Sunday, February 19, 2017

Things one should never outgrow:

Tex
fetch.

This dog has energy! And it's tough. And it's relentlessly playful. And it stinks. And that orange ball is basically a petri dish six weeks into some harrowing experiment.

But come on, you can't not play fetch.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Let's be honest...

I thoroughly enjoyed playing the International Oilman Game with my wife, my son, and his girlfriend recently, but its gleeful capitalism reminded me of an important idea I read somewhere: nobody gets rich on their own.

In other words, it's a good reminder to me (especially in Canada) that my access to health-care, education, and infrastructure all contributes to a quality of life that enhances my success. Yet another reason to keep one's greed in perspective.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Things one should never outgrow:

Thanks Mac & Shay.
a wiener roast, especially a Winter wiener roast.

It's weird when you get oldish and your kid invites you over for supper. But I like it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

?













Like millions of others I'm reading about, I am bewildered by what is happening in the United States. Sure, I was bewildered last year too. Shocked. Angered. Grossed out. Worried. But now it's worse. And it renders me unable to think clearly. This is not the US I grew up next to. I'm not American and I don't pretend to know what it's like to be an American. It's always a matter of worldviews and perceptions, but I'm so confused by this open bigotry and ignorant tyranny and "alternative facts."

I always seek to understand people because, despite differing ideologies, the great leveler is that we are all human and don't we want the best for our children, for all children? This situation is way beyond political parties. Yet not everyone (?!) feels some combination of appalled and outraged, so what now? And what next?

Often, I am guilty of leading with my feelings. As we all should know, feelings are not facts so perhaps that isn't the best way to think critically and calmly about 2017 in North America. Nevertheless, this FEELS like when I was a kid and I watched Roots or when Sting sang, "I hope the Russians love their children too." It FEELS like when I read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank or Night by Elie Wiesel or 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale or when I met a man who lived through Hiroshima. It FEELS like my Great-Grandfather, who paid the ultimate sacrifice at Passchendaele in World War 1, would be sickened by these developments. I don't even know how to explain these feelings. It's a heavy feeling, a fog. Growing up privileged and safe and comfortable and free likely explains why I feel so confused at times. But right now, I'm awake. I'm alert. And I feel empowered by all those who DO feel appalled and outraged and MOTIVATED.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Test

I was eating a pomegranate and after about thirty minutes of fighting with that lemony-sweet bag of deliciousness, I realized that eating a tangy, cold apple would have saved me A LOT of time. Pomegranates eh?

As the saying goes, “patience it taking too long.” So maybe patience is overrated? Sure, it improves mental health, relationships, and achieving goals, but if it’s so good for us, why is it so difficult? We need a patience hack. My research revealed a foolproof training strategy for mastering patience: “make yourself wait.”

Really? That’s it? That’s all you and I have to do? Not likely. Well I guess since I’ve been wrong about 2.8 million times before, I decided to test it.
  1. So I made macaroni. I had to wait for that water to boil. It wasn’t that bad actually. I used self-talk but then I had to wait for it to cook too. Ugh.
  2. So then I also picked the longer line at the grocery store. Brave, eh? BRUTAL. In fact, it didn’t even work because the cashier waved me over to the next check-out.
  3. So then this: my wife ordered a very cool gift for me but it did not arrive in time. No worries; I decided to embrace this crime against me and go full chill. I simply wiped it from my mind. After a week, my wife tracked it online and shared that it’s en route. I continued in full chill mode. Everything was moving along swimmingly and I was learning loads of patience until we saw said gift advertised on TV. My wife tracked it again and discovered it has been in the same location for weeks. WHAT? Haven’t I endured enough? I demanded we call customer service and RAGE AGAINST THIS INJUSTICE but then we got distracted by the Food Network and forgot.
  4. So I worked out for thirty minutes but still no abs. Sheesh.
  5. So I also tested the theory this way: I texted my son. Yup, he REALLY supports my patience mission I guess.
In conclusion, this strategy is bunk. So what now? Let’s all resume instant gratification mode because I think that’s really working out for everyone. Right

Friday, January 6, 2017

Check

Checklist for an amazing January:
  1. Furnace
  2. Fuzzy blankets
  3. Wi-Fi
  4. Booster cables
  5. Alcohol
  6. Throat lozenges
  7. Mittens
  8. Electricity
  9. Fireplaces (or perhaps the Fireplace channel)
  10. Firewood
  11. Repeat quietly as needed: "A little more daylight every day. A little more...."   
  12. Chips (because buying fruit might require a second mortgage)
  13. Books
  14. YouTube
  15. Hot chocolate
  16. Command start
  17. Skidoo
  18. Reminder: mosquitos are deader than disco
  19. Friends who bring the funny
  20. Potluck parties
  21. Skating (no skates required, some days)
  22. Snow forts
  23. Snowshoes
  24. Mukluks
  25. Hoarfrost
  26. An awareness of upcoming Sweet Short February
  27. Hoodies (bunny-hugs, kangaroo jackets)
  28. People who clear and sand the roads
  29. To heck with shaving
  30. Mettle (noun): a Canadian’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face any demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way. Synonyms: fortitude, strength of character, moral fiber, determination, backbone, grit, courage, fearlessness, daring, disposition, nature, temperament, personality, guts, spunk, balls. [See Alberta man who punched a cougar at Tim Horton’s in Whitecourt, nuff said, drops mic.]

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fave Reads 2016

I absolutely believe that "if you don't read, you can't lead." However, given a confusing handful of current world leaders (one in particular), I have been proven wrong. Apparently, it isn't a prerequisite for getting elected. Sad!

Nevertheless, this means books are more important than ever. So is the library. So is determining the exact sources that inform what we read. Whatever you read, find what's more important than ever in this particular ever.
This book echoes with
some of the mysteries in
my own life. It reminds us
that life is worth
re-examining because
we might just be our own
unreliable narrators.  
It's never too late for
love. Plus it may take a
lifetime to understand
the truth, and the
surprising reasons
for everything we
thought we understood.
Here, a graphic novel by
Richard McGuire is a page-
turner and returner. Non-
linear, and set entirely in one
room, McGuire takes us on
a passage through time, yet
careful reading reveals how
connected these visual tales
really are. 
Gord Downie's last concert
and his songbook The Secret Path,
moved me to read everything I
could about Chanie Wenjack.
Boyden's brutal use of the
objective point of view, and
Chanie's heartbreaking
humanity broke me. 

During the Holocaust,
when intellectuals "disappeared,"
young Anna is left fatherless,
but she meets the Swallow Man
and begins a journey that feels
part Anne Frank, part Life of Pi.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sound

What’s your favourite sound?

I love sound: honest music, belly laughs, kittens purring, faraway skidoos, loved-one’s voices, rivers flowing, birds singing, ukulele strums, stomach gurgles and soft heartbeats. And more. It’s all great. But my favourite sound? Silence.

Around us everywhere is sound. And we are constantly processing it. We may filter some, but sound is hard to ignore. Worse yet is the chatter. It distracts us, it demands, it chastises, it confuses, it weakens: the radio, the TV, the texts, the constant updates and news flashes, the global cycle of doom, gloom, renewal, and resume. All these sound-waves impact us. They reverberate. We absorb them. Once they’re inside us, we process that discord and it churns. We’re distracted, we’re frustrated, we’re confused, we’re anxious, we’re worried, and we may not even know why. Whatever or whoever the din, we must continually swim in this steady stream of noise.

Therefore I wish you silence. In other words, I wish you peace. What’s more valuable than peace? Think about it. Don’t we all deserve a little peace? Peace of mind? To be peaceful. It soothes. It balms. It bolsters. What’s better than that?

That’s the thing: we can make peace. We can find it. We can choose it. In small ways and big ways. For most of us, it’s not that far away. And for those whose peace is distant, we can make peace for others. There are a million ways. Go offline. Go outside. Be pure of heart. Have good intentions. Apologize. Walk. Pull your sheets out the dryer and crawl inside them. Seek ways to be on good terms with others. Stop comparing yourself to others. Compromise. Forgive. Empower someone else and bask in their happiness. Surrender something. Learn something. Be honest and open and real and vulnerable. Stop trying to solve everything, at least for a while. Accept that determining blame is unproductive. Be humble. Sneak away for a while. Stay in bed an extra hour. Spend time with someone you trust and tell them what’s troubling you. Like cats do, sit in the sun. Give away cookies. Think about what you’ve accomplished instead of what you haven’t. Wander for a while. Slow down. Recharge. Breathe. Make peace with someone and it might hardly make a sound and yet it will be heard in the most important places in the heart. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Things one should never outgrow:

celebration.

A friend taught me that celebrations need not be elaborate nor fancy nor do they even need to be public. (Very soothing words for guilt-ridden public celebration-anxious introverts like me.) He explained that celebrations simply acknowledge gratitude and they mark joyful moments. Together or alone, whatever, whenever.

Whether like today, it's Hanukkah or Christmas (or simply a Saturday) I'm a big fan of seeking joyful moments. And today's joyful moment came thanks to a combination of writing inspiration and Baileys. What am I celebrating? Smart friends. Letters to old friends. Memories. Peacefulness. What's more important to celebrate than that? (And I hope the same for you.)
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