Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Holidays!

As 2011 is coming to an end, I have a lot to be thankful for.  Of course, there are the friends and family for whom I am eternally grateful.  I consider myself blessed.  But there are a myriad of others I would like to thank for everything they have done.  Let me goes in no particular order:
  • For all who have donated to our cause to help the children of Africa.  You have contributed to making some lives better and maybe even helped some young people become the leaders of tomorrow.
  • To those who have volunteered at our events, we could not have done it without you.  You are special people and you are so desperately needed when an event rolls around. Thank you!
  • Thanks to everyone who has purchased our book, Kilimanjaro and Beyond. We are very proud of the book and our story and it is satisfying to know that there are so many people interested in reading our story.
  • Thanks to the people who give us venues to sell the book.
  • Many thanks to Plan Canada and other organizations like yours who make it possible to help where help is needed. 
  • Thank you to all the followers, likers, friends, etc. and whatever else you are all called on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads.  Of course, it is mutually beneficial to form networks but I have also met some people online whom I would call friends if they were standing right in front of me. I have also learned alot and I thank everyone for being part of that.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and that 2012 is everything you hope it can be!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pay it Forward

This is an awesome video as we move into the holiday season and the spirit of giving.  It is a little lengthy but well worth watching. It is amazing what a little sharing can do.

Change for a Dollar

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Double Signing

I am very happy to announce that I will be signing Kilimanjaro and Beyond alongside the Kilimanjaro Grannies, who will be signing their collaborative coffee-table book, Kilimanjaro: A Purposeful Journey. A portion of the sale of Kilimanjaro and Beyond goes to Plan Canada for helping young women start small businesses in Tanzania. All the proceeds from the sale of the Grannies' book goes to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign and the Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation.

The signings will take place on Saturday, December 3 at Collected Works, 1242 Wellington Street, Ottawa from 1-3 pm. 

Come out and say "hello" and finish your Christmas  shopping at the same time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Just Watch Me" Competition

I just became aware of a competition for entrepreneurs with disabilities in my home province of Manitoba, Canada.  My cousin's grandson-in-law, Chris Goulin, is one of the five finalists and could use some votes to help him win the competition.  Even if you don't feel like voting, check out the videos from these amazing people.  You won't have to look any further for inspiration!

Just Watch Me Videos

Friday, November 18, 2011

Creative Fund Raising Ideas

For anyone who is interested in raising money to build schools or for any other worthy causes, this video provides a great, painless way to do it.  With so many organizations competing for limited resources, some creative ideas are required to draw attention to YOUR project.  There are some great ideas here. 

If anyone is interested in trying some of them for our project to help young women in Tanzania start small businesses, I would be happy to discuss them with you.  

How to Build a School in Three Hours

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Upcoming Interview

I have just been invited to an interview about the book on the nationally televised Full Circle show.  Taping is January 10.  As soon as I know when the show will be aired, I will post it here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Review of Kilimanjaro and Beyond

I just received a new review of Kilimanjaro and Beyond from Reader Views in Austin, Texas.  Check it out at the link.

Reader Views Review of Kilimanjaro and Beyond

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Presentation and Book Reading Tonight

For those in the Ottawa, Canada area tonight, Chris and I will be doing a presentation and book reading at the Ottawa Public Library starting at 7 pm.  Admission is free.  We would love to see you there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Education for Africa Variety Show

The show is now complete and I am very happy with the results. It is the biggest event we have held to date and it went well. Over $2,800 was raised bringing our total for the year to about $9,200. With the federal government share, that is about $37,000 to help the young women in Africa start small businesses.

A great deal of thanks go to our performers who were all amazing and varied. I am getting great feedback on all of them. Thanks to Carly D from DAWG FM for being the M.C. and thanks to their  mascot (even if he did scare the daylights out of my almost two-year old granddaughter). I guess DAWG's dog was a little larger than she was used to seeing.

Pictures of the show are available by clicking on the photo to the right.
Many thanks to all our volunteers and silent auction and door prize donors. These things couldn't happen without them.

We are looking forward to continuing our work for the women of africa.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family Variety Show Just Around the Corner

Our family variety show is this Sunday at 1:30 in the Richelieu Centre, 300 des Peres Blancs, Vanier. It will feature the amazing Elliott the Magician.  Elliott and I were on Rogers Daytime televison show this morning and he did a trick that left us with our mouths hanging open. 

Also featured will be two musicians, Barb Myers and Peter Voith, two standup comics, Jennifer Hayward and Mark Adamson, a contemporary dancer, Janine Ramsarup and the Beyond Redemption Choir.  We will have a silent auction, amazing door prizes and refreshments. 

Tickets are only $30 and children 12 and under will be admitted free if accompanied by an adult, although we would appreciate a donation.  Ticket purchases and donations can be made at the link below or at the door.  All proceeds will go to Plan Canada who will direct them towards helping young women in Africa start small businesses.  The federal government has committed to contributing $3 for every $1 we raise.

You can't miss this.  Come on out, have a great time and support a very worthy cause at the same time.

Education for Africa Variety Show

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Kilimanjaro and Beyond by Barry Finlay

Kilimanjaro and Beyond

by Barry Finlay

Giveaway ends October 10, 2011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Event

I am very proud to announce a family oriented variety show that will be held at the Richelieu Centre In Ottawa on October 23 from 1-4 pm. It will be a fun filled afternoon with a magician, a standup comic, three musicians and a choir. There will be a silent auction, door prizes and refreshments, all for the low price of $30. Children 12 and under are admitted free, but we would ask for a donation towards our new project. All proceeds will go to Plan Canada who will direct every cent to help young women in Africa start small businesses. As if that isn't good enough, the federal government will contrinute $3 for every $1 we raise to the project. Check out the lineup on the poster: Elliott the Magician, Al Tambay, Peter Voith, Barb Myers, a standup comic to be announced and the
Beyond Redemption Choir. Carly D from DAWG FM has agreed to MC. Come out and join us at this fantastic event!! It will be a lot of fun and I expect tickets to go fast. I am looking forward to seeing you there.

Details and tickets

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video Recap of Book Launch

Here is a brief video of the launch of Kilimanjaro and Beyond, which took place on August 25 at Collected Works in Ottawa, Canada.

Book Launch

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Thank you to everyone who helped to make our golf tournament a success yesterday.  For the first time in three years of holding the event, it didn't rain!! We have around $2500 more to help the young women of Tanzania start small businesses.  Final numbers should be posted this week.

Everyone who played, volunteered, bought auction items and participated in various games and especially organizor Debbie Harbridge...YOU ROCK!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tonight's the Night

Finally!! Kilimanjaro and Beyond - A Life-Changing Journey will be launched at Collected Works, 1242 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario tonight at 7 PM. Chris and I will be on hand to talk about the book and chat with everyone who shows up. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Canada Loses a Good Man

Canada lost a dedicated and honest politician yesterday. In a day and age when partisanship and getting reelected seem to get in the way of what is good for the people, I was saddened to learn of the New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton's passing of cancer. Everyone was aware he had it, but no-one thought he would go this quickly.

While I disagree with many of the NDP's policies, I admired Jack Layton as a charistmatic leader and someone who really loved his country and who tried desperately to do what he thought to be the right thing for the nation.

In his final note to Canadians, he said, "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.

Words to live by.

R.I.P. Jack Layton!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Final Reports on Clean Water and Classroom Projects

The final reports are in from Africa and they can be read in their entirety under the Link 'Funds Raised to Date' on the right.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Try This Out

For those of you with a NEO reader on your phone, this is a QR code for my Facebook page.

QR Code

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meet the Authors in Nepean, Ontario

Chris and I will be at the Book Stop, 5-1 Jockvale Rd, Nepean, Ontario, to sign some books on Saturday, September 10 from 1-3 pm. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Official Book Release

Kilimanjaro and Beyond will be officially released at 7 pm on August 25 at Collected Works, 1242 Wellington St., Ottawa, Ontario.  Chris and I will both be there to talk about the book.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Speaking Engagement July 31

I will be speaking at the Barrhaven United Church Sunday, Nepean, Ontario July 31 at 10:00 am.  The topic is "Why Do We Give?" and will address some of the perceived issues around donating to international aid organizations versus my own positive experience.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Launch and Presentation Confirmed for Winnipeg

Just confirmed a presentation and book launch for 7:30 pm on September 13 at the McNally Robinson Book Store in Winnipeg.  Hope to see you there, Winnipeggers!

Details on Event Page.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Author Page on Facebook

I have just established a new author page in Facebook where I will be announcing book signing dates, presentations, etc.  Check it out and "like" it if you like it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Planning, planning...

Just in the process of finalizing arrangements for book launches, interviews, presentations, etc. for the fall.  Looks like it could be good, starting with Ottawa, Canada in late August.  Stay tuned.. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cover and Interior Signed Off

Today signalled a major milestone in the life of "Kilimanjaro and Beyond." I signed off the interior pages of the book.  This follows closely on the heels of signing off the cover last week. Now it is off to print.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tool for Book Marketing

For all the authors out there, Jenny Blake has designed an excellent tool for helping you develop a marketing plan for your book.  I am in the process of doing just that so it was timely that it came to my attention.  Check it out at:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Plan Canada's Because I am a Girl Campaign

Plan Canada has a campaign underway to empower girls and women everywhere.  In their words, the campaign is to "unleash the power of Canadian girls, women - and everyone who matters to them - to
claim a brighter, safer future for girls in the developing world.

  • Girls have the right to be educated.
  • Girls have the right to eat.
  • Girls have the right to be safe.
  • Girls' rights are human rights.
Although girls are often the poorest of the poor, it's proven that investing in girls is key to eliminating poverty. Empower a girl and she'll change the world."

You can see how we are involved in the campaign at the following link:

Donations can be made to help support the girls but clicking on the link on the right.

I Don't Wait Very Well

Waiting, waiting waiting...  Yesterday I found myself waiting on a few things to happen.  Some things I wanted to happen; others I didn't.  None of them happened but I did come to a conclusion about myself that I had long suspected.  I don't wait very well.

One of the things I wanted to happen was the arrival of the second draft of the cover of my book. It was supposed to arrive on June 14 but at 3:00 pm that day, the publisher changed the date on their tracking system to June 17.  Yesterday, June 17, around 4:00 pm it changed again to June 21.  I found myself spending the day willing the time away or making myself busy so that the clock would go faster.  I have to admit to being disappointed when the date changed again.  How old am I, twelve? 

It is a bit counter intuitive because as I get older I find the days are going faster and faster.  We don't want them to.  They just do.  Yet there are still days when we are waiting for something, whether it is bad or good, that seem to drag. I know that June 21 will be here in no time, the book cover will arrive and life will go on at an ever faster pace.  In the meantime, I have a feeling that some of the jobs I have been putting off for awhile are going to get done...just to fill in the time.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Cover

I received the draft book cover yesterday for Kilimanjaro and Beyond and we are almost there.  There is some tweaking to be done by the publisher so it should be final in two weeks. I am doing the final proof for the interior of the book now.

Meanwhile, book launches/signings are being planned for Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto.  The book is on schedule for delivery at the beginning of July so I suspect the launches will start in August.  If anyone has ideas for launches, please let me know.

Stay tuned for further announcements.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Overview of U.K. Trip

It was definitely a whirlwind tour through England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 8 days.  We are proud owners of a collection of pictures of blurry trees and trucks as we sped by sites that we wanted to photograph.  They will ultimately have to weeded out.  But it was an enjoyable tour nonetheless and I have a new appreciation for the U.K.

Johnny Cash wrote about the "moorlands and the meadows with their 40 shades of green" and I can't think of a better description.  The landscape is absolutely breathtaking as we made our way through northern England into Scotland.  The 40 shades of green morph into shades of blue as the trees disappear in the distance and the landscape is dotted with beautiful yellow gorse shrubs and white hollyhocks.  It is stunning!  I wanted to get out and hike, but of course there was no time.   

The people in Ireland and Scotland are incredibly friendly.  Maybe it has something to do with the copious quantities of Guinness they love to consume.   As we rode on the ferry from Ireland to England, the rugby fans started with the Guinness at around 9 in the morning.  At the risk of being beaten up by one of those hooligans I had heard about, I asked one what all the fuss was about.  He was very patient and explained about the European Rugby Championships taking place in Cardiff, Wales for the Heineken Cup.  He thought I must be from Mars since I didn't know anything about it, but I explained I was from Canada and only know hockey.  He said, "That's ice hockey, I presume!"  Oh boy!  We have a lot to learn about sports from each other.

The Irish were thrilled that the Queen and President Obama were paying them a visit and they are very proud that there is finally peace between north and south.  They are a self deprecating lot as a statue of Molly Malone pushing a cart, who is portrayed as being well endowed, became the "Tart with the cart" and a spire beside the Liffey River became the "Stiffy by the Liffey."
We attended a couple of typical Irish and Scottish evenings.  They know how to have a good time and they insist on everyone joining in.  The group at the table we were sitting at (Table A) won a singing contest in Scotland, but I have a feeling that Table A always wins so it had more to do with our choice of tables than our ability to sing!

The castles and cathedrals are magnificent, although in 8 days they do tend to blend together.  In fact, it became known as the ABC tour.  The "A" stands for Another, the "B" for Bloody and you can insert either Cathedral or Castle for the "C".  The buildings really are impressive and moreso when one considers how old they are.  It is unfortunate to see, at least in my opinion, modern buildings as backdrops for the ancient architecture.  The modern buildings are spectacular in their own right but it is too bad they couldn't all be in one part of town to allow the older buildings to have their own space.  The monstrous Millennium Stadium is a perfect example as it looms above and to the side of the Cardiff Castle in Wales.  It may well be that the Castle will still be standing long after the stadium has outlived its useful life.

Perhaps the highlight for me was Stonehenge. It is an architectural wonder as scientists have discovered it is held together by ball and socket and tongue and groove techniques.  It is something like 5000 years old!!  Not only that, but they dragged the boulders up to 160 miles.  It is well worth the visit just to stand in awe of its magnificence.

All in all, there was too much food, too much beer and too little sleep so it had all the earmarks of a perfect vacation.  I doubt that I will have another Guinness, although I tried it.  We were accused of drinking all the Carlsberg in a tavern in London one night.  One of the bartenders said, "No one drinks that stuff."  I was also scolded by a waiter for not eating my mushy peas.  There are some things that are just an acquired taste and, while I may have enjoyed peas that had been pureed when I was one, I think they probably fall into the "acquired taste" category.

It was a wonderful eight days and I would highly recommend the visit, although you might want to take more time to do it.

Monday, May 23, 2011


WINDY! The dust was blowing and it was cool as we spent the day touring and shopping in London. Along with thousands of other people we saw the changing of the guard. It all happens pretty quickly.

We have driven a lot of miles and seen a lot of the U.K. in 8 days. Lots of stories to tell. Could be a chapter in another book!

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cardiff and London

We are back in London after visting the Cardiff Castle and Stonhenge. The tour is now over except for a city tour of London. The Cardiff Castle was a palatial casual home for a Marquis and is a combination of contemporary and ancient architecture from a Roman wall to a bomb shelter. Stonehenge is an architural wonder dating back some 3000 years.
There will be more about the tour later. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I need some sleep.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Waterford, Ireland

Not so lucky today as we had to drive for miles to avoid the Queen's motorcade. When we got out of Dublin, we went to a silver factory and then to Kilkenny Castle. This afternoon we went to the Waterford Crystal factory where you can buy this nice little sculpture for around $20,000. It is still sitting there.
Tonight, it will be traditional Irish entertainment, but not for long as we have to be up early to catch the ferry to Wales.

posted from Bloggeroid


We had a wee bit of Irish luck yesterday as we left the hotel early enough to avoid the gridlock that would be created by the Queen's visit. Police everywhere! The British Prime Miniter's cavalcade blasted by us at one point.

We had a great tour of Dublin. Lots if history here. Then we went to a seventh century monastery. It is difficult to imagine our buildings lasting for that long.

Last nigh, Dublin was home to the European football finals. Lots of revellers about.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

10th Century Church in Ireland

posted from Bloggeroid



posted from Bloggeroid

Belfast and Dublin

As we were about to board the ferry to Ireland, the Customs officer asked to search the hand luggage of six volunteers. Those who didn't have guns or contraband volunteered. When we crossed into Ireland, we drove past beutiful yellow gorse intermingled with white hollyhocks on one side and the coast of the Irish Sea on the other.

We toured Belfast and learned about the history of violence that plagued the city.

Now we are in Dublin and so is the Queen She will see the things today that we were supposed to see and we will see what she doesn't want to. I hope she will send postcards. see if we can understand the Dubliners.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Off to Belfast

You would never guess so I will tell you. It is cloudy and windy in Glasgow this morning at 5 am. Belfast, here we come! More later.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Spent the day touring the Edinburgh castle, wandering along the Royal Mile and enjoying a pint or two in a tavern. This evening we visited a farm north of Glasgow and were treated to an amazing meal of lamb in a barn that was also visited over the years by Rob Roy, William Wallace and wait for it. .. Mel Gibson! The latter was described as about 5'8" compared to the real William Walace's 6' 6"! We also enjoyed a wee dram. Belfast and Dublin tomorrow.


It is cool and damp in Glasgow. Typical maybe? Beautiful hiking trails as we passed through western England. No time to hike though. We also went through Gretna Green, which is known as the home of eloping. Lots of revelry in Glasgow as the local football team won something. Sorry soccer fans, I have no idea what!

Today we are off to Edinburgh.

York, England

After touring London yeterday, we are off on our Trafalger bus tour. Today we saw Shakespeare's birthplace and where he lived with his wife Anne Hathaway (no, not THAT Anne Hathaway). The countryside is beautiful and after a
walking tour of York, we are about to go for a drink and dinner. The bus is comfortable, the people are friendly and all is well. Early wakeup call to head to Glasgow tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

London, Scotland and Ireland

I am about to embark on a whirlwind tour of London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin.  Leaving tomorrow and looking forward to it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great News From Africa!

I just received word that the well we have been raising money for in Tanzania is now producing 1,800 liters of water an hour, which is more than enough to service 800 preschoolers and 50 households in the community for years to come.

While our classroom project was finished pretty much on schedule, this one took longer than expected.  I was disappointed when we went to Tanzania in February and learned that the drilling had not started. Plan Tanzania staff assured me that it was imminent and we saw the drilling rig working about 10 km away.  Apparently, there are very few reliable drilling rigs in Tanzania so when they found one that can be relied upon, they stuck with it.

It did indeed come through and the project can now be considered a success.  They are still waiting for a solar pump, but the children will have their clean, potable water in no time.  It has been worth the wait and having seen the looks on the faces of the children and teachers who are so satisfied with their new classroom, I can just imagine how they will feel about having water at their fingertips.  It is another reminder of why we are doing this.

Anyone wishing to donate to our new project to help young women establish small businesses, which will provide livelihoods for their families and education for their children, can do so by clicking on the "Donate" button on the right.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My New Kobo

I bought a Kobo eReader about three weeks ago and I couldn't be happier with it.  It is wireless, easy to use and I got it on sale!  The computer interface is easy and downloading books is quick.  It is light and easy to hold.  There are a number of covers designed for it that are relatively inexpensive.  I am not sure how long the battery life is before requiring a charge, but I have been using it quite a bit since I purchased it and the battery is down by about half.  Perhaps the biggest and most surprising feature became apparent when I was sitting in the brilliant sunshine on Sunday afternoon reading one of the 100 preloaded classic books. The text was perfectly clear with no glare! 

There are a couple of things that take a bit of getting used to though and both relate to speed.  I think the speed at which computers work has spoiled us.  At least it has spoiled me.  There is a slightly annoying hesitation when the page turns on the Kobo.  It may be a fraction of a second, but it is there. That can be overcome by clicking to turn the page just before finishing the last sentence.  There is an even longer hesitation when changing from one chapter to the next.  In fact, pretty much any action you do with the Kobo, with the exception of downloading, requires a bit of patience.  If you want things to happen at a lightning fast pace, perhaps you should consider a much more expensive tablet computer.

I find that the pros far outweigh the cons and, if you are looking for an eReader, I would recommend the Kobo.  I am even wading through one of the classics, Moby Dick.  I am finding it to be a slow read, but that is just personal taste.  I have downloaded a Tom Clancy novel that is waiting for me when I finally finish with the whale.  I am enjoying the eReader, but many of the classics may just have to remain unread.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stuck in a Parking Lot in New Jersey

Now this is something that doesn't happen every day, thankfully.  Easter Sunday my wife and I returned to New Jersey on the second last train from Manhattan, having just seen our son and future daughter-in-law backing up Tiffany at BB King's on Times Square.  It had been a great day in an amazing city.  It was 1 am and the parking garage was seemingly deserted.  We were on the third floor of a concrete maze. 

I inserted my ticket into the machine to pay and it was rejected.  I tried it again.  Rejected.  I tried two different machines with the same result.  Nothing.  My mind was kicking into gear.  How are we going to get out if we don't have a paid ticket to raise the barricade?  I had visions of blasting through the barricade with a knife brandishing New Jersey gang hot on our tail.

There is a button on the machines to call the parking attendant.  Tried that.  No answer.  In fact, I pressed the button on all three machines and I could hear them all ringing.  Now my mind was really starting to react.  This IS New Jersey, after all.  Feeling vulnerable?  Yeah, just a bit. 

There was a police call box on the wall, which was comforting, but we decided to go down to the first floor to see if we could find someone.  I went to the attendant's booth where there was a sign that read, "Back in Ten Minutes".  Could this get any worse?  I went to another machine and tried the ticket, only to be rejected again.  I hammered on the door to see if he was sleeping in the back.  Who knew how long the "ten minute" sign had been there?  No reaction.  I pressed the call button just so I could have the satisfaction of hearing yet another phone dialing.  At least it created a sound.  The parking lot had been - dare I say it - tomb-like to that point.

Finally, about twenty minutes later I saw someone strolling down the ramp from the second floor.  I tensed until I could see who it was.  It was the attendant who had been making his rounds. I explained the problem and he apologized and tried the ticket.  Nothing.  He tried a new ticket.  He said, "it won't be more than $5".  "Uh, no it won't", I said.  The maximum at night was $2 and with the mood I was in, he was seriously in danger of being stuffed into the nearest garbage can.  Then I realized I probably wouldn't be able to do that since the garbage can was likely already full of tourists who had been trapped in the garage on previous nights. I also realized that if I did that, we still wouldn't be able to get out!

"Okay", he said with a shrug.  "The system is down".  Really!!??  Who knew?  After trying a series of new tickets, he finally got one to work and the barricade miraculously rose.  There were a few other cars waiting in the parking lot for their unsuspecting passengers who would be equally aggravated by the experience they had awaiting them.  I think the parking lot attendant's night was about to become his worst nightmare when the last train arrived.

"Have a good night" I said, cackling rather maniacally as we made our great escape into the New Jersey night. 


Friday, April 22, 2011

Elaboration on the previous post

Just to elaborate a bit on my previous post, I think my book, Kilimanjaro and Beyond, could appeal to a variety of people.  There is the adventure aspect with the climb of the mountain.  There is the change in lifestyle required to give me the strength and physical conditioning required to do the climb.  There is the fact that I did it as I move into my senior years, which demonstrates that it is never too late to do anything.  There is the father-son story line as I was able to complete the climb with one of my sons.  There is the philanthropic component as we experience the successes, failures, highs and lows of fund raising and finally there us the immense satisfaction of accomplishing a goal and giving others the opportunity to achieve theirs.

Because of the broad subject matter, I am hoping that the book will appeal to a number of people with different interests so I have been approaching a variety of magazines and newspapers regarding the book. Each requires a slightly different approach.  As I mentioned, it is labour intensive, but fun.  And what else have I got do as I wait for the cover design to be completed?        

Monday, April 18, 2011

Every Day is a Learning Experience

This whole book writing/publishing/marketing process is new to me and I am learning every day.  I naively thought I would be able to write a press release that would serve many purposes.  But the more research I do into organizations, magazines, etc. that might be interested in my book, the more I realize that each has slightly different requirements or want submissions in a slightly different way. 

It is worth the effort, but let me tell you, it is labour intensive.  I am fortunate that this is a second career of sorts for me.  It is all new and interesting and there is certainly nothing wrong with learning by trial and error.  The days definitely go by quickly!       

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back at it

After a week of golf in beautiful Myrtle Beach, it is time to get back to work.  Today will be a day of writing sponsor requests for the new events coming up and writing a press release for the upcoming book.  Lots to do, but somehow it just doesn't seem like work. 

By the way, if there is anyone out there reading this who would like to help out, either by volunteering, sponsoring an event, donating or just offering moral supprt, drop me a line.  I would love to hear from you. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Presentation and Events

Sunday night I presented Kilimanjaro and Beyond to a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Barrhaven United Church.  There were great questions, African treats and some generous donations to the micro finance project! Thanks to all who attended.

Stay tuned for exciting events coming up in Ottawa, Canada.  I can say that the 3rd annual golf tournament is a "go" for August and I have been making some phone calls to line up an exciting event for October.  I wish I could tell you more, but you will just have to be patient.  There will also be a Book Launch in Ottawa in the summer and some others across the country in the fall.  No wonder the time goes by so fast!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A little more about the new project...

I just received the funding proposal for the "Economic Security for Families in Tanzania" project.  While in Tanzania we saw it in action.  Young women were either requesting or paying back loans to establish small businesses.  After a lot of encouragement, one woman told us she bought fish at the market, took it home, cooked it and resold it for a profit of $20 per day.  Another needed a loan to buy soft drinks in bulk so she could sell them from her home. Another buys cloth and makes suits for resale. When we congratulated them, their faces absolutely lit up.  The self esteem and satisfaction they are achieving from their work is immeasurable and they will be able to send their kids to school or buy groceries with the money they are earning. 

These young woman have little or no education but they have pride and it makes me proud to be associated with the project.  We will be raising money to provide Village Savings and Loan training and kits that will benefit over 79,000 people, including 11,000 women and youth.  In keeping with our theme of education as a means of resolving many of the world's issues, by helping young mothers, children will be be able to go to school. And the best part is that every dollar we raise will be matched 3:1 by the Canadian federal government.  Let's make the government pay!!!!      

Donations can be made by clicking on the link at the right.  We will also be holding events in support of our new project.  The first one will be the 3rd annual golf tournament in Smiths Falls, Ontario on August 27.

I hope you will agree that this is a project worth supporting! Stay tuned for further announcements!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm Waiting Just As Fast As I Can

Thanks to musician son Trevor who gave this title to one of his compositions because it seems to be appropriate.  I received an email from the publisher on Friday concerning the cover concept so things are definitely moving on my book.  But as everyone knows, waiting for somthing special to happen can be difficult.  What is that saying?  Patience is a virtue?  I guess I am not feeling very virtuous these days! But wait, I discovered that there is a second part to the quote: "Possess it if you can, Seldom found in woman, Never found in man."  There I feel better!

Monday, March 14, 2011

R.I.P. Todd Cerney

I am very sad to announce that Todd Cerney, husband of Kip Kirby who edited my manuscript, has passed away.  The following was posted in the CMT News tonight.

Todd Cerney, Co-Writer of "Good Morning Beautiful" Dies in Nashville

March 14, 2011

Todd David Cerney, co-writer of the No. 1 country hits "Good Morning Beautiful" (recorded by Steve Holy) and "I'll Still Be Loving You" (Restless Heart) died Monday (March 14) in Nashville following a battle with cancer. Cerney was also a noted musician and singer who performed internationally. He backed the Dixie Chicks on their first radio tour and was a member of the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble. Among other artists who recorded Cerney's songs are Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops, Ty Herndon, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cheap Trick and Etta James. As a backup singer, he recorded with Kenny Rogers, Michael Johnson, John Conlee and Levon Helm. "I'll Still Be Loving You" won ASCAP's country song of the year award in 1988. Cerney is survived by his wife, Kip Kirby, the former Nashville bureau chief of Billboard magazine.

Good Morning Beautiful

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quiet, Anxious Period!

Yesterday was an exciting day as all the material was sent to the publisher. I am told by the publisher that this is the quiet, anxious period as I will be twiddling my thumbs (as far as the book is concerned) for six to eight weeks while the cover is being designed.  There will be a flurry of activity when Chris and I get to see and approve it, then it will be another period of apparently nothing happening while the interior is designed.  There is a review and approval process for about 25 pages, then the same thing for the entire book.  All of this to say that I am expecting a finished product and launch in the summer. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Letters for the Children of Tanzania

Last night I made a presentation to the Youth Group at our church about our recent trip to Tanzania.  They had written letters to the kids in Tanzania and we brought back letters that the kids at the school wrote in returrn.  We explained to the Youth Group that the children in Tanzania don't really understand what snow is so the  Youth Group decided it would be a good idea to show them.  Here is the result.
I should mention that the one on the right isn't a youth.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Epilogue Edits

The epilogue is with my editor.  Unfortunately, her husband is seriously ill with cancer and they are both going through some very tough times.  If any readers would like to convery their thoughts and prayers to Kip and her husband, you can do so through the link below or I would be happy to pass them along.

Presentation March 27

For those in the Ottawa, Ontario area, I will be presenting photos of our latest trip to the schools at the Barrhaven United Church on March 27.  More details to follow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Was my previous blog post funny?

Well, no it wasn't intended to be.  However, I accidentally clicked on "Funny" at the bottom where you can indicate your reactions.  When I realized what I had done, I clicked it again to get rid of it.  It doesn't work that way.  In fact, I don't think you can get rid of it.  Once it is done, you are committed!  Now it appears that two people thought my blog post was funny, although I thought it was very serious. 
Be careful what you click on!  

Epilogue is Written

Yes, the epilogue is written and sent to the editor and I am pleased to say that this story has a happy ending.  After our recent trip to Tanzania, it could not be anything else.  There will always be a special place in my heart for Tanzania and I am not sure why.  I think it is the people.  We have met some amazing people and their will, determination and friendliness in the face of mostly desperate conditions are an inspiration.  We will probably go back again some day.     

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Safari Highlights

We are back in Ottawa after a series of long, long flights.  I thought I would provide some safari highlights while I am awake.

Son Trevor asked what the coolest animal was.  The epitome of cool for me is the big cats. We were warned that we may not see any as they are hiding these days but we were fortunate enough to see two males sleeping in a ditch about ten feet away and another languishing in the shade under a tree.  He was waiting on Mama Lion to catch something for him to eat.  She was a few hundred feet away under another tree.  I think the safari trucks scared away a gazelle she was tracking and a family of wart hogs that passed virtually right under her nose didn't seem to interest her.  Another female came sauntering over to the safari trucks and curled up against one for some shade. As one truck moved, she just sought shade under another.  Very cool indeed. We also saw a black leopard and a cheetah.  Both are part of the Big 5.

The animals that it is hard to stop staring at though are the ones that weigh more than the truck we were in.  That would include elephants, hippos and rhinos.  Elephants come right to the side of the road so there is a clear view as they tower over everything.  I guess being able to tip over the truck on a moment's notice gives them a certain amount of confidence.  The hippos were all submerged until the last day when we saw some out of the water, including a baby hippo.  The rhinos kept their distance so the pictures are fuzzy at best.  Then there is the elegant giraffe.  They were plentiful and close!  Zebras are plentiful and not too timid.  We saw one that had obviously escaped a lion's clutches and bore the fresh wound to prove it.

We saw a wildebeest migration as thousands of them, always accompanied by a few zebras for some reason, were on the move in search of rain and fresh grass.   Awe inspiring!

There were a number of baby animals and yes, even a baby warthog or hippo is somehow cute.  One baby monkey ventured out on the road in front of us and was running around but couldn't quite figure out where it should be turning.  All of a sudden a blur emerged from the left side and in full flight, Mama Monkey scooped up the little wanderer and raced up a tree on the right hand side of the road.  The baby suffered a tongue lashing and a few slaps for its efforts.  

I am intrigued by the fact that the Serengeti is something like 14,000 square acres, yet the animals still come close to the roads that criss cross the park.  I guess it is their park and they can do what they want!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This won't be in the Epilogue

We are sitting in Amsterdam having completed two of four flights so far. I was thinking about the Epilogue and remembered our little car breakdown in the middle of nowhere while on safari. We had stopped for a minute on our way to Lake Manyara and the passenger door wouldn't close. No matter how hard our driver/guide slammed it, it just wouldn't work. While he took the door apart quite a few people walked by. Two of them were women carrying axes and bush knives. Fortunately, they kept walking but needless to say we kept a wary eye as our driver worked. After about an hour delay we were on our way.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Little More Detail

We are back in civilization now in Arusha so I will expand a bit on what we have seen.  First and foremost, when we entered the new classroom, there was the Canadian flag that Chris and I carried to Kili's peak hanging beside the Tanzanian flag.  That was a proud moment.  The ceremony beforehand was amazing with songs of thanks and a reading from one of the students. There was also a sign of thanks hanging in the classroom.  There were a number of government officials in attendance and speeches from nearly all the adults in attendance!

There has been a tremendous change in the atmosphere at the school.  The teachers are considerably more confidant than they were two years ago.  One acted as Master of Ceremonies and I just don't think we would have seen that when we were there last time.  

Our church youth group, Barrhaven United, prepared 12 letters to the students at the school.  We are carrying 12 responses back, well written and translated. We planted three trees at the primary school.

At the preschool we had a great time with the students and met with the water committee who will be in charge of maintaining the well.  They are a serious and dedicated group.  The well will be in good hands.

There is much more to say and it will be difficult not to make the Epilogue the longest chapter of the book!  However, I am running out of internet time so I will continue this later.  Next stops - Dar, Amsterdam. Detroit, Home!  We should be semi functional by the afternoon of the 10th.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


The safari so far has been amazing! We have seen 27 species of animals including the big 5 - lions, rhinos,elephants, water buffalo and leopards. Very cool! More to come with more photos.


posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What a Day!

I can't possibly describe today in a few words from my cel phone but I will try to hit the highlights. We visited Sabasaba Primary School where the new classroom is complete. They now have 900 students and six classroooms but they get by. We were treated like royalty. Then it was on to the Kayenze School where the borehole is intended to be. It was a bit disappointing to learn that it is not done but we saw the drill and the borehole should be there in about two weeks. After lunch we visited a new girl's dorm that will house 100 secondary school girls. Most are orphans and what a delightful group. It is amazing that they are so grounded considering what they have been through.
I will write more later when I have a real keyboard in front of me. The photo is at the preschool.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mwanza Day 1

Today we purchased school books with the help of Plan Tanzania staff in Mwanza. We couldn't have done it without them. The books in the photo represent 290,000 Tanzanian shillings.
Thanks to Barrhaven United Church Vacation Bible School and Jan and Keith Campbell for their support.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dar es Salaam

Met the staff from the Plan Tanzania office today to hear about the new project. It supports women and youth in setting up small buinesses through savings and loan programs. We visited a poor area of Dar to attend a meeting where participants were paying back or arranging for loans. Amazing to see it in action and well worthy of support. As a result the participants will become valuable members of their community. On to Mwanza tomorrow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Leaving for Tanzania Tomorrow

Finally, we are off to Tanzania to see the classroom and well we have helped to fund.  Looking forward to meeting the kids and planting a tree at the new classroom.  I will also meet with Plan Tanazania about the new project. 

I will provide updates as and when internet access is available.  When we return, I will write the Epilogue for Kilimanjaro and Beyond and off it goes to publishing.  It seems like it has been a long time coming!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Praise for Kilimanjaro and Beyond

This just in from Helen Osler, Australian author of Cameras of Kilimanjaro:

"Kilimanjaro and Beyond" is a testament to all of us that dreams can come true with a little grit and determination. If you're the kind of person who can usually find any excuse to talk yourself out of a great idea this book is the inspiration you need to get out of your comfort zone and make things happen. Kilimanjaro and Beyond is a very honest and detailed account of the trials and tribulations experienced while climbing Africa's highest peak. The most amazing part of this journey is that it wasn't just a selfish mission to stand at lofty heights but one which resulted in bringing clean water and education to hundreds of Tanzanian children. An inspiring read."

Check out Helen's website at:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Less Than Two Weeks to Tanzania

In less than two weeks we will be on our way to Tanzania. The itinerary is being finalized but it involves attending to ceremony at the classrooms we helped to fund to watch the Canadian flag that we carried to Kili's peak being raised. A second part of the trip will be to meet with a family that is benefitting from the well we funded. Finally, we will discuss the next project with Plan Tanzania. It is all very exciting and very satisfying.

The Epilogue will be written when we return. By the way, Shannon Sungh, Development Coordinator for Plan Canada had this to say about the manuscript:

"The book is a really warm and inspiring story, and I think highlights perfectly how a couple of regular people can really accomplish something amazing."

Thank you Shannon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Comments on Manuscript

Here is what Alysha Atma, African Affairs Correspondent for the Salem had to say about the manuscript:

"...honest, funny, very engaging and truly written from the heart."

Thank you Alysha!