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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Pull

"The Murder Hole" at 
Blarney Castle, Ireland

Last summer while visiting Ireland, my wife and I were delighted that we did not skip what we thought might be a more cliché than must-see tourist destination: Blarney Castle. Sparsely attended thanks to a classic Irish rainy day, we adored the poison gardens, the secret caves, and the unexpected "murder hole," a nod to historical warfare both menacing and macabre—likewise, a nod to Irish mettle. Who knew Blarney Castle would feature so many ways to die? 

But that's life isn't it? In the middle of all the immense beauty is a hidden and worrisome murder hole. 

Today I recall a favourite story: the young elephant whose trainer tied his leg to a post. This act restrained the young elephant's development, curiosity, and freedom. His world shrank to the circumference of that rope. Despite multiple escape efforts, he was stuck. Years ticked away. The young elephant, now grown, remained confined by that small rope—by that embedded ideology—unaware he had the strength to pull that rope and post out of the ground, unaware he had the power to roam freely, to live unencumbered. 

There's an abundance of ropes in our lives, unexpected and deadly dangers, various things preventing us from living fearlessly. But mindset is a rope, my friends. Don't give up. Pull. Pull. Pull.

"One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Camus

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Things one should never outgrow:

Click here to read more about
the above tragedy.
How did I not know about ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST DAY?! Apparently, it's TODAY (the first Saturday in February) and as I write this, IT IS CURRENTLY PAST 4 PM. 

I feel like Eeyore. 

Nevertheless, I recall Eeyore's famous words, "This is bullshit."

Truth be told, let's be honest, even perhaps (dare I say?) woke. Capitalism invented all of these and other types of days to sell us something and exploit us mercilessly and I am absolutely here for this particularly delicious and hopefully chocolate instance. Why? Because ice cream is the answer to all life's problems. Am I right?

Therefore, my friends, I wish you ice cream for breakfast TOMORROW, or for supper tonight (a great idea) or whenever. Scoop, there it is! 

(P.S. Thanks to Kathy G for inspiring my alarm, and this blogpost.)

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

this sad (Calvin & Hobbes-like) snowman.

The neighbour kidsthose adorable little Oilers fansassembled a snowman, but climate change is why we can't have nice things anymore. It was 15 degrees Celsius in parts of Alberta yesterday (!) thus, his head fell off, as did his scarf, arms, and carrot nose (zoom in).

Years ago I would have rejoiced at another Alberta chinook, but the extreme temperatures this January are unprecedented. Sigh. It neared -50 C in Alberta just two weeks ago. As I look forward to real Spring, I wonder about drought and fires and smoke. You're not alone if you too feel the climate anxiety, or solastalgia, a term new to me, but so 2020s. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Three!

Happy New Year (baby)!
Our third grand baby has arrived! 
I love being Grandpops to 
plus that little one in the stroller 
on the right: welcome baby girl I. 


Monday, January 1, 2024

Fave Reads 2023

My reading criteria remains the same as last yearthe shorter the better. Nevertheless, several longer books captured me this year. 

All my life, books have been my life-is-a-classroom seat-partner, ally, playmate, collaborator, pal, and sidekick. I can rely on them. They both calm my tendency to overthink and stir or stretch my thinking. I feel a little lost when they are absent. Perhaps among these faves is your newest companion? 

You might think
you know her story...
She never
wanted to be a 
pop star. I was
in Ireland reading
her unflinching,
humble, brazen 
life story when
she died.  This memoir
felt like a gift. 
Read more here. 


It's so beautifully-
written. It's as if it
were written all at
once by someone
with a broken heart.
An Irish girl
unlocks love from
grief and no one
is ever the
same again. 



A farmer friend asked
me to read this. The
title made me reluctant.
But this modest,
nostalgic and somewhat
broken young farmer
reminded me how
fragile non-corporate
agriculture actually
is in the 2020s, and also
how vital. Touching
funny, important. 






























Like her other book,
(Quiet,
about introversion) 
Susan Cain asserts that
those typically moved
by pain & sorrow often
possess a sharpened 
perspective. Essentially
melancholy might
just be your superpower.
Much-needed in-
sight into 
"limiting" 
(not toxic)
masculinity
and how we boys
are sentenced by
patriarchal norms
into rigid roles
that undermine
becoming loving
and caring men. 
 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Word-of-the-Day

Although apropos, my word-of-the-day calendar seems out of sync with this particular Western-Canadian Winter: it was +4 C today. Climate change much? Yikes. 

And our December thus far? Mostly above zero temps without much snow. So...no skiing. No sledding. No snowmobiling. No fun. 

Yet

So are we Canadians bummed without snow in the Winter? Kind of. However, there's always something to celebrate. For example, those bastards commonly known as Canadian geese are still gone for the Winter whatever the temperature. Thumbs way up. That perk, my friends, is brumal. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Let's be honest...

a chai latte is lit: warm, fragrant, spicy...plus it's even more delicious with my toddler granddaughter (she had a lollipop and we "read" the newspaper together). 

Where's your favourite coffee-shop? What's your signature order? And who's your favourite coffee-shop pal? 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Medicine

(ground) chicken soup
     Thanks to a good friend, my daughter, and my wifeand their kitchen fearlessnessI can now make a delicious chicken soup. It's pretty easy: I think the secret is the right combo of garlic and ginger. 
     So why was I intimidated? Probably because chicken soup has a legendary reputation: it's basically medicine, right? And we all need some medicine occasionally, especially at this time of the year. As winter here redraws the landscape white and shades the sky grey most days, we must find our medicines where we can, in the kitchen and otherwise. 
     Poet e.e. cummings described Winter as a "murderer" standing over a "snowstopped silent world." Yikes. There might not be enough chicken soup in the world for that mindset. As a Canadian in the North, I can appreciate, even respect Winter, but sometimes it messes with my mindset: ongoing darkness, roadway stress, vague dis-ease. 
     Yet my worrisome Winter mindset is just that: one perspective. It's reframe-able. It's the difference between distress and eustress. I find this language helpful. As you know, distress is longer-term stress with negative impacts, like a break-up, financial problems, or work-demands; but eustress is short-term and beneficial stress, like moving to a new community, or flying for the first time, or learning something newit helps motivate us, builds character, inspires growth.
     If only the words themselves made it that easy, eh? Although the distinction provides perspective, too much snow can be less of an opportunity to go sledding down a steep hill and more of just much too much snow. Sigh. 
     Dear friends, I encourage you to consider how you react to the snow, (inevitable struggle) and to make, or find your medicine where you can.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

More, please.

Every child matters. 
Each year I see more people in my community wearing orange shirts. Plus, Manitoba just elected Canada's first First Nation premier, Wab Kinew. I am so tired of people who ignore or make excuses for Canada's appalling history toward Indigenous peoples. 

Progress. More, please. 


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