Thursday, August 18, 2016

This is my hood:

Um, thanks for this important information about...

(Perhaps your ink ran? Or perhaps this is some advertising ploy to force me to return to this pole sign again and again and again like some puppet until you share the info you're playing hard to get with? And if so, how very dastardly of you indeed.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

There's no such thing as a perfect match anyway. Right? 

This seems to me like a good reminder that one need not choose the obvious partner because despite their differences, these got me where I needed to go that day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Just are.

Palm readers interpret the lines on our hands: the life line, the fate line, the heart line, the head line, the health line, and probably others too. These lines somehow illustrate the course and journey of our lives. I don’t buy it, but if I did, I think the most important line is missing: the friendship line. 

Imagine your friendship line from the beginning until now. Where exactly did important people show up to do important things? How did those friendships begin? How did they evolve? Who left? Who stayed? Who surprised you and why? Who was there just at the right time for the right amount of time?  Who told you the truth when you didn’t even know you needed it? Who gave you strength? Who made you laugh? Who did you need and perhaps more importantly, who needed you? And what did you learn from all of this?

About friendship, poet Walt Whitman said, “I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.” I think there’s some part in each of us that is surprised by friendship. Our brains are hardwired for survival and thus we default to distrust. Depending on the degrees to which we’ve been burned or betrayed or abandoned in our lives, we must sometimes consciously over-ride this impulse. But then we have those friends who are just easy. No judgment. No conflict. Even the rough patches are little more than speed bumps. After separation, things pick up exactly where they left off. We should all have at least one friend like this.

Perhaps it’s a factor of aging but sometimes now when I am amongst friends I will remove myself from the conversation and observe. It can be quite moving to see your friends being friends. Just sitting around after a good meal. Just enjoying each other’s company. Easy laughter. Ideas shared and pondered and sometimes played with like kittens batting around a ball of string. Relaxed body language. Smiling faces. Smiling eyes. Forgetting about the long day. Feeling safe. Escaping a worry or two. Feeling trouble-free. Trust. Not aware of anything other than the warmth and comfort in the room and a casual, leisurely flow of positive energy, synergy even. The conversation satisfies, it even spills over sometimes but you and I dear friend, we float along together.

As the saying goes, “to have a friend you must be one.” Is it really that easy? Probably not, except when it just…is. Today I am grateful for friends who just…are.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Things one should outgrow:

narrow thinking.

With age and life experience, I've noticed my worldview shifting more rapidly than it ever has. I've grown tired of narrow thinking, my own egocentrism and others too. Speaking of perspective, that's why I appreciate the leading lines in this photo I took while out for a walk in rural Saskatchewan. Imagine all the people not visible in this photo: airplane passengers, drivers, walkers, you, experiencing it vicariously, all of us, going somewhere. It seems to me that we are all from somewhere but only going elsewhere provides real perspective. One might decide that there's no place like home, but without travel, without trying to navigate through others' lives, without trying to intentionally understand those lives, how could one possibly know?

Henry Rollins said, "A great way to learn about your country is to leave it." It's also the only way to truly learn about yourself too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016


Many years ago my Dad made a miniature Kenworth truck & flat-bed trailer. Like literally cut and welded it all together. Although it’s a toy, it’s heavy and it’s permanent. And in fact, it’s amazing. It will surely survive the zombie apocalypse.

He gave me this toy when I was a young adult. Sadly, I didn’t really understand the gesture then so I wonder now if I thanked him properly. My Dad absolutely loved cars and trucks and vehicles but we didn’t share this enthusiasm much so when he gave me this gift I was confused. It wasn’t my birthday or Christmas and he didn’t explain why. But I get it now Dad. I do.

Not long before my Dad died, I re-gifted his toy to my son when he was still a boy, and I know that’s exactly what my Dad wanted. My son played with it many times. But then it was tucked on a shelf in a room for years and so I hadn’t thought about it much but recently, I was able to re-examine it from all angles, and it’s like I’m seeing it again for the first time. The details are impressive. Washers for headlights, tiny mirrors painted silver. Some sort of safety lights on the top of the cab. Cylindrical silver fuel tanks. Steel wheels. A smoke stack. (Why not two stacks, Dad?) Some of the detailing is scratched now but it still lumbers along quite well, yet I wouldn’t want to drop it on my foot.

What I especially notice about this toy this time are all my Dad’s mistakes. I can see his cuts weren’t perfect. The paint doesn’t hide all the welds and some are raised and uneven. His hammer marks are visible. Now, this is the best part. His mistakes tell his story because they illuminate his process, his time, his energy, his focus, his art, his work. My Dad didn’t much care how things looked; he preferred how they functioned. Because I too have aged, I feel like I can guess his thoughts: perfection is fiction.

The act of creating and making and giving and receiving is messy but it’s honestly the only stab we all have at immortality. In this sense, I guess my Dad was making a sort-of time machine. For me. (And for himself too.) He knew I would return to this toy throughout my life. It’s a message from the past about the investment required to be a father. It’s a tangible piece of his respect and appreciation and love. And like him, (and like me) it’s not perfect but it’s solid which, I believe, is his way of saying to me that’s what’s truly important. Thanks Dad. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Um, ? I discovered this in the basement bathroom of the Rutherford Library at the University of Alberta. And I don't like it. At all. What's it for? Other than perhaps the perfect setting for a Stephen King story, like Sneakers?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Things one should never outgrow:

I need one of these rollers to crush things and then examine them afterward. I also need a wood chipper. Which begs the question: where are the reality shows about these types of machines?

Anyway, this is less about psychology (anger issues or abandonment or entitlement and the like) and more about curiosity. Big machinery is cool; okay, perhaps there is a power dynamic at play: I might want to crush Donald Trump's ego.
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