It was curious. To begin with I called the officer back after receiving the message, was transferred through to her line, then she said immediately that she would have to call me back on another line. That was odd; I actually did a screen shot of the phone numbers and call times. I tried to go through the emails with her to see just what this gentleman had said. She wouldn’t go through them with me piece by piece. When I asked how many emails she had,  she said “lots” . The answer should have been four. When I asked for her to forward the situation to the R.C.M.P. in our home town in order to talk to someone in person so I could verify the situation was legitimate, the officer got all funny with me and said I could just call the switchboard back to verify. That wasn’t my request. ( It was starting to feel like one of those scam telemarketer calls by this stage of the discussion, something was off.)  Not once did she even cite any part of the privacy act or what had been violated, she just said that I needed to take down the email address (or at least implied it). To this day I still do not know if I actually violated any portion of the privacy act; never was any aspect of the act cited to me. The officer then said she was too busy and would call me back; days later there has yet to be a phone call.

Now one has to wonder how the police can do this? How can they just call you up and say to take something off your personal blog, an item put up to protect yourself, because they said so.  Remember earlier when I said there was no point in taking the original toxic email to the police, the handling by this police officer proved my gut feeling. Women are not treated equally or fairly or taken seriously. The police officer would not listen to what I had experienced, she would not go through the documentation, she would not even verify the number of emails, I was just to “take it down” because she said so.

The unstable gentleman who sent me the toxic email thought I should issue a retraction on my open letter because “he said so”.

The police officer thought I should take down information on my blog because “she said so”.

Could someone please tell me why women in Canada have no right to an opinion?

Could someone please tell me why women in Canada have no right to have their side of the story heard?

Could someone tell me why women in Canada are supposed to change their opinions and ways simply because someone else tries to oppress them?

Could someone please tell me why Canadian women are not allowed to protect themselves the only way they can, as social biases prevent us from being protected through proper channels?

A woman is supposedly equal in Canada, but we aren’t. Evidence is everywhere. Women are abused and murdered by spouses. Women are underpaid. A strong man is a leader in our country, while a strong woman is a bitch. Now society is also trying to strip us of having personal opinions. It is a strange version of equality, isn’t it?







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“L_i_h_on T_b_y” – – why does my open letter threaten you so ?


This link will give you some insight to the inspiration for this post:

Update: L.T. went to the Saskatoon Police Department regarding this issue. He attacked me through an unsolicited email, and posted libelous statements about me on his blog  calling me “blatantly dishonest”. I requested that the Saskatoon police officer contact an R.C.M.P. member in our city of Red Deer so that I could talk to them to know every thing is legitimate, after all how do I know if it isn’t just L.T. having a friend be the heavy. The police officer was put out, then too busy, then said she would call back. She had no problem with him making a personal attack. She had no problem with the libel. She had no time for me. Interesting.

(This is a response to an email I received this evening.)

L. T., why does my letter to Trudeau and Mulcair threaten you so.

Why did you feel the need to track me down and send me an angry letter?

I am one person with an opinion.

Are you worried that the almost 57,000 people who have read my letter may stop and think before they vote?

L. T. it is fine for me to have my views, and it is fine for you to have yours. I suspect you are simply jealous that an average Canadian would reach out with their feelings about an election policy.

So L. T., I am about to give you a wonderful opportunity, for anyone interested in Leighton Tebay’s opinion please email them at ____________________ ( email removed but clearly people have been writing you or you wouldn’t have gone to the police like a big whinging baby!) .

(The real question is, is L. T. real, or just a coward hiding behind a gmail account? Time will tell. Enjoy your emails!)

Also, for everyone’s amusement, L.’s email went in my JUNK email folder. Any bets this is a troll for the NDP or Liberals? Hmmmmmm……..why would it go in the junk folder I wonder? Wonder, wonder, wonder……………….

(Same person? Who knows. Just another Google search. However it does fit the NDP or Liberal troll theory. Are they really so threatened as to attack a simple stay at home mom?) )

(graphic removed)*****

By the way….this graphic above stays….this is a public Google search… “privacy” issue here. First page of my Google search when I searched the email I received. Perhaps next I will have a police officer telling me  women are no longer allowed to use the internet.

**** Update: As of this morning, October 1st, 2015 L. T. has again sent me a harassing email. Evidently women are not allowed to have opinions on how they feel. We are to be oppressed. We are to be bullied. L. T. and all he stands for is oppression of women and bullying through emails. I encourage anyone else being bullied due to this election to stand strong, and consider actions like these when they vote.

***** Update: October 5, 2015 : I removed the graphic, on my own free will and decision,  of the subject of this post that appeared on the first page of my google search. I decided my blog’s quality was just being drug into the dirt by including images of this “man”. Undoubtedly everyone in this person’s circle knows what he is like, and the rest of Canada simply won’t care about a blowhard from Saskatoon. The blog post stays as it is part of the experience and story, and also part of the expanding story of free expression of opinion, cyber-bullying and harassment, and the equality of women. This situation has brought more than just political policy to light, it has shown a disturbing and oppressive side of Canadian society. The discussion has been opened and I hope more women will out those who try to bully or oppress them.






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17,800 views of my Mulcair/Trudeau Letter Today Alone

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I guess it pays to care.

I guess it pays to be vocal.

Today my concerns were heard by 16,609 people who care about Canada. Today my letter to Trudeau and Mulcair was read 17,800 times. The policies of Trudeau and Mulcair may make me feel worthless, but the tens of thousands of people who have taken the time to read my letter has made me feel that I am of some worth.

I thank you all for reading and sharing my letter.

The link to the letter can be found by clicking HERE .

daily stats sept 29 2015




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“NO, I will NOT work for free.”

“No, I will NOT work for free.”

I bet you are intrigued by the above statement. Perhaps you are wondering what has inspired me to write the statement. Well, it is a tale that needs to be told, has been told, and a story many others have also experienced. So sit back, grab a big cup of coffee… is time to share the story as to why I WILL NOT work for free.

city hall park, red deer, albertaIt all started with this picture. Honest to goodness it did. A shot of the City Hall Park in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. So while I thought I was posting on this blog a beautiful image showing our city’s downtown in a most positive light, what I didn’t realize was this image was the gateway to insult and a demeaning of my worth.

Was it a crap picture? No. That was the problem. The problem was this was a picture that others wanted.

blog work for free rdpsd

One day in September I received a message in my WordPress notifications requesting permission to use the image. The message was from Red Deer Public Schools. A publicly funded institution wanting permission to “use” my “photo” for the foreign student brochure. I was a bit put out. A bit insulted. Instead of getting into it with the person requesting use, a person who is paid a salary for their work (that clearly involves surfing the net….obviously….your tax dollars at work!), I simply didn’t respond. My tactic was “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”

I knew this would eventually happen, I just wasn’t expecting a PUBLICLY FUNDED institution, an institution funded by our TAX DOLLARS, to behave this way.

For months my emails and messages were normal and then one day I opened an email from the Government of Alberta. It read:

blog work for free alberta govt 1The pictures being discussed were of the Jeongia in Edmonton, Alberta.

Jeongja, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jeongja- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jeongja detail - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada I responded thinking surely the Government of Alberta is going to provide compensation for the use of images. WRONG. Instead I received the following response:

blog work for free alberta govt 2Yep, the Government of Alberta was going to offer me in compensation for my work “good karma and lots and lots of appreciation” . That’s pretty special isn’t it? Could you imagine how far I would get paying my provincial tax in “GOOD KARMA”?. My gut tells me that wouldn’t go over so well. “GOOD KARMA” also doesn’t feed my children, or clothe them or keep a roof over their heads.

Isn’t it special when someone sitting in a cushy job, playing on the internet, paid with MY TAX DOLLARS, tells me that all my work is worth is “good karma”.

As you can guess this one really rubbed me the wrong way. Insulted. Undervalued. They came to me regarding the images and then expected me to hand them over because artists in our society have ZERO value. Did anyone pick up on the irony? I, a born and raised Albertan, from a family that has been in Alberta well over a century, was supposed to GIVE AWAY their work to celebrate the cultural history of Korea. A twinned relationship with a foreign country was more important to the Government of Alberta than treating their own productive taxpaying lifelong resident fairly.

The Government of Alberta expected me to work for free.

Yes, I wrote an email regarding the fact that it was about time the government started to appreciate and see value in artists. I couldn’t stay silent on this one. I am sure it was just deleted.

A message was left on my phone about there being a “misunderstanding”. How? I didn’t return the call. How much devaluation should one have to endure? Chances are they were just going to withdraw the offer of “good karma” or perhaps charge me to use my own images. I wouldn’t doubt it.

red deer city hallSo today my phone dings, I look down, and this is the email that has just come through:

blog work for free red deer advocateThis time it is the Red Deer Advocate asking to “use” an image of Red Deer City Hall for their advertising department. Seriously. Are you kidding me?

First I was going to email back (as in the case of the Government of Alberta). Then I was just going to ignore it (as I did with Red Deer Public Schools). Then I decided to BLOG it. And so I did.

Does anyone else see how bizarre this request is? The Red Deer Advocate EMPLOYS their very own PHOTOGRAPHERS. The Red Deer Advocate has ARCHIVES. It was +28C today, the sky was blue, City Hall is a 10 minute drive from the newspaper’s headquarters, yet they would rather I just GIVE them my work than shoot a picture of the bloody thing.

They want to “USE” my image for THEM to MAKE MONEY!


I’m tired of publicly funded institutions trying to screw me over.

I’m tired of the government trying to screw me over.

I’m tired of big business trying to screw me over.


I am professionally trained in both art and photography. I have diplomas in Fine Art and Design plus in Photographic Technology. I have years of experience on two different continents. If you want my images I must have FINANCIAL compensation.


The Red Deer Public Schools are NOT a charity.

The Government of Alberta is NOT a charity.

The Red Deer Advocate is NOT a charity.



(and if you ask me to, I’ll blog about you too! Enough is enough.)








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Why I blog “issues” (plus a letter to Transport Canada Regarding Dodge Safety)

I have had an afternoon and evening of clarity. Sometimes removing yourself from the confines of the box you live in makes you see situations from a different angle.

My first revelation came at my daughter’s basketball game. Watching the girls bump into each other made me think again about our issue with the Dodge Caravan and how if you lose power you will have a chance of being rear ended.  (More on this later into the post.)

The second revelation came during yoga class, an apt environment to achieve clarity, and the revelation that came to me was that I need to share with the readers “Why I Blog Issues”. So I am going to start with that.

And then I also had a third…..



I am sure some people think “loud mouth”, “trouble maker” and “moaner” when they read a post about an issue, and everyone is capable of having their own response and opinions, however in my case that is not why I write about issues.

I write about issues because society has become apathetic. People care more about watching “Breaking Bad” than their municipalities, the environment, fairness or health and safety. Because society is so apathetic, both private sector and government have become absolutely corrupt. Laws, by-laws, zoning, the environment, fairness, safety, honesty, and operating “in good faith” are no longer of any interest to some levels of government and definitely of no interest to “big corp”. Corruption is rampant because no one takes on the corrupt operations of big business. Corruption is never ending because no one makes governments follow their own rules. Yes there are pocket groups and petitions, but the bulk of society is more bothered about playing Candy Crush than making our society fair, honest and just.

So this is why I write on issues such as Dodge selling faulty and dangerous vehicles, Wawanesa having horrific handling of our insurance claim, issues with the school system where children weren’t taught (or were bullied), issues with Land Use By-laws where neighbourhoods and environment would be destroyed, and issues with regards to saving habitat; I write on these topics as both private and public sector are corrupt. I don’t write because I want a “freebee” or to “moan”. I write because someone has to tackle the corruption that surrounds us. I write because we are all being harmed by corrupt “big corp” and corrupt government actions. I write because it is about time someone actually did something and said something. I write because it is time to stop corruption and live in a fair, honest and just world, not the cess-pit it has become .

So that , in a nutshell, is why I blog issues.

I blog issues because it is the right thing to do.

blog van



Now for my second revelation. As I was saying, I was watching my daughter’s basketball game, and the girls bumping into each other made me think again about our issue with the Dodge Caravan. I was thinking about the fact that if you are driving a vehicle that  loses power there is a chance of being rear ended, injured or killed. Then it dawned on me that the innocent driver behind you could also be injured or killed. The big picture became apparent to me in one huge technicolor vision of destruction…….this is not just a Dodge Grand Caravan issue , this a a transportation hazard . This is a transportation hazard that has the potential to injure or kill any driver on the road.

The issue was no longer about “my” vehicle, and the fact that it is faulty beyond belief. This is no longer about me being “petty” and thinking a new vehicle should actually work and not be in for constant repair. Yes, every aspect of dealing with this vehicle has been rubbish , from dealing with Chrysler, dealing with the manager at our dealership and dealing with the salesman at our dealership….and all that will come out in another blog post…….but at the moment the issue is safety.

Now here is the scary thought. My vehicle lost power. My vehicle’s MIL light came on. My vehicle dinged and dinged and dinged in warning. I had NO idea what a MIL light even was up until Friday afternoon. As soon as the vehicle limped it’s way into the school parking lot I hunted through the manual to figure out what was up and then called my husband to be rescued. The dealership looked at our vehicle and said first that their computer said the “MIL light didn’t come on”, and secondly that they “could not replicate the problem”. Now the MIL light did come on. The van did lose power. The dealership is missing the “real” problem. The real problem is that Chrysler has a dangerous fault in their vehicles that could cause fatalities that they can’t detect and that they can’t fix. That is a problem. That is a very big problem.

This means that vehicles with the issue are being plopped back out on the road. That means vehicles are ending up in collisions and Chrysler’s service teams can’t even detect the fault in an inquiry in a vehicle fatality. Chrysler are putting out death traps because their computer can’t detect the problem. Chrysler put more faith in their computer than their customers who are actually driving the vehicles. Chrysler is risking lives because they think their computer knows best and never makes a mistake. How many have died because they “couldn’t replicate the problem”?

How can Chrysler even argue with this? They don’t even have the technology in their service departments to detect the issue, let alone fix it…..and definitely not the capacity to care.

Perhaps it is time to look at all the mini van fatalities involving Dodge Grand Caravans. Perhaps it is time to look at the circumstances. Perhaps it is time for Chrysler to both admit they have a huge problem and rectify it.

Picture of my son after being in an accident in a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan

Picture of my son after being in an accident in a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan


Revelation #3 – Did this happen before?

This revelation came to me on my way home from yoga (in my husband’s work truck as I will not even touch our “new” 2014 Grand Caravan, it is at the dealership). I never really blogged that much about the accident we had back in September, quite honestly I was happy my children were alive. It was an accident that made no sense, I was making a left turn with lots of time, clear intersection and then “Bam” hit so hard the van was written off. Now up until a couple of hours ago my thought was “the other vehicle must have been flying” , now I am wondering “did I lose power?” I will never know, it happened that fast, but now it will always be at the back of my mind. A 2014 van, 6 months old, an accident that made no sense. In hindsight I am really left wondering.

Dealing With the Big Picture

As I was getting nowhere with Chrysler or our dealership I had to do something. This is a public safety issue. People are going to be killed and Chrysler is going to hide behind either their computer or “we couldn’t replicate the problem”. It may sound dramatic, but lives ARE at risk. In the end my solution was to write to Minister Raitt at Transport Canada. I need the problem on record. The problem needs to be looked into. If the Dodge Grand Caravan is truly “Canada’s best selling mini van” as advertised, there are a lot of potential death traps on the road.

This is my email:

Att. Transport Canada
Minister Raitt

Dear Minister Raitt,

I am finding myself contacting you as we have an issue that could have an impact regards to safety on Canada’s roads and highways.

We have a new 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan purchased in October 2014. Serial number xxxxxx. On Friday we were driving, the van loses power, the MIL light comes on and the van starts dinging. We take it to our dealership as you do with any warranty issue. Their computer doesn’t show the MIL coming on, plus they say they “can’t replicate the problem”.

A car losing power on the road is a hazard for both the driver of the faulty vehicle and the vehicles behind the faulty vehicle. This technical issue is going to result in injuries and deaths. This technical difficulty isn’t being detected by the service departments.

Our dealership seems to think it isn’t a problem as does Dodge. We have been in contact with both. The worry here is it IS happening and they aren’t detecting the technical issue in the service department. This means even in a fatality inquiry the issue won’t be detected.

Once I got over my initial anger of the issue, I realized the broader scope of how dangerous this is. The potential to lose power and thus be rear ended will inevitably end in fatalities. I want to drive in safe vehicles. I want to be on the road with safe vehicles.

I felt I had to formally get on record that this issue is happening. Perhaps you can take this concern in whatever direction necessary to insure we are driving in and with safe vehicles.

By the way I have blogged details of our experience at:

Debra Hunter


So now you know “why” I blog issues, it is not for me, it is for all of us, and it is for the right reasons.


Please click here to read the previous detailed post of all the problems our Dodge Grand Caravan has had.




Blog Hop around the World!

I was recently asked by Sheryl at Flowery Prose  if I would be interested in participating in “Blog Hop Around the World”. Sheryl is a blogger who lives only 100 miles south of the city we call home and writes some very interesting blog posts about gardening and other ramblings in our area (plus the odd cool recipe to boot!) I will admit I have never done such a thing before, but hey, there is a first time for everything. “Blog Hop Around the World” focuses on a question/answer format sharing a little bit about our creative processes and what we “do”.  I’ve met so many cool people through blogging, so perhaps through “Blog Hop Around the World” you will get to know me a little better and find out a bit more about what I do.

Before I jump into the questions I will share just a little background about myself as it might help as you read the answers to my questions.. The first thing I should mention is that I write three blogs: , and . “H the Blog” is my catch all blog of family life, time at our cabin, works in progress (painting, photography, fibre art and knitting) and an occasional  rant about government, development, the education system or big business (yep I have opinions and they are usually expressed in at least 5000 words!) Island Home Blog focuses on our home and experiences on Pender Island and is a blog filled with scenic views of beaches and beach life close-ups. The “Debra Hunter” blog features images from “Hunter Photographics” (my business), finished paintings, finished hand knit items (another business I have) plus fibre art pieces.  The blog came about as a blog to share with customers. Originally H the Blog was supposed to fill that niche, but I couldn’t behave and keep my opinions to myself so it was just easier to create another blog (feel free to laugh….hey, I’m honest!). I often get asked “How do you keep three blogs going?”. I actually use the blogs as a way to time manage editing through images, which is usually between 30,000 – 50,000 a year not including photography for my business. I also use the blogs to monitor “work in progress”, and make sure I actually finish the pieces that I start. Blogging actually keeps me organized, which I need as it is pretty easy for our five children to derail me from what needs to be done.

So on with the questions…….

What are you working on?

As you probably have guessed I have a few things on the go at the moment. With my photography business recent work has been business photography, pregnancy photography, family portraits and photo restoration. In the last few years I have done a lot of business type work, which I really enjoy. There have been head shots, general meetings , still life and food photography. I think the thing I most enjoy about this type of work are the people you meet and the discussions you have. At the moment studio head shots is my favorite thing to shoot.

Knitting is currently keeping me busy. I have been knitting coffee and home related items that sell in shops in Red Deer and Banff, Alberta; I am always interested in working with shops that like to promote locally made items. I have also just started a batch of fingerless mitts which I am loving. I knit every day and I knit  everywhere….in the car, on the ferry, at the cabin, on play dates. I have also started crocheting mini animals which are HUGELY popular with my children.


My painting focuses on nature. Recently I seem to be following two different themes, one of seaside images inspired by Pender Island, and another a theme of Alberta’s non-urban spaces of forests and rural areas. The last few paintings have frustrated me, the color just hasn’t seemed right, which I think is due to the fact that I have been doing a lot of picky color balancing on the computer with portrait work (this sort of color balancing drives me INSANE!). My most recent painting I did some thing completely different and painted in black and white, and I love it. So this will be the next theme with painting that I explore, at least for a little while.

Fibre art is another art form I pursue. Sometimes it is in the form of useful items while others are just art to look at. Useful items include eco-printed scarves and fabrics and naturally dyed hand tied bracelets. I have a great interest in items for the home and have some new projects sitting in the dye pot waiting to be unbundled and then stitched. For art pieces I have a real interest in Alberta imagery with pieces including fishing and grain elevators; the newest piece features a skull I saw on a fence post (yes I like Georgia O’Keefe!). I recently took a little diversion dabbling in fairy tale imagery; I may work on this theme on the side as it is pretty whimsical stuff.

How does my work differ from others?

With my knitting, painting and fibre art everything comes down to nature. Nature is the big influence. Our family is happier in the bush or by the ocean than in the city and it really shows in the work. My paintings are all nature based in some capacity, they are the paths and beaches that we walk. The yarns and fabrics I use I naturally dye by hand. Many of the dyes I make from flowers from my garden (marigolds) or plants I collect growing as weeds in ditches (tansy and goldenrod); I also have world’s biggest dye plant, an arbutus tree, in my front yard in Pender that sheds bark that dyes. My latest eco-print fabric is also using native leaves. All my knit items are from Canadian produced wool milled right here in Alberta. I actually popped down to the mill a few days ago and it was amazing. I hand dye all my  wool with natural dyes in micro batches and hand knit. I try to focus on using locally produced, grown and collected items if possible, plus a few recycled bits along the way.


Why do I create what I do?

Quite honestly, because I can’t sit still. My hands always have to be busy. For instance if I know we are going somewhere and the drive is about an hour long I will undoubtedly have some knitting, some stitching, a sketchbook and a camera with me so that I have something to do and don’t get bored. I have projects on the go everywhere in the house.

I am also one of those people who looks at something and decides they can do it. I like to “make”. Not just with artwork, but everything. I grew up seeing a lot of things made by hand. My mom taught us to knit, sew and embroider. I remember my grandmother making quilts by hand and knitting; in fact she had a quilting frame hanging above the table in her farmhouse, so having projects all over the place is clearly a family trait.

I truly believe in the concept of “hand made” and of craftsmanship. I always loved the visual side of art and craft, which is probably how I ended up with  diplomas in both Fine Arts and Design and Photographic Technology, but things being made by hand is pretty special.

 (Buttons being made by hand.)

How does my creative process work?

Each media I work in has a bit of a different process.

Photography, even though you have your own style, is often client directed. After so many years of shooting I still struggle with the concept of photography being art, even with my personal photography. Perhaps it is too machine focused, perhaps it is just too easy to create great images. This is something I think about often.

baby portrait

Paintings usually begin with an experience, a walk on a beach, a snowshoe or hike through the woods. Sometimes I will paint live on the beach but more often I work from images I have photographed. Recently I have started working from images stored on my iPad which has been interesting. A painting done on the beach is usually a small piece done in less than an hour while a large canvas on an easel (3-5 feet wide) will take months for me to finish. I have a wall easel up in one of the main areas of our house so there is always a big piece waiting to be worked on. Painting usually involves large quantities of tea and listening to endless CBC Radio; I guess I like painting listening to discussions over music.  I have always had problems getting a regular flow going with a painting, just as things are going well a huge photography job usually comes up and painting is brushed to the side for a month or more. The last few weeks I have started doing small pieces in an effort to get a better routine established while not needing as large of a time commitment.

Knitting always starts with a massive dye session of pots bubbling and yarn dyeing and being hung out. Much of what I knit I know the numbers of stitches and lengths and increases in my head  which makes the structure part easy. I love stranded knitting, knitting in patterns with multiple colors of yarn. I  make it up as I go along which allows pieces to be unique. I am always tweaking items and working on new items to knit, and adding in other elements like beading, doing some after dyeing and also fulling. I seem to have a lot of new items that I am “working on”, that just need a little tweaking. The process of “try, try again”.

How I approach fibre art depends on the piece. With the Alberta series I start with tying and dyeing cotton with multiple colors, I cut a lino block, print it on the fabric and then stitch and bead (for a very long time!). With pieces made from silk I usually just raid the stash of silk scraps I have, piece it together and stitch and bead. Eco-printing usually happens on a whim, I mordant up the cloth and then try out different vegetation combinations not knowing what the result will really be. It is really fun as there are no guarantees. I like fibre art as it is portable, I can take stitching anywhere. I also like that it has no rules, I think it sits on the line between art and craft. I do think a lot of people don’t “get it” . Somehow artwork made from cloth, stitching and beading isn’t given the same respect as paint on canvas (which IS cloth!). Does it matter…..probably not as long as you enjoy what you are doing and like the visual results.

I hope you enjoyed a little look at what I do. I have passed this blog hop on to two very talented Albertans, Valerie Baber of Valerie Baber Designs – Intricate Knits and Linda Cote of Musings From The Studio . Valerie produces artful knitting and crochet, while Linda creates wonderful images through printmaking. These bloggers will surely amaze and inspire you. They will be sharing their creative processes with you next week.



Art and photography by Debra Hunter

The Hidden (yet interesting) Side of Blogging

view from pender island

Writing and reading blogs is always fun, however the hidden side of blogging can be equally interesting and perhaps at times intriguing. The hidden side, as I call it, are the statistics and other information that bloggers can read behind the scenes.

I’ve noticed the more and more I blog the more I watch the “Stats” page. When I first started blogging I was only really interested in how many visitors and views my blog received each day. Once my two older sons started watching my stats it became all about “Views by Country”; they loved watching the map of the world fill up as visitors found the blog, and there was always excitement when there was a view from a tiny country on the other side of the globe.

I then discovered it was quite interesting to watch the section titled “Top Posts & Pages”. This became quite interesting as I could see the blog posts that were being read, the hot topics. Some posts are very popular and are still read months later while others are more just a post for the moment. Strangely I have discovered readers are more likely to push the “like” button on a frivolous post, yet exponentially more people read meatier posts about things like bad developments, problems with math in the Alberta education system and city hall not enforcing their by-laws. In a way it makes sense because honestly, how can anyone “like” habitat being destroyed or paying for an education system where children aren’t taught.

My most recent obsession has been watching the “Search Term Engines”, which shows the words and phrases people have used which eventually led them to my blog. This is a truly fascinating read and gives you amazing insight as to what the searchers are looking for. There are of course a lot of very boring terms, but then there are the ones that really stand out. For instance I have seen a huge number of searches regarding RV parking by-laws with the City of Red Deer…… those searching I wish them “good luck”, you know the city isn’t going to enforce them, they are too busy holding”Red Deer is Ready” rallies and wanting to build yet another swimming pool. Another search that comes up all the time is “east pit mine”; this is a little recreation area west of Edmonton where you can walk and fish. Sometimes you find out about things by accident through the search terms, in this case it was an incident that happened at my son’s high school; that was an eye opening experience as to the seriousness of some searches. Some search terms just make you feel bad like the one that came up this winter reading “frozen septic system cabin lake isle”……those poor people.

pender island

I have also seen my name come up in search terms, which is quite normal as I have a lot of customers that remember me more by name than the business name. Today, however, I read the most interesting and specific search term I have seen. The search term read “debra hunter on pender island bc does she like living there”. Pretty interesting. The search term is so specific, and obviously not from a blogger or they would have gone to “about” or the “gravatar” and just gone to my Pender Island blog. Really interesting.

So I have decided, in this post to answer the question., but first, a little background to get everyone up to speed.  We are a little nomadic. Jokingly years ago my husband said “Wouldn’t it be great to have shacks all over the place?”, and some how this idea stuck. We have three places, “home, home” as our youngest calls it, which is in Red Deer (Alberta, Canada), the cabin which is in Lac Ste. Anne County (Alberta), and “Pender home” which is on Pender Island (BC, Canada). The search inquiry is about us living on Pender.

The answer to “debra hunter on pender island bc does she like living there” is YES. It is a quiet island, with pristine beaches and lots of hiking. It has a great climate which allows for hiking and kayaking even in winter. The people at the hardware store, grocery store and sushi restaurant couldn’t be nicer… the recycle depot is amazing. We do like living there……well as long as they keep nasty development at bay……but that seems to be the threat everywhere. Thanks to the search term I could answer the question.

I’ll also pass on the link to my blog about Pender Island; it is . Check it out, it is like a virtual walk on a beach (literally).

pender island beach

It will be interesting to see what search terms will pop up tomorrow, hopefully something intriguing and not another “RV parking by-laws Red Deer”.