Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup Recipe

November 28, 2012 at 6:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Upon request here  is the recipe!   

I must first state here that I always approximate my amounts as I have made this so many times that i do not measure anymore.  Also I will preface the recipe by saying that I use all organic ingredients but it is not necessary!  And lastly i use my own canned tomato salsa which is not as thick as the store bought tomato sauce.  i am not a lover of tomato sauce so I a…dd water to mine.  So use the basics and then do what you want!  This is made in my slow cooker and sits on the counter for about four days and is devoured.  Also i am spice freak so temper the ingredients accordingly.    soup: Ingredients; 1 tbs. olive oil 1 small onion – cut up, minced, diced – how you like it I small cabbage or hack up a big one – i just slice the cabbage into long/medium strips – nothing fancy 2 large carrots  – chopped anyway you like or throw in a bunch o baby carrots – I use whatever is in the fridge and is easiest that day 1 15 oz.   can tomatoe sauce – any one you like. 6 cups water 1/4 cup Tamari (soy sauce) 1/3 CUP Rice vinegar or more if you like the sour 1 tsp red hot chili flakes or more if you like spicy 1/2 tsp salt black pepper Now sometimes I add baked tofu cut into cubes but not often and not necessary.  Now here the other fun part – put in as much as you want~! Try it and then create your own.  I add tons of carrots now.    So i turn on my slow cooker and let it heat up.  No particular length of time. Then i throw in the onions.  then i throw in the cabbage and carrots.  then the liquids – tomato sauce and water.  After this I add everything else.  Off it cooks in my slow  cooker on high for 4 hours.  If you are adding tofu i suggest you bake it etc. and throw it in the last half hour..  You can pig out completely and feel completely safe from any weight gain!  Tasty, warm, sour, yummy, filling.  Add some awesome french bread and herbed goats butter and done!  This is lunch around here every day right now Since my kid discovered what was in the slow cooker.  Too funny.   Let me know what you do with yours and how it turns out.  Just Remember though the two super important ingredients are the rice vinegar and the chili flakes.    So good I plan to make a pot of it today!





Sleuthing at the Stove – Love and motivation

November 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

September 2012 thoughts; Finally a minute to myself and I find myself bursting with commentary.  Two weeks of business and then a long weekend – as it should be!!! Love is on my mind again lately – personally and professionally.

Well that was the start of my blog back in September.  The “burst” Burst!

A lot has happened since that time – crazy business issues; personal issues; animal illness and a flood of memories!  Strange how they can happen upon you without any warning.  I have always found cooking new and interesting food as a great way to spend time effectively when feeling “stuck”  – kind of like the peanut butter I throw in the Bottom of the Kong to keep my dogs mentally engaged in the kitchen.  It is very hard to cook with flourish in my kitchen because the two Border collies follow your every move —- they really enjoy hovering around the island incase their built in vaccums are called upon.  Normally not a problem.  However the new fridge is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen as the cupboards have not come down.  This was once at the top of the list of “things to do today” but has since moved down.  It is a natural progression of sorts when it comes to chores.  What once appeared so critical can be worked around, re-prioritized, or ignored.  So i cook with abandonment in my imagination!

Madi hovering around the kitchen table.

One of my winter staples and a favorite of the family is a very simple Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup that i combine with homemade Peasant Bread and herbed Goats Butter – yes homemade. You are allowed to groan now – those of you that open cans and boxes!   I absolutely can live off of this soup in the winter and always make a big crockpot of it.  There it sits on my island counter in my country kitchen for the week – (that is if it makes it that far) for all to enjoy.  No rules – kind of an Ikea approach to eating.  Self-serve lunch – eat when you are ready.  It sits there waiting for you! This resembles investigative files – they sit waiting for you. Some days the ingredients come together and then there are those days where you know you should not have switched whole wheat flour for the white!

The soup process starts with slicing up a small cabbage or half of a large one .  I believe in cooking with what is available.  I must admit that when i see those recipes where the list of ingredients is a page long I lose interest.  As much as I like to cook I like the peasant approach – simple, savory, and fresh!  So here i am chopping up cabbage and wondering about what the heck happened at work the last few months.  We had three incredibly difficult clients to work with and all their issues were around “love”.  Mistrust of their partners love or shock at how their love for someone turned out to be so personally devastating. I originally chose as my topic love and motivation BUT having just completed an Instructional Strategies course where motivation of students was the central topic I have nothing left to say about motivation – except the following – IF YOU WANT SOMETHING GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO IT. That’s it – nothing more to say.

Did I add that you have to turn the slow cooker on, put some olive oil in (the recipe will be included at the end of the blog or you can go to Baker Street Agency Facebook and it will be posted there)and then chop up a small onion and throw it in and let it sizzle while you prepare the other items. Sorry about that – this is kind of how my brain has been problem solving files lately – coming in at the second stage. Finished with the cabbage – throw it in. Add the water, rice vinegar, tomato sauce, and your spices. hmmmm – my mouth is watering because i live on this soup. Oh and don’t forget your carrots! My files often sit in the recesses of my brain while i play with the ingredients of the file. Sifting, chopping, dicing, mixing.

Lately, I have come to feel that the word love is overused, misunderstood, and abused. What does this really mean? Certainly as an investigator i see so many people trying to find their loved ones, trying to determine the authenticity of their relationships, the truth of the information they receive from their partner, the validation of their lives. While I can answer the questions posed factually I cannot remotely begin to explain to my clients why?. Why – well because they are assholes. Enough already with the sex-addiction crap, the emotional issues stuff, the feeling of abandonment and lack of love. I mean this is what the psychological world thrives on. But to me it has become very simple – kind of like my soup – it is just plain bad behavior. The moral thread that once wound its way through our society is broken and unrepairable. When criminals come out on top, when liars survive, when the rich (referring to recent American election) blatatnly state their disregard for the poor, when people lie without any concern for the effects, when people steal from you – financially or emotionally and find justification in their own needs – the list is endless – there is something foundationally lacking with the concepts of right and wrong! The world is full of takers, liars, abusers, criminals that are doing just fine – thank you very much. So if we realize this then we have to understand that the concept of love is not the same anymore.

The crockpot is full – just throwing in some spices and the lid goes on! Ready to slow cook for the morning. The family will wake to the aroma and know the soup is on!

Look we live in the area of Ashley Madison – where the married people go to sign up and have affairs with other married people. Did you know that 30% of the people that sign up for online dating are lying about their married status? The odds of you being a victim of love is high. I tell my clients “you should have hired me before you started a serious relationship with this person”. They agree, walk away disheartened, forget what I said and go into the next mess! Welcome to the spicy soup of life.

Apparently Dr. Phil has written a new book on life codes – the shift in moral behavior today and the reason we need to forget all those platitudes that we have been taught in life. There are a millions sayings we have heard all our life that justify our lives. The best one is – “Crime never pays”. Really? Take a look around you. Things are changing!

Sleuthing at the Stove – Temptation and Opportunity

August 14, 2012 at 10:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sundays are a marvelous day for me.  Usually they involve household tasks; gardening, cooking, communing with the critters, and being at peace with the way the world is. .  Often the weather determines what I am going to cook.  Sunday was hot -very hot!  For some strange reason instead of a barbecue I wanted to make a stew – veggie stew that is!  This Sunday a new client and file had stumbled into my head in the middle of my meal planning.  I wanted to chop carrots, turnips, potatoes and all those other wonderful vegetables that make your mouth water when they are in the slow cooker. 

Ahh – The slow cooker – to me a life saver.  All the years of single motherhood with young children and multiple activities and a stressful job – without the slow cooker we would not have had one warm meal in the fall and winter months.  I have never had time to determine who invented this wonderful tool but I can only imagine at the core   was a multi-tasking exhausted woman desiring warm and healthy food.   In the days of meat consumption  finding recipes for the slow cooker was simple.  However the switch to plant food made the task more challenging.  I have over the years become enamored of the variations of meatless stews, chilis, and creations concocted in my kitchen in the pursuit of the perfect meal.

The process of making the stew often involves scrounging around in the kitchen to see what is available and what makes my mouth water.  A sort of temptation and opportunity moment – I want and there it is.   Funnily enough these two criteria are  often described as part of  the decision making in criminal acts.  They also seem to come up in romance all the time.  Stories such as  – they met at the airport in Sydney – by accident; or they met in the Safeway; or they had dated years ago.  Certainly not my life story at all!  Temptation and opportunity – criminals know how to use these to their advantage and victims fall prey to them too.  So the case i was thinking about??  A case that reminded me of stew – lots of elements, cooked slow over a period of time, and the end result was incredible for one entity and devastating for the other.  So let me tell you the story.    

My client was a sad woman – coming out of a long marriage with her self-esteem tarnished, her identity in question, and about $250,000.00 in cash.  Not a lot to start with at 58 years of age.  Perhaps the worst of it was that she had to move in to her parents home.  I knew this woman indirectly through the community but had no real knowledge of her situation.  A while ago she called me to talk to me about a serious matter – her words included the phrase – “You are the only person I can talk to about this.”  Over a period of several months she had become involved in a romance – on the internet.

Romance and the internet – do I not caution about this all the time?  Do I not say beware?  Well this woman fell hook, line and … what is that last one??? The criminals trolled Skype this time for their victim.  There she was – waiting – waiting for something to happen in her life.  Lets say Mr. Kneip, which is the name used, contacted her and gave her a story – one she could pursue or walk away from.  She was not a stupid woman – she googled this name and found, to her joy, that his story matched the information on the internet.  She printed off all the information about this alleged General.  She queried the caller as to why he would want to speak to her.  His answers reassured her – this was the real thing. Sigh.

This was a lonely and silly  woman.  She was ready to believe this scammer.  When the name and details matched those on the internet – she felt safe.  By now she was engaged and ready to believe that this man had fallen in love with her.  This amazing General of the US Army had fallen in love with her – a sad and lonely woman looking for love and recognition.  At our initial conversation I asked her how much money she had sent and how – was it cash, Western Union or wire transfer.  This becomes critical in the process of investigating this type of scam.  She claimed to have sent $238,000.00 in all variations.

During the process of interviewing  her it became apparent that she would not give a dime of her money to anyone – apparently she was very shrewd and cheap.  I almost laughed out loud – would not give any money to people she knew that were in need of help but no problem giving it all away to someone on the internet.   I was throwing the organic  carrots into the pot at this time and they make this nice plop sound!  Plop like that of someone losing their mind – one dollar at a time.  Do I sound heartless?  Well, frankly, I knew there was more to this story than just romance.  This client brought in a 30 lb. box of all the email communications between the General and her!  Words were bantered about – honey, babe, love, darling  – all in the pursuit of obtaining money .  But in the middle of all of this ‘Honey, I love you” nonsense was a clue to the rest of her motivation.  It was a promise to my client that when all this money was transferred to the General they would release the 5.5 million dollars into her account!  Ahhh – so it was not just about love – it was about greed to0.

Have I ever told you my theory about how all my files revolve around one or both of Love and Greed?? This is for another blog! My stew was now in the slow cooker and ready to start.  Running a scam of this nature is just like cooking in the slow cooker.  All the ingredients have to be present and ready; the spices add to the flavour; it takes time to make the stew – sometimes all day.  This scam took month to cook – slow and steady – so slow and steady that this woman had no problem sending up to $70,000.00 in one transfer.  Amazing – no?

Now here she was on my doorstep.  Of course she had reported the scam to the RCMP and they were handling it accordingly.  I advised her that the only way we could attempt to help her was to trace the wire transfers and work with the locals to determine who cashed them, put more immediate pressure on them for results and work with the police on her behalf.  I explained to her that she was one of many people being scammed weekly and the police had a lot of files. She said well they can collect my money for me.  I also explained to her that was not their primary role – collecting funds given away in a scam.  So the call was hers – we can work on her behalf and go from there.    She gave a retainer and brought the documents and the file was opened!

So like my stew her file consisted of carrots, potatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes and a bit of rutabaga!  A hodgepodge of flavours! Calls were made on her behalf to the police; her authorization letter was faxed to various parties.   There is something about the person being scammed that often flares its ugly head and stares directly at you – (reminder to self – do not put vegetables in the stew if they are mushy).  What is it?  They too are scammers quite often.  I mean, think about it – how many of you would agree to this interaction?  Is the carrot dangling that tempting?  I think not!  It is only those of us that think we can get away with something (LIKE THE NON-TAXABLE 5.5 MILLION IN THIS DEAL) that are willing to play the game.

So after about six hours of work on her file, communicating with the police, sending faxes – guess whose cheque bounced???

Question to readers – what would you do now??

Sleuthing at the Stove and The three D’s of love – disappointment, discontentment, deceit

July 31, 2012 at 9:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Just before I left work the last Friday I received a call from a woman who wanted to prove that her husband was cheating.  I was canning my cherries and thinking about this woman.

Canning cherries requires a lot of preparation – from washing them, to picking  the rotten ones out, and then my least favorite job in the world – pitting the cherries.  I was working with fifty pounds – no easy task.   The procrastinator in me kept finding reason to put off starting.  Finally, here I was sitting at my kitchen table – pitting away!

Pitting cherries is a rather robotic mundane task allowing for all kinds of thoughts to creep into view.  Thus I was thinking about the call I received on Friday.  Lets call her Ella. Ella’s story was that she had married her high school sweetheart and that she knew he was cheating on her.  They were now in their late twenty’s and had a six year old daughter.  how did she know?  Well, the classic story of undeleted messages on his smartphone.  So she saw the various girls texting him; she saw the wonderful naked pictures the girls had sent; she saw the pictures he had sent of himself.

During the entire conversation she was crying.  I listened.  At the end of the story I asked her why she would want to hire a private investigator when she already knew everything.  Can you hear me sighing????

She answered that it was to prove to his parents that he was cheating and she wanted to catch him in the act.  Sort of like that show on TV – Cheaters.  You know – where they bring the spouse to where the misbehaving partner and mistress are and they all have a Jerry Springer moment.  I told her – we don’t do that.

By now I had pitted one bowl of cherries so off to the counter I went.   The first batch of cherries are for fruit canning so I have tried to ensure they are the prettiest cherries.  I  use the pint Mason jars as that is a good size for two people to eat from!  I always find the larger jars get opened and then inevitably put back into the fridge – to be forgotten.  After all this hard work there is no way they are going directly into the compost!  As a child eating canned cherries and strawberries (these were my absolute favorite) from the pantry in winter was a memorable treat.  Canning  is an old-fashioned kind of skill but one I am glad was passed on to me.

Here is a simple but effective recipe.  Now you must remember that i do not use anything other than organic products and will not use pectin! Sometimes, I admit, this results in runny jam – but it does taste good. Also you can use it as pancake syrup – cheesecake syrup ; add it to your plain yogurt.  mmmm.

This is from Mom’s Kitchen.  Take your 8 ounce pre-washed jars (I just throw them into the dishwasher prior to the canning starting)and put in your pretty cherries!  Try to avoid cherries that have bruises, hard skin, are discoloured.  They don’t improve in the jars and over time.  Once the jars are more or less filled pour in your syrup.  Some people really enjoy the thick heavy syrup but i prefer the lighter syrup.  Again my syrup recipe is simple – i use 2 cups sugar to one quart water.  That’s it.  Some people use variations with honey and so on – but I confess to being traditional in this arena.  I like my canned cherries the way my mom made them!

So that being done I went back to Ella’s problem.  After she told me the story of how they had been together since they were 14 yrs. old – so that made it a total of 14 years her partner had completely changed.  He was discontented with the marriage and went on to live his own second life.  She was disappointed and felt deceived.  To make matters more complicted  her cultural background punished women for simple transgression – but men had different rules.  Needless to say she lived with his parents.  During the conversation she indicated that her mother-in-law was prepared to pay for the investigation  to prove her son was cheating.  This young woman cried and cried during the conversation; then she was angry; then she was hurt; then she wanted revenge and so it went.    This is an unhappy story – no doubt about it.  It is one of the stages that I encounter often in the field of marital investigations – it is the stage I call Disappointment, Discontentment and Deceit.

What to do?  Ella needed a counsellor more than an investigator.  As a self-employed person it is at this stage that I often wonder if running a business is my forte.  After all my concern is more to do with her mental health rather than fortifying the obvious cheating of her husband.  This is the vulnerable stage where a good salesperson can hook the potential client – make the sale – do the investigation.  I confess – I do not want to hook this fish.  What more can I prove to her – she has seen the pictures, she has read endless texts, she knows what kind of work he does and the number of women he can meet???  Oh right – she wants to prove this to his family – a family that supports male infidelity and disregard for women.  What a tough battle she has chosen.  I had agreed to talk to her again on Monday and this is why I am cooking and thinking about her situation.

My jars are now cooking slowly in the canner and soon I will be able to take them out.  So exciting — about fifteen awesome canned cherries for the winter!  Fantastic!  Check out the completed product!

So what do you think – should I take this case?  Can I help her out?  Lets see your thoughts and I can tell you about another case while I make cherry jam.

PS Many thanks to my friend Deb Dryborough for the great new name for the blog!  From the great minds of friends come great thoughts!


July 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So here I sit – about a week after this blog was supposed to go up.  But as most adults know – life interferes often with the best laid plans of men!  I had to write this blog even though it is in the middle of my series on life and love!  But it is about life and love – only not the romantic kind.  As you can imagine in my life I hear a lot of secrets.  I am like the confessional priest without the trappings!  If you met me in real life you would have no idea about the secret lives stored within my mind!  Stored on behalf of the many people that had to tell them to someone – secrets are hard to keep and hard to hide and hard to live with. Yes I have heard many of them.  The ones I want to talk about today are those that hit us in the heart – ones that we kept from our dearest and closest!   We live our lives as if these secrets did not exist and then time, our enemy, starts to chip away at the cracks.  The cracks become longer, deeper, more in need of attention.

Several years ago a dear friend that i had come to know through my daughters dance activities approached me about a recently revealed secret.  She was 52 and doing up a medical profile for her two teen daughters.  Her father had recently passsed away from heart disease so she thought it would be beneficial to put something together.  My friend is a highly organized woman!  Unlike the writer!  So she sat down with her mom to review the family history.  Her mom at this time was in her 80’s and her name, lets say, was Nancy.  Nancy said to her daughter, honey there is something I have to tell you.  The man that you know as your father and raised you was not your biological father.  Imagine that – finding out at 52 yrs. of age.  Does this change your life?

My friend, was stunned.  Apparently her mom had had a love affair with a man shortly after World War II in Germany.  She became pregnant and he had to leave for work – he never came back.  When she was about six months pregnant she met the man who became her husband.  They raised my friend and decided to never tell her.  Never is a long time isn’t it????   I am still unclear on when never arrives.  So after 52 yrs. the secret is out of the bag!  My friend hired me to find her real father.  I did – unfortunately he had passed away a few years earlier in Germany.  However he had married and had another four children.  But as you can imagine this secret was not well received by his wife – who had no knowledge of the events that preceeded her.   There was no happy ending to this story.

A lot of secrets revolve around the birth and adoption of children.  It is amazing to me that anyone actually grew up in their birth family.  I have lost count of the numbers of adoptive reunions I have worked on.  I would love to tell you all of them but, frankly, even I have forgotten some of the cases I have worked on – there have been just too many.  I can recall the ones that left a piece within me.  There is a common thread I have discovered in some of the cases I have worked on – love.  Several cases involved young couples that loved each other as teens but due to family pressure parted and gave their child up for adoption.  They all reunited after some years parting and had  more children.  These reunions can be happy and simultaneously sad for all involved.  As a mother I cannot imagine parting with my child at birth – which is one reason I try so hard to solve these cases.

A while ago I had a client approach to me to find her birth daughter.  I was able to do so and she was pleased with the information.  I had had an opportunity to speak to the daughter and could inform my client that all was well.  A few years went by.  The daughter contacted me on facebook – she had located Baker Street Agency!  I was fond of this young woman so I added her as a friend.  She was wanting contact with her birth mother and even though I had the information – I could not reveal it to her!  So I contacted the birth mother and spoke to her and added her to my facebook.  This is a very painful and difficult arena for some people and it takes time and courage to face one’s past.  So my client had time to have contact with her daughter indirectly through my facebook.  As an investigator I must maintain neutrality and professionalism and yet both these people wanted to know each other.   I knew that there would be a time when she would be comfortable and courageous enough to solicit contact.  They met recently and both are happy.

In this area facebook was a godsend – certainly twenty years ago this tool did not exist! Yes facebook is a tool investigators are thankful for – usually for other reasons.  But in this instance facebook was a neutral format – kind of like a meditative platform from which my client could move forward.    So thank you facebook for providing the format in which one secret was resolved.  This kind of family reunification makes me happy and gives meaning to my job.!

So secrets are all around us – hiding in the shadows, dodging questions, shutting down communication, and lingering —-lingering in the minds of those in possession of them.  I believe they all eventually surface – sometimes later than we want, sometimes causing unhappy endings, sometimes not allowing us to find answers for our questions!  Secrets and the resolution of them are the foundation of most of my work.

On a personal note to my beautiful darling daughter –  there is not such thing as a secret when your mom is a private investigator.  The tattoo is awesome!

Myths of Romance – Lies of Courtship

June 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A friend posted an adorable picture on FB tonight – a beautiful golden lab and a little black and white kitten cuddling. I commented that it was pictures like this resulted me in having the hoard of quadrapieds that exist in my home.  That got me to thinking.  What happens in the courtship process that attracts two people to each other?  This question becomes more interesting to me in light of how many people are enacting their courtships online today.

Is it fair to say that the first point of contact with a potential prospect online is the picture?  Similar to real-life right?  Most of my relationships started with a mutual appreciation of each others “look”.  No doubt about it. Now things may have changed if the prospect opened his mouth and gibberish spewed out – that was definitely a deal breaker for me! I expected looks and intellect to work together.   Online relationships, I have found, are based on a lot of mythology.  First, let me say, YES I KNOW SOME OF YOU MET THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE ONLINE!  Okay, now that is over.  Let me tell you a story.

Several years ago I did a talk about online dating to a womans group.  Of course there was one woman who had met her new husband through one of the sites.  I don’t remember which site she used  anymore.  Nevertheless she was the one in the group that had a counter to everything I said – very exhausting for a speaker.  Now here is an “I told you so.”  About five months after this we met for a coffee and she was very down.  I inquired as to what was up.  Well, you got it, she just found out her new husband was spending his lunch hours and travels meeting up with pretty well anyone listing on Craigslist.  Really?  As a private investigator that has followed many a person on their extra-marital liasons I can confirm that Craigslist listings were pretty bottom of the barrel.  She chose to stay with him.  Let me tell you about the lie in this courtship – This was not his first marriage nor his first infidelity.  But for some strange reason my client did not find out about this until after our investigation. Why did she not know this?  Desperate to marry? Did not hear what he said?  What my client saw was a reasonably attractive man in a powerful position that could provide her with the lifestyle she felt entitled to.  Both these people were in their early 60’s.  Their courtship was based on misinformation – he represented himself as a reliable and loyal partner- NOT.  She presented herself as an independent capable self-employed female – NOT.

Another client found that the father of her four children, under the age of ten, spent over $60,000.00 on hookers in the previous year.  He too spent a large chunk of his workday and off hours (including most family holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) texting and booking appointments.  That marriage did not last.   I could not comprehend what attracted this incredibly intelligent woman to this boorish fairly average looking man.  What lies had occurred in their encounters? She thought she was marrying a family man.   He thought he was marrying a compliant partner and never expected, upon being found out, that she would turf his sorry ass out the door.  But she did!

I was sitting in my friends coffee shop one night, having just completed a talk on deal breakers in relationships, and a bunch of women, girls, and myself were googling one of the online sites for men.  Without fail, all the selections made were based on looks  first.  If we liked the picture were would read the writeups.

As an investigator I have found that most of the pictures posted are not completely accurate and often the information posted is less than accurate.  The lies of courtship.  The difference between online lies and in-person lies is simple – in person  you can see what is in front of you.  Unless you have horrific judgement and wear rose-coloured glasses you will not miss the nuances of lies.

Another client met their partner online and within seven days of intense communications by computer, phone and in person finally married on the 14th day of knowing this person.  Married this person on the 14th day!  During the course of the investigation I discovered that he thought he was marrying a woman that wanted to stay at home, raise children, could cook amazing meals (after all she was Italian); she thought she was marrying a world traveller – he regalled her with tales of his travels (the farthest he had ever travelled at that point in life was to Victoria BC).  This couple deliberately lied to each other – and build the foundation of their shaky marriage on these lies.

Lies of courtship – online these can be massive and uncovered.  In person – these can be massive and uncovered.  Too many people hire investigators after they are in these relationship messes !

My philosophy is that a private investigator should be hired to vet the person before you become too enmeshed.  In the long run it is cheaper – financially and emotionally.

Every pot has a lid that fits! (or not?) All about relationships

June 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another day where I am sitting at my computer pondering what I have to say that might be of interest to someone!  Most often I find that my job consists of dealing with relationships – all kinds.  The personal ones where people want to meet someone or those that have come to an end.   Business relationships which are extremely complex and can involve many intricately woven issues – from resume fraud to employee theft.  At the end of the day I often am wondering about what makes relationships successful.  The last week I decided to interview a few of my friends that have remained single all their lives.  It is not that they did not have relationships  – more that they chose not to marry any one particular person.  I also interviewed my friends that were in long term marriages – what made them work?

My first single friend had reached the age of 60 without being captured by a woman.  Now he happens to have always been a tall, handsome, mysterious man (definitely in the top ten for looks) with a penchant for interesting and challenging conversations.  He has been active in union issues and the rights of workers for years.  So what gives I thought?  So the other day he gave me his three criteria for women;

1. She must have a car that is in working order. Not in disrepair or needing something – actually works.

2. No tattoos – he is not interested in women that have to make statements about themselves visually.

3. No suntan.

Well I thought the last one was odd – so I asked why no suntan?  Well, he replied – people get suntans laying on their ass doing nothing!  I am not interested in that kind of a woman!  Interesting don’t you think?  After all these years he has not changed one IOTA.

Several interviews later there was a theme that I undercovered  established amongst my permanently single friends.  More or less, they insisted on the other person being completely self-sufficient, not having baggage or at least moving baggage,and  having no “rescue me” needs.  The final and perhaps most definitive was that the person was to enhance the life of the interviewee – no one suggested how they could enhance the life of the other person!  Selfishness is a biggie with this crowd!

On to the next group – the termers!  Amazing – but two of these couples have been together for 35 plus years!  I sit in awe.  How do you keep going I ask them?  Are you not bored?  What do you talk about?  Obviously I am not one of these chosen few!  Here are some of the comments I received – tips for staying together:

1. Do not take life too seriously.

2. Do not take advantage of each other.

3. Make sure you do things together – organize date nights.

4. Do not spend time apart – no more than three days.

5. Even if not interested in your partners activities – listen with curiosity!

Hmmm – nothing too magical here is there?  I am sure these points have been covered by Dr. Phil many times on his program.  So I began to wonder – if you received these tips at the beginning of the relationship would it keep you from breaking up?  Usually you hear that money problems are the biggest reason for marital discord.  But maybe that would be secondary if you focused on the other points – ??  Maybe?

What I see often is people staying in relationships long after the affair, the hurt, the ongoing betrayal for many of the wrong reasons!  I see people seeking relationships out, comprimising themselves – just so they are not lonely.  Some of these relationships have lasted for 37 years and then poof – poof!  One person says – I HAVE HAD ENOUGH and off they go.  The other partner is sitting in stunned silence – without a clue as to what caused this to happen.  True story!

During the writing of my blog I decided to pause and make some lunch!  Wouldn’t you know it – I could not find the lid for my pot!  You see my cabinet is not one of these marvelously designed pull out cupboards where all the pots and lids are perfectly matched and fitted for storage.  My cupboard is kind of like a closet you open that is holding back all the stored items – the door is opened and everything comes spilling out!  Kind of like my life and my loves –  sometimes the lid fit, sometimes it didn’t, sometimes I could not find the right lid so I used a “close-enough” lid –  and sometimes there just was no lid for my pot!

Just as in life and relationships.  Pots can work without lids.

Click here – playing pots and lids


What’s age got to do with it?

March 20, 2012 at 7:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

As an equalist I have always given equal opportunity to everyone regardless of age,gender,background.  Over the past six months my thinking has shifted.   Age often combines wisdom, knowledge, survival skills, compassion, tolerance, and a “bigger picture” perspective.  Yes, I admit that not everyone ages with grace and wisdom.  The world is full of trolls and trolls they will be.  However, if there is one thing I have learned in my job is that you can accomplish way more successfully if you have some knowledge behind you.

Yesterday I was faced with a disappointing situation on a personal level.  A young man that was doing some repair work for me and was a friend of my daughters and an immigrant trying to obtain Canadian Status was in a tough spot.  He was working on my home after putting in a full day at work.  As i too often work late into the evening i was tired of giving him a ride home.  He could certainly skytrain home but he would be somewhat pathetic and my maternal instincts would kick it and off I would drive to Coquitlam.  Well one day it became too much.  So in the interests of my sanity I let him borrow my daughters car to go back and forth from his house to my home and if need be to Home Depot.  Sounds fair and generous right?

Well Sunday afternoon he reluctantly advises me that he was in a car accident in the parking lot of a nightclub.  Groan……   The damage was enough that ICBC of course would be involved and seeing that it is a BMW well I am sure it won’t be inexpensive.  So a friend that works for the organization comes over and explains to him what he has to do and t he information he needs to obtain to make his call to the 24 hr. line that evening.  Does he do it – does he call them?  NO.  Does he tell me he did not call them. NO.

Then Monday, truly most often the worst day of the week, the entire story comes out – how he let other people drive the car, he drove the car all over Surrey (you know a few miles from Vancouver) and on and on the abuse of trust went.  When I told him how disappointed I was in his behavior and when i told the friend how disappointed I was in his behavior he actually yelled at me. Both of them spoke to me with disrespect and arrogance.  Yes eventually they expressed regret – but it was not the first response.   As trusted friends of my daughter I explained how they had abused and disrespected her by taking her car around town for spins.  Both young men more or less told me that they knew better than I – the one 19 yr. old said” I have had several accidents and i know how ICBC works.”  I understand, he said, that you have been an investigator for 20 years but I can tell you that ICBC will put this at 100% fault to the other guy.  The original borrower did not even tell me that he had passed the car around and he justified his behavior by saying it wasn’t a big deal.  Another Groan…………..

I told both of them they had to fill the gas tank, clean that car, deal with the repairs and step up and be men!  The borrower groaned that when he took the car it was not a full tank.  I said excuse me?  Did your parents never teach to return a borrowed item in better condition than when you received it – ie. borrowed t-shirt – wash it before you return it; do not turn in the pages of a pristine book, borrowed car – fill the tank!!!  How are you missing these basic life skills!

Wait – I hear the wolf pack howling in protest!  I know youth belies energy, creative and innovative ideas, the beginning rather than the end.  I would suggest that these great qualities can be enhanced with a lack of ego and arrogrance.  The two young men involved in this situation are impeded now and possibly in the future by their sense of self-importance – exhibited through their sense of entitlement.  This is a tragedy that has been nurtured and encouraged by many parents of my generation-  constant praise regardless of behavior, lack of consequences, lack of responsibility and accountability!   I, thankfully, was not one of these wolf parents.  Much to her chagrin my daughter always had consequences.  When I asked her if she would borrow someones car and then behave like this she immediately responsed with a vigorous NO!

So, young men, you are not in the right.  You need to fill that gas tank, wash that car, clean it out and apologize – to me – the parent!  To my daughter the car owner. Until you do this you will be at the bottom of the barrel – in the muck with the rest of the trolls.  Trolls are not welcome at my house!

Hiring A “Real Private Investigator” in British Columbia

March 11, 2012 at 11:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

One of the greatest issues that the investigative field must deal with today is the licensing program for private investigators that is operated by the Provincial Government.  A few years ago they changed the method in which investigators are licensed.  Namely, unlike the old days where an applicant had to apply under the auspices of a legitimate company, today they apply under their own name.  The requirements are minimal – 19 yrs. of age, no criminal record, and …. thats about it.  Somewhere in there is a statement about taking training and working 2400 hrs. before they can be licenced without supervision.  There is no interview, no check as to mental stability and certainly no background as to ability to perform the tasks required of an investigator.

What has this resulted in – a bunch of inexperienced, incompetent, dangerous and “know it all” types.  They carry that licence on themselves without the company (or companies) they contract to or work for having any input into their independent activities.  In the last month alone I interviewed an individual that was licenced here and in Alberta as an ‘investigator under supervision’.  HOWEVER, this bright light had decided to print out business cards showing he was a ‘RISK MANAGER’.  During the interview he promoted himself as a business.  I asked him if he carried the Errors and Liability insurance we are legislated to do;  I asked him if he had a business licence – knowing full well that his individual license would not allow him to, I asked him if he was a proprietor or a corporation (I admit to being devilish here).  He had no idea what I was talking about.  But he was out and about promoting himself.  To the consumers they would have no way of knowing whether this person was legitmiate or not.

The second recent episode was a young woman that, mistakenly, thought she had gathered enough information to be an investigator  to be promoting herself on line because she had taken the Justice Institute Course in Enforcement.   She was fully aware that her license was ‘UNDER SUPERVISION’ and yet she as recently as February 2012 listed her phone number in a number of online ads as “personal investigations’ – retainer required.  She also listed as a para-legal and promoted her services to the general public.  Neither of these services can be promoted by herself independently – she has to work under supervision.   There is a reason that people are placed under supervision – it is so they can learn the profession – either as a legal assistant or as an investigator.

These people are a hindrance to the professionalism of this job and they are a danger to the public.  They do not have the resources, contacts, ability or professionalism and in many cases discreetness to carry out any investigation.  They are mistaken and misguided to think that they have the ability to perform a job that many qualified full licence investigators have trained for, studied for and still do professional training.  The question is what does Security Programs, teh licensing body of the government do about it.  Well they have inspectors that investigate the complaints and provide some kind of reprimand – they do post the outcomes on their website. But the public does not know about this – CHECK THE PIS OUT.

So here are a few of my thoughts; TO THE GOVERNMENT OF  B.C.

1. Make licensing harder – do a background check, credit check – stop the abuse of consumers

2. Interview the applicant – they did that 20 years ago.

3. Verify what type of work they are going to do.

4. Check out their qualifications


1. Report these individuals when they cross your path

2. Petition for reform within the industry – you know its not working the way it is.

3. Petition for stricter regulation of the ‘under supervision” licenses

4. Do not encourage this kind of thinking by not supervising the “under supervision” staff

5. Encourage higher level training for all professionals in the field


1. Don’t just take the business card as ID.  Ask them for a copy of their BUSINESS LICENCE.  Go to their office and see – it is required to be posted on the wall visibly.

2. Ask them how many years experience they have in the field.

3. Ask them their background.  Just because you were a police person does not make you the best p.i.  Ask what their experience is in personal investigations.

4. Ask for references! No good pi will refuse this!  If they tell you something about their clients wanting to stay private – that is nonsense.  A good pi always has some clients that will reference for him/her.

5. Ask them how they bill; do they cap the billing; are you required to sign a contract; do you get a copy of the contract.  There should be no hesitation here.

6.  A good pi is a slogger;  gimmicks are just that – gimmicks!

Don’t be swayed by fancy talk about gps trackers, cameras, etc. – this is all going to cost you.  Remember a good pi will develop a plan that will fit your budget and all your considerations!

On a personal note I am tired of the lack of professionalism in this profession.  It is a hard job that requires multiple skills and abilities!  The industry needs to start fighting for the professional status that is due to it!


Check out our great private investigator

January 9, 2012 at 11:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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