Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Point B

When I was a kid, one of my favourite plot points in the original Star Trek was when they used the transporter: "Beam me up, Scotty." 

That sci-fi technology was a seed-starter in my childhood imagination's soil. Nearly 50 years later, I still yearn for the experience of teleporting from one location to another. Don't we all? It would be so damned convenient and save so much precious time. 

But now, at this oldish man life stage, I think about something else: the disassembling and reassembling aspect of the transporterthe weightless notion that in seconds I could become pixels, disappear, and then reappear in a better future without even a nod to that in-between spacea complete escape. 

Older now, I know this in-between space all too well, this liminal space, this threshold between past and futureit is not weightless and it won't be ignored. Unlike Star Trek, life affords few effortless escapes. A guy can get stuck in between.  

Sure, sometimes we might not even attend to this in-between space, might not even notice it, or conversely, consciously court the in-between to help us live in the present, ignoring past troubles and future worries. But let's be honest: we grown humans struggle to live in the present.  

Unlike Star Trek, in between life's point A and point B there is lots of waiting, wishing, and wondering. Transitions can be hell. And what's disassembled at A is never quite reassembled so well by the time we reach B. If you've ever had to put down a pet you know what I mean and there are 100 other just-have-to-get-through-it-experiences. 

Although everyday life has little in common with Star Trek's idealistic transporter, dear friends, please hang on: perhaps Point B is out there, somewhere? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Subtle, Canadian Tire, real subtle.

Canadian Tire stores have served Canadians for over 100 years now, overflowing with any sort of hardware you'd ever need. 

Well, "need" might be inaccurate word-choice. 

So why has Canadian Tire become obsessed with massive display objects and humongous lawn and garden statues? Are people really jonesing for a nearly life-sized lawn dinosaur or say, a garden astronaut? 

Canadian Tire seems to think so. And is spectacle really a lucrative marketing strategy? 

Wait a minute. I took a photo and blogged about it here. I just answered my own question, didn't I? 

*facepalm* As Spongebob would say, "all I know is fine dining and breathing." 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

That Time

That time it was my granddaughter's third birthday and she and her Pops (me) got to spend the entire day with each other:

  1. Before she left for work, her Mom made us morning birthday smoothies. Yum! 
  2. Our new 3-year old asked for cereal for breakfast. 
  3. We played Velcro catch.
  4. Her Dad played the piano and we ate a few (begged-for) left-over Easter bunny treats.
  5. Dance Party! The only song she approved was Taylor Swift's Lavender Haze, the Remix and "no pics, POPS, just dancing!" (I got one pic.)
  6. Next she chose a movie: The Fantastic Mr. Fox (aptly named, but her Pops still fell asleep for nearly 30 minutes). 
  7. We had pancakes with peanut-butter and strawberries for lunch.
  8. We opened ONE of her presents (a balancing game I knew she'd love), and when the pieces fell over she laughed and said, "nana nana boo boo" so we named this new game, "Nana Nana Bonk Bonk." We played it 1207 times.
  9. (There may have been one little time out that involved her little brother. Oops.)
  10. Outside on the deck we blew 1207 bubbles and she tried to catch each one. 
And this was only half the day! To quote Taylor Swift, dear M "I love you bigger than the whole sky." 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Let's be honest

When the oh-so-precious wifi craters (Gollum reference intended) and an Internet technician is unable to visit your home until after the weekend, one must pretend it's last century and make a puzzle. 

Let's be honest: puzzle-making is delightful. 

Plus, as you likely know, puzzle-making is such good exercise for our brains: visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory and cognitive load flexing, problem-solving, concentration, flow state, stress-relief....

Dear friends, do a jigsaw puzzle; stop procrastipuzzling. (Sorry.)

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Some people, eh?

Two powerful images from my day:

  • outside my living room window, a grandfather walking hand-in-hand with his toddler grandchild, following the boy's pace, both wearing matching orange toques.
  • a nurse holding hands with an elderly man as he navigated the hospital hallway with his cane. 
Real heroes? Good examples aren't that hard to find. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Either way, delish.

Coconut Ginger Scones
Scone pronunciation debate: I say scone 
rhymes with Post Malone, not Elton John.
But who cares? Either way, delish. 
I make scones now. Why? Honestly: baking makes me happy. 

It reminds me of travels to heavenly little bakeries and coffee shops in Edinburgh, Galway, London, Montreal and more. And that bakery smell? C'mon. It connects me to friends who bake, people I admire, creatives I want to emulate. It's mindful; it helps me achieve flow. It shifts my mind from melancholy. It makes me simultaneously smile and feel nervous: in baker form I'd say my inner critic is more Swedish Chef than Gordan Ramsay but who knows who will show up? It's sensory: I know when the dough feels ideal for baking and that dopamine-hit-moment is niiiiiiccce. It's creative and lets me communicate something I was never properly taught how to be (but want to be): a nurturer. It feels great to share baking with others: people damn near melt. Baking spreads love. 

Dear friends, I suggest you make scones. 

Honestly, they're dead easy: especially here in Canada (during Winter). I realized early in my scone-making how important cold butter is to the recipe's success. So, in a nod to my grandparents and this country I love, I freeze my butter outside my back door (no metaphor intended), plus I chill the batter out there too (again, no metaphor). Not in Canada or a weirdo? Just use your freezer. And if not scones, bake whatever salts your butter (metaphor intended). 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter & set outside the back door (or place in the freezer)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (substitute heavy cream or milk, if preferred)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Set aside
  • 1&1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger (or equivalent chopped fresh ginger)
  • (substitute chocolate chips, berries, nuts, dried fruit, spices, lemon zest, etc.)
Combine ingredients
  • add frozen butter to dry ingredients and combine using two forks or your fingers until partially integrated
  • drizzle wet ingredients and mix by hand until it comes together (sticky more than shaggy)
  • add 1&1/2 cups coconut & ginger (or substitute) and mix; avoid overmixing
  • if needed, add more coconut milk or flour to make dough more sticky than shaggy
  • press dough into an 8-inch disk and set outside back door to chill (or refrigerate)
To bake
  • cut 8 inch dough disc into 8 wedges
  • brush with coconut milk & sprinkle on brown sugar
  • bake in pre-heated oven at 400 for 20-26 minutes 

Sunday, February 18, 2024


"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


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. 

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