Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shouldn't I?

My son made this toolbox in his Industrial Arts class back when he was still in high school. MADE THIS. Every single part of it. Inside there's even a tray that can be removed. He MADE this.

My kids are out of high school now and have both moved away, both pursuing further education, yet since their births they would do these things that amazed me and this question would pop into my head every time: who are you people?

They just did things. And could do things. Things that surprised me.

I'm not bragging. This is not about bragging. Parents who brag are annoying. This is about wonder. I've always been a wonder-junkie. I marvel at plenty of things and sometimes that includes my kids.

Now that they've moved out of our lives, I still wonder at who they are and what they do and why they do what they do: both their genius and their idiocy. As their father, someone who has been with them every step of the way, shouldn't I have some sort of key to every post office box inside their brains? Shouldn't I know them better than they know themselves? Shouldn't I be able to predict their choices? Shouldn't I...?

And that's my mistake right there, isn't it? Me, me, me. This isn't about me. This is my struggle, not theirs. I need to remember that happiness is an inside job. I'm sure I taught them that because that is exactly what they are off seeking. I only need to relearn this myself.

"We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it." Rainer Maria Rilke, poet

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wordfuse

Like morning breath, but my face. Just staring at me. Looking like I just smelled the worst fart ever. But no one farted. It's just the way my face wakes up in the morning now. All scrunched. The opposite of fresh. AKA get-off-my-lawn face. A total bummer. And it lasts all day. All. Day.

Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Like trees.

Hollywood, Florida
"We pay for life with death, so shouldn't everything in between be free?" Bill Hicks

Yes. It should. But we all know nothing is free. There's a price to pay for all experiences. Sometimes the cost is steep, whether financial or more personally fraught and despite that, it's often quite worth it too.

My family and I vacationed in Florida this past Spring. Since my children are mostly grown (no one should ever finishing growing, right?), my wife and I agreed that we needed to book what could potentially be our last big family vacation together, just the nutty four of us. You know: celebrate those messy comfortable family dynamics that only the four of us could fully understand along with those inevitable Griswoldian moments (despite my wife's careful planning). And we mostly loved it. Some favourite moments:

1. An air-boat ride through the windy, raw and incomprehensibly vast everglades, with its blooming water lilies and poisonous trees ending with a sprinkling of alligator pee.
2. An evening beach concert with a slightly disturbing yet impressive number of joyful, free-spirited elderly people in varying states of dress and undress.
3. Young Circle Park in downtown Hollywood, Florida, a park dedicated to the arts with the most enormous trees I have ever seen: baobabs. Originating in Africa, each tree, sometimes called "the tree of life," can grow trunks more than 10 meters thick and stand strong for thousands of years.

Months later now, I'm still thinking about those huge trees, so permanent in a world so fleeting in many ways because while we were in Florida, my mother died. My Mom would have loved those trees. But Florida? Nope. Too urban, too crowded, too much traffic. My Mom preferred a simple quiet life. But those trees? She would have loved them.

My mother died about 24 hours after her diagnosis and I am told her characteristically positive attitude was completely intact. Once, a few years ago now, I believed there was a reason for everything. I make no judgment about that belief; I don't perceive that as foolish now. As far as beliefs go it's not a bad way to cope with life's struggles. I just don't believe that anymore. I find my comfort in other beliefs. Like trees. Trees make sense.

"A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible." ~Welsh proverb

Monday, September 1, 2014

Some People.

Stumps are trees too.
"When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree you have not seen them all." 
~Edward O. Wilson

I think the same would apply to people, don't you? I hope you think so too. Because, thankfully, someone

eventually steps up,
steps in,
sees it differently and says so,
says what needs to be said,
says enough,
shuts down negativity,
reminds us, "not everything is about you,"
finally says what everyone was thinking,
finally cuts through the crap,
takes the lead (and inspires several other someones),
takes the time to actually listen,
squeezes our shoulders just when we need a bit of courage,
lets in all the fresh air so everyone can breathe again,
is vulnerable enough to be honest,
admits to being wrong,
takes responsibility (even when someone else probably should),
forgives it all,
smiles,
says yes or says no,
as needed,
and both are absolutely right.

Someone
(you might not even suspect)
changes everything,
changes me,
changes you,
changes us all.

Are you someone?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

No.

The sad news on my TV last night. 
Sorry dude. There is absolutely no defense for this. Guns are never toys and 9-year-olds handling uzis or AK-47s are victims, never sanctioned, never warranted, never okay.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fill your boots?

Fill your boots lately?

Well you should. If this phrase reminds you of those kid days when it seemed somehow quite necessary and important to trek into giant mud puddles just to test how far you could go before your boots were filled, that is not really what I mean. (Although that is fun too.) Instead, I refer to blogger Jules Sherred's recent research into Canadianisms which introduced me to my new favourite phrase: fill your boots.

Sherred's research highlights some mostly Canadian words and phrases I expected including toque (100% Canadian), homo milk, keener and the infamous (?) hoodie vs kangaroo jacket vs bunny hug debate. But along with a few words and phrases I didn't realize were Canadian (bachelor apartment, pencil crayon, freezies, pablum, stagette and oddly, texas mickey) there was one of Irish origin that I'd never heard and it did to me exactly as promised: it filled my boots.

Not to be confused with "big boots to fill" either, according to my pea-brained research, "fill your boots" means several things:
1. Literally put your feet in your boots and get going!
2. "Get busy." "Tackle this task." "Overcome this obstacle."
3. "Whatever floats your boat." aka "Whatever creams your coffee."
4. "Take as much as you want." aka "Help yourself." aka "Be my guest."
5. "Go for it, if it makes you happy."

According to Sherred, one in three Canadians typically use this phrase. I want to increase that, therefore, I propose that you learn to love this phrase too. Think of it like your motivation mantra. Maybe a metaphor for encouragement. Or better yet: permission to be inspired (and inspire others). Use it as a your catch phrase catalyst for positive thinking. Why? Because when you boil that phrase down it highlights two necessities in life:
1. Partake with gusto.
2. Get bigger boots as needed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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