Monday, September 26, 2011

Solving Life's Mysteries

You fellow bloggers and readers are so good to me. Thank you. And you. And you. And you. And you too. And also you. And most recently, you for inviting me to share seven of my posts in these categories:

1. A beauty of a post. (Irony intended.)
2. A popular post.
3. A controversial post. (My wife still doesn't know.)
4. A helpful post.
5. A surprisingly successful post.
6. I chose a total dud of a post instead of a post that deserves more attention.
7. A post I am proud of.

I tend to resist doing this sort of thing. It feels awkward. My rewards are truly the posts you share with me (and the world) every day. That's what I need instead. Your words help me with all my struggles, ongoing and temporary. You are my escape and my therapy. You are like the Hardy Boys series I read when I was a kid (minus the racism). I couldn't wait for the next book to arrive in the mail. But instead you come to my laptop almost everyday. With pictures. And insight. And hilarity. And swear words.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things one should never outgrow:

Saturday Night Live!

I've been watching since forever. The Church Lady. The Motivational Speaker. The Spartan Cheerleaders. Mary Katherine Gallagher. The Lemon Sisters. So many.

Sure, some skits tank but oftentimes it's quite obvious that being an SNL writer is one sweet job. I wonder: what will Kristen Wiig and Alec Baldwin do next?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wordfuse (Itchin' Edition)

rant + antsy = rantsy (adjective): anxious, apprehensive, or jittery to a degree that one can barely repress the desire to criticize, disparage or down-right slam someone who so needs it (aka bite one's tongue while the asshole at the table blathers on ad nauseum).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Things that are most likely the devil:

About the size of quarters.
*visualizes one frying right through my tongue*
Look carefully at these tiny peppers? Does anyone recognize them?

My wife grew them but she can't remember what they're called. They look innocent but I am convinced they are irrefutably evil. We all know that the smaller the pepper, the hotter the pepper. We think they might be habaneros. We're afraid. Very afraid. Mostly because of the time my wife wiped her nose after chopping jalapenos and had to shove her face in an ice bath.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hardest Hue to Hold

A happy family?
Caution: I'm in a serious mood.

I love this photo. The young woman is my Grandmother. It's probably 1945, early Spring. She's in her early twenties. The child on the bike is my Mom. The little boy pointing is her older brother.

Don't they look carefree? Don't they look happy? This is a photo of a happy family.

Or is it? Sometimes it takes 40 years to learn a lesson.

My Grandmother gave me this photo about five years ago. I scanned all her photos and feel privileged to have them. As far as I know, she gave them only to me. It's the special sort of relationship we have. It's a special bond we have.

At first, I dismissed this photo seeking the close-ups in Grandma's collection. But then I returned to it and noticed how beautifully it told a story. My Grandma's easy-going nature seems evident to me in the way she uses just one hand to balance her toddler daughter on that adult bike. My mother's characteristic determination seems evident already. Who or what is my uncle pointing at? Is something tied to the bike functioning like a sled? Who snapped the photo?

Not my Grandfather. As I understand it, he was still stationed in Montreal at the time, doing his part in World War 2.

I need to ask my Grandmother all these questions. Before it's too late.

And yet, what does it really matter?

This is not a photo of a happy family. I'm finally realizing the myth of the happy family. Sure, my Grandma's little family looks happy in this photo but she must have been missing her husband, she must have been tired of raising demanding kids alone. Plus I know the future for this family. Both my Mom and her as yet unborn sister would be pregnant teen brides. My uncle would die before he turned 40. And his son would die before he turned 40. Many tears yet to shed.

When I struggle with being a good father and a good husband and a good man, I think I must learn to remember the myth of the happy family. My little family has had so many happy years. So many blessings. Naively, I assumed that would always be. I should have remembered Robert Frost's caution: "nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold."

There are no happy families. No one is perfect. Nothing lasts forever. Like my Grandmother's photo, there are only happy family moments. And some days, I take what I can get.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Things that deserve the stink eye:

left-over Kraft Dinner.

Does anyone eat left-over KD? A quick comfort-food staple in Canada, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is loved by teens and it's the perfect cheap food for University students. It's also reputed to cure hangovers. But the next day?

The next day I'd say it's more like crapt dinner.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Little Things

The green icing is in
honour of the
Saskatchewan Roughriders.
It's just a good day when an unexpected cupcake gift appears. Especially when said cupcake is hiding marshmallow fluff and whipped cream inside.

Yup. That's the kind of day I had. How was yours?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Guess what this is.

I don't know why I find this contraption so awesome. It folds up and voila, it's a cane! It folds down and voila, it's a stool! It's ergonomicomical!

It assists with mobility issues and also provides a handy-dandy seat once you've finally shuffled to your destination. Yet it looks too rickety to perch on. Imagine this cane-seat thingamajig's backstory.

I think what makes this multi-functional design so intriguing for me is because it strongly suggests character. As an acting assignment, I'd love to design a character around this prop. I'm visualizing someone who wouldn't hesitate to use this doodad for an unintended function, like a weapon perhaps? or a crowd-disperser?

So who's the character? I think I have the perfect idea: meet Irene.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Things one should never outgrow:

Thanks Will & Treena.
finding the perfect skipping stone down at the river on a perfect Sunday afternoon in September...and then -----a----a---a--a

Saturday, September 10, 2011


A balloon let go.
Maybe it's all the 9/11 tributes?

Because they keep punching me in the stomach.

So I can't stop thinking about broken hearts. And broken people.

My heart's been broken three times. None were romantic relationships. I've never talked about the first one. It was like being a balloon on a string. Someone let go. That made me the man I am, but not the man I chose to be. Still, that old lingering scar makes me wistful sometimes. But as the saying goes, "courage strengthens at the wound."

The second time my heart broke wasn't any easier. It hurt more. Way more. And it was my biggest mistake. But I was young. Time has helped me see that experience with clarity. I realize now that if her death broke my heart, it smashed her mother's heart, her father's heart, her sister's. I had my whole life ahead of me to heal.

And I did heal. Thanks to friends. But more thanks to my wife.

Yet it still lingers too. And that's the rub: the lingering. There's a poem I love:

A heart that has been broken
by Maureen Owen
A heart that has been broken
has a tiny hinge
And when it happens a
second or third time
it just
swings open & shut
like a gate

I know I'm not to harden my heart. I mustn't lock the gate. But I sure slam it shut sometimes for fear of everything deflating.

And the third broken heart? It hurts most of all. I can't imagine it being worse.

But I've eyes in my head. I know life could be worse. And when that sounds like bullshit even to me (and it certainly seems that way right now), it's what I keep on loop in my head to help me forgive. Mostly myself.

Yes, things could be much worse. In my life, even as a Canadian far far from ground zero, 9/11 trumps all the suffering. Devastated, I watched it live before I went to work that morning. Then I steeled myself to do my job. And now, I steel myself again. And yet try to remain open-hearted too. It's just so damn hard.

I would never compare my struggle with anything the 9/11 families and New Yorkers have endured. But I do find solace in their stories. Their rising up. Their survival.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Sometimes I wonder who is trying to send me the message I didn't know I needed.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Things that deserve the stink eye?

This deserves the stink-eye. Literally.
I noticed this message scratched into a bathroom stall in Edmonton recently.

I don't usually reflect much on bathroom stall art but this didn't seem like the usual dubious-anatomy-with-a-phone-number-attached sort of thing commonplace to men's bathroom stalls. And plus I, uh, had to remain there for a while so....

Anyway, I can't decide if the graffiti artist
a. intended viewers to experience a peaceful zen-like moment hidden away in a quiet (?) bathroom far from the busy goings-on elsewhere or
b. intended viewers to, uh, more carefully attend to the typical pffft, plop, whiz, whoosh and other such public bathroom onomatopoeia or
c. is just an impulsive vandal or some sort of Banksy wannabe or
d. frick, I don't know (why can't I stop thinking all the time?!)

Or speaking of Banksy, maybe it has something to do with this?

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Apple Dunne [doon-eh].
It tastes better than it looks.
(I'm not much of a food stylist.)
Thank you Alistair!

I haven't deep fried chocolate bars yet but thanks to my long lost Scottish brother from another mother, I now know how to create dunne


Oh yeah. Uh huh. I am now the king of my kitchen bitches.

Just one problem: the recipe only used six apples.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

15 Minutes

Image from here.
Need a new motto? Just wait 15 minutes.

Everyday, we are confronted with stress. How should we handle it? Well, maybe we should just wait 15 minutes. Before making a rash decision or a snap judgment, some people apparently wait 15 minutes to determine how they feel or how to react.

It might possibly be genius.

Consider the scenarios. When craving sugar, simply wait 15 minutes for the urge to subside. When angry, simply wait 15 minutes and cool down. When the alarm jolts you awake, simply sleep for 15 more minutes. When someone in your family is banging on the bathroom door, continue showering for 15 minutes. When the phone rings, wait 15 minutes. Yes, the more I think about this, the more I like it.

Seriously though, I have wanted to experiment with this notion and determine if it does indeed work but there’s one problem: I forget. 

Every time I plan to test this theory, I forget. When my teens were screeching and arguing with each other recently, I decided to wait 15 minutes and let them sort it out themselves. So I waited. One minute…two minutes…three hours later I suddenly remembered the experiment. I had forgotten yet again. Doh!

Duh! It was then I realized that is precisely the point. If you don't have a clue what I mean, don't worry, just wait 15 minutes.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Sometimes books even make me dream about them.

This book is completely freaking me out. In a terrifyingly good way. That is not to say that it's a horror story. It's not. And yet it sure feels like one. Chapter 1 makes you ache; chapter 2 punches you in the gut. I can't fathom what's going to happen and I can't wait to keep reading.

And that's all I'm going to say. You know what to do.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Things one should never outgrow:

new toys, even ones that don't yet exist.

I discovered this new word: reverb. I love this word. Defined, reverb is to cause to rebound or echo. Now here's the part I love. You probably already know this but apparently there are a variety of machines that allow musicians to manipulate acoustic sounds and patterns to make digital echoes. They instantly create their own reverb orchestra. It's like what KT Tunstall does with her famous song. Watch her feet:

I want this machine. But not for music. For life.

Imagine the words, and phrases and conversations one could save, return to and play with. Splice together. Be surrounded by. I want a way to reverb and revisit the music of my life. My missed life. My unrecorded life. My lost memories.

Maybe someone singing to herself in the other room. Maybe guitar riffs from another. Maybe Christmas morning kids. Maybe a soft loving whisper. Maybe what turned out to be the last phone call. And especially this: my Dad's voice again.
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