Thursday, December 31, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Sometimes signs are wrong. Almost always there's an exit. Exit 2015. Enter 2016. Isn't the entrance strategy more important anyway?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fave Reads 2015

Dumbledore said that he never had enough socks because people typically gave him books for Christmas. Not a bad problem to have. What were your favourite reads this year?

For creatives of any age, 
this storybook features an idea 
who wants to play. My pun is
only somewhat intentional
when I say it's quite ideological.

This refugee memoir speaks 
to the power of just a few
carefully-chosen words. 
I wonder what Canada's
newest immigrants will 
remember and write?

Another storybook, a bit dark some say.
Yet it inspires a dog and a rat to
think deeply about death and about
how to move forward. And it is sure
to open up conversations about things
we all struggle to verbalize.
Strange and sad and sick.
McCarthy's characters
are so many things at once
and never forgettable. 
Quick insights into human 
behaviour that inspire thinking 
and more importantly,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:


My wife peeled a pomegranate for me today. In this season of gifts, a small gift can be such a big gift. I hope you receive such gifts as I do.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

exhausting all methods to commercialize and novelty-brand pretty much anything and everything. Unnecessary. See bottled water.

And in December, it really ramps up, doesn't it? As comedian Jim Gaffigan says, "everyone has the unspoken agreement that what happens in December, stays in December."

Well said Jim. Which is why I should never have mentioned this.

Nevermind. Carry on.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Driving in the early morning Northern Alberta darkness last Friday, I hit a deer.

I'd say five trotted out of the ditch all at once; there was no way to avoid it. It bounced onto the hood of my car and then slipped off to the side to remain on the highway.

Despite that initial shock, I felt oddly calm.

This happens often where I live. Everyone I know who chooses to share this big beautiful Alberta wilderness with wildlife has one or even two of these stories to tell.

One person stopped immediately; I expected a stranger but it was a friend. She listened politely as I rambled on. My car seemed relatively unscathed but it was definitely not safe to be on the side of the highway even with our flashers blinking so I urged her to go on her way. I jumped back in my car to let someone past but instead someone else stopped, also a friend. She gave me a hug. We talked briefly. After a semi-trailer blew by us like a slap in the face, I urged her to travel on to work.

I still hadn't had an opportunity to actually go look at the deer. Honestly, I was avoiding it. Before I could, another driver stopped and in that morning dark I saw him grab something from the back of his truck, a shovel. He pushed the deer off the road and then came over to my car. A stranger, I shook his hand and thanked him for that. At least the road would be safe for drivers again. He said there's only one problem: the deer was still alive.

The calm drained out of me.

I thanked him again so he left and then it was just the two of us waiting for the sun to rise on that warm December morning, one alive, one dying.

Or maybe both? Not me, this time. I called Alberta Fish & Wildlife and was told someone was already traveling in the area and that he would euthanize the animal. My calm mostly returned but there was another feeling too.

The entire incident from collision to conclusion? Fifteen minutes. Although the repair bill will be costly, my car is drive-able. I'm alive and uninjured. It could have been much worse. At least for me. I even arrived to work on time. That's why something about this whole thing feels too easy.

Brandon Mull wrote "luck has a way of evaporating when you lean on it." I've think I've been leaning on luck, and luck is something I don't much believe in. Because if I did, then I'd probably learn nothing from this lesson about strangers, about mercy, about myself, and about every other ordinary extraordinary day when everything I touched, lived.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Just so you know, the answer is no.

When you can't even can't even for one more minute, should you give up?

Okay. Maybe sometimes the answer is indeed yes. And yet...I have no idea what this toy is supposed to do. But when I noticed it stuck in the ice and gravel along the pavement the other day, it said one thing to me: determination.

Despite what it's endured since some child lost it, this plastic figure continues to do the victory pose.

Okay you little shit piece of plastic: if you can do it, so can I. (And so can you.)

Friday, December 4, 2015


Everyone has a dark(ish) side. Even me. Sure, I’m a nice guy. Almost always. Someone actually gave me this advice once: “you’re too nice.” Well well. There are worse things to be accused of, so I have chosen to live with that diagnosis. Yet, as with everyone, my dark side surfaces. It lifts its furrowed head and looks around. And what does it see?


Let me explain. People claim that true selves emerge in trying circumstances. Like in a disaster. Like when threatened with death. Like when faced with a grizzly, or a very large snake or a massive tax-bill or especially a turkey. (Sorry. That last example is a little more science-ish than science.) According to real science, there is truth to this reactive behaviour. During calm, we typically manage our lives using the frontal lobe, the rational decision-making portion of the brain. However, during great threat, the amygdala, the small inner core of the brain, trumps all rational thinking and instead, we act based on intense emotion: fight, flight, or freeze. This is designed to save our lives but yet also ruin our lives, because well, idiots idiot things up.

So when does the amygdala transform us into idiots? Is it when our grandparents ask us to fix their computers? Is it when surveys are requested during supper? Is it when our phones are missing? All of the above. And more. Quite honestly, we’ve all lost our shit here and there and that one time at that family reunion. Ahem. But I digress.

My amygdala typically gets rage-y when I’m driving. It’s emotional. People cut you off. They don’t always remember their signal lights. They drive too slowly. So no offence but I probably called you an idiot. I’m not the only one though. See, I conducted an official math(ish) poll and it turns out that literally seven out of ten people also think you drivers are idiots. You do not want to know what the other three people called you.

Hmm. I discovered yesterday that I’ve been driving with only one headlight. I wonder what you called me?

See? Everyone does have a dark(ish) side.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pass it on.

I will. I promise. 
There was a knock. But no one was there. Instead, this, on my doorstep.

Everyone should live in a neighbourhood like mine.

(Directions for a good life: pass it on.)

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Sometimes one sentence says so much. And no period is needed because it won't stop anyway.

Sometimes it's hard to think about anything but that one thing that's missing.

Sometimes all the wonders can be overwhelming.

Sometimes blank paper invites the deepest conversations we have with ourselves.

Sometimes, if I listen carefully, I can hear the past run up the stairs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015


I remember thinking she was really thin. Pale too. Sickly? There was something else too. And then the cashier asked her for like, $36.74, and when she kindly joked that she wanted to pay with spare change, I suddenly realized who she was: my Mom.

Well, not really my Mom because my mother died last year. Yet this woman was the right age and the right build and the right look. Plus she wore a hat, definitely function over fashion, just like my Mom did. And she wasn’t joking. Despite the four other people in line, she was determined to use all her coins. And so she counted them out: toonies, loonies, quarters, dimes, nickels. Just like my Mom would do sometimes. And it was kind of funny. And also annoying. Especially when she realized she didn’t have enough change so she inquired if she could pay the difference with her debit card. Distracted by this little spectacle, this little gift of something like a memory that seemed to be somehow entirely made for me, my impatience faded and I smiled and positioned myself fully in the moment. I suspect everyone else in that cashier’s line seethed but I was tickled to see her again if only in the form of a stranger.

I know how memory works. Science says this experience is the type of memory triggered by recognition. In other words, something familiar unconsciously triggers recall and when this happens we live in the then and the now, sort of straddling two worlds, a sort of re-imagination rather than a remembering.

I like that. I like that there’s a diary inside us all, a journal we can never quite read the same way twice. And life, like a gust of wind, sometimes opens it quite unexpectedly. And when it opens, it loosens, it undoes, it unfurls, it unwinds, it airs. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

All. One.

In response to terrorism, I saw this simple but sad and profound sign: “humans, but no humanity.” When people forget their humanity, I say, start with the dictionary. Humanity (noun) can be defined four ways:

1. All human beings collectively; the human race; humankind.
The key word here is ALL. I’ll say it again. ALL.

2. The quality or condition of being human; human nature.
After becoming wheel-chair bound due to Multiple Sclerosis, my Grandmother came to live with us for a while. Losing much of her mobility and her independence, she seemed understandably bitter at times, but when she pushed through her struggles, she gave me drawing lessons. Human nature balances somewhere between selfishness and altruism but it always tips toward the right thing. Thankfully. Unlike animals, we humans have a moral predisposition and scorn violence and contempt. Except when we forget. See history.

3. The quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence.
I missed the bus in Grade 1 once. A Grade 6 girl waited with me while my Mom drove to town. She sat very close to me, quietly. I don’t recall her name but when my Mom finally arrived, a Popsicle in her hand, I ran to greet her and quite honestly, I doubt if I even glanced back to thank that girl for essentially being my family while I sat and cried on the front steps of our school for thirty minutes. We were strangers but kindness and benevolence prevailed. As it should. When we don’t forget.

4. The humanities: the study of languages, literature, Latin and Greek classics, philosophy, art, etc., as distinguished from the natural sciences.
I have always found my heart and my truth in stories and in writing and in art. I believe it’s our ability to read and to write and to draw that leads to understanding, to wisdom, to action. One of my early literature obsessions was Shel Silverstein. He said, “Many leaves, one tree.” The key here is ONE. I’ll say it again. ONE. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Chicken, out.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Good question, because I hit it with my car on my way to work.

The whole thing took seconds but I recall everything in slow motion. I saw that prairie chicken emerge from the grass at the side of the road. Like all those Roadrunner cartoons I watched on repeat as a kid, its back legs spun like wheels, its neck extended as forward as possible, so fixated, so intent on reaching its destination, like any moment it might catapult like a missile.

Despite some part of me cheering it on, I knew what was imminent because that chicken was simply too far from that elusive other-side-of-the-road. Why the rush chicken? Why did you need to cross the road at that precise time? Were you being chased by Wile E. Coyote? Was an anvil about to drop from somewhere? What’s on the other side? An important meeting? A manicure? The pub? A KFC protest? Who knows, because even though that prairie chicken reached the center line (narrowly avoiding an oncoming truck)...boom: feathers. Chicken, out.

Sorry chicken.

Later at work, I pulled it out of my grill and threw it in a dumpster. Now that’s a bummer of a Friday.

I must say there are things we can all learn from that chicken. We all recognize the meaning behind “running around like a chicken with your head cut off,” and yet, based on this incident, I can tell you that even with his head attached that chicken looked super frazzled. Peeps, getting from point A to point B shouldn’t be so stressful. Just what is SO IMPORTANT on the other side of the road?

Not much. Most of what we worry about never happens. But stress (the result of an overloaded nervous system repeating "imminent threat imminent threat") compels us to believe the best time to cross the road and get to the other side (whatever that may mean to each of us) is yesterday. Some would argue against this vehemently, but let’s be honest: we all have the same amount of time every day. Until suddenly, we don’t. So if you get my meaning, slow down chickens. Slow down.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Why the fuss Canadians?

When asked why he chose equal numbers of men and women to form his cabinet, PM Justin Trudeau said, “Because it’s 2015.”

Boom. Pretty much the equivalent of dropping the mic.

Not all Canadians appreciate this. But I can’t fathom why. If it’s because of sexism, whether willful or through pure ignorance, that’s total bunk. Anyone who has a mother should be ashamed of themselves for that sort of patriarchal nonsense. Personally, I think this decision is a moot point. It doesn’t matter where anyone is on the political spectrum, there is no point debating this. Any debate speaks to bias and sexism because any Canadian citizen age 18 or over, male or female, of a particular race or religion, immigrant or indigenous, ALL PERSONS, have the right to run for elected office. Ever hear of the “Famous Five”? Or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Since 1960. (Go ahead and google it; the history of this is dreadful.) So 55 years later, why is this even a thing?

For those who contend that he chose gender over qualifications or experience like some political publicity stunt, I doubt that, because puh-lease, do people really think there aren't 15 women capable of these leadership roles? Even if some lack experience, it doesn’t mean he chose the wrong people. For eons we’ve had qualified/unqualified, experienced/inexperienced, predominantly male politicians who’ve misrepresented their constituents and our country in numerous and appalling ways. See the Senate for several recent examples. And no, of course, not all are corrupted by power, but definitely a few too many. Anyone, regardless of gender can be nominated, be elected, and be really shitty at their jobs. We Canadians have that right too.

Justin Trudeau could also have answered that question this way: “Because it’s my choice.” It was and it is because Canadians elected him. That’s democracy and despite its misgivings, when I look around the world, I don’t see government better than democracy. So considering it’s November, let’s pause for a moment of silence and reflect on why we have a democracy. And let’s remember how fortunate we are to live where we live. 

Friday, October 23, 2015


Is that a murse?!

My new man purse is getting a lot of attention. And by a lot of attention I mean like three, maybe four people have mentioned it (aka called me on it) so this is probably irrelevant and I’m just embarrassing myself again but that’s never stopped me before so SO-CALLED friend even went so far as to completely throw me under the macho bus when he (and his mocking smile) shared this uncalled-for tidbit: “Let’s get real. It’s not a murse, it’s a purse.”

Whoa. Haters gonna hate. Oddly, I've been using a murse for over a decade and until now, in the reaction department, crickets. Sure, people have mentioned it in the past occasionally, whether to tease me or to determine if I have food in there. It’s been during those rare instances when I actually remember that it may be somewhat out of the ordinary. Only then do I wonder, is there something wrong with using a murse?  

Unless it’s donuts or a cake, I don’t notice what other people carry around, male or female. Honestly, I never really thought about this much. My murse seems practical to me. I need to carry my laptop somehow. My books. Pens. A laser pointer. You know, geek swag. All those things combined won’t fit in my pockets so what else am I supposed to do?

Some of you traditionalists may be thinking, why wouldn’t you carry a backpack instead? A briefcase? Something, anything else? Sure. Those could work. But I prefer a murse. Hands free, it works for me. But here’s the thing: I don’t CALL it my murse. I guess I call it my bag, maybe even shoulder bag (like once, maybe). Why would I bother calling it anything?! It has no personality and it’s not a parakeet.

But now I realize my mistake. Because then this happened during an unprompted mini-debate about my murse: someone rebranded it as a satchel. A satchel? As in Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) had a satchel. So HA haters… MAYBE I HAVE A SWISS ARMY-KNIFE IN THERE! Or a small rattlesnake! OR A LIGHT-SABER (wrong movie, but close enough). OR SOME JAMES BOND GADGET (again the wrong movie, but still.) Or more likely jujubes that I will NEVER SHARE AGAIN. Take that murse-haters. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

home-made chicken soup.

Most would agree that it's a near-perfect comfort food. Unless you're a chicken. And if you are a chicken, well, it's an abomination. Nevertheless, yum.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Worms & dirt donuts? Whoa. Clever.

So why not...French Toast Donuts? Lemon Poppy-seed Donuts? Pop-Tart Donuts? Ice-cream Sundae Donuts? Irish-Cream Donuts? Rice-Krispie Square Donuts?

If you ask me, those are quite deep frideas.


"Treat everyone as if they are carrying a box of donuts." ~Josh Hara

Friday, October 9, 2015

Let's talk turkeys, shall we?

Even though I’m terrified of turkeys, I once read a storybook about a turkey living on a farm. It’s almost Thanksgiving and so naturally, the turkey is a tad worried. While being chased by an axe-wielding farmer, the turkey disguises himself as various other farm animals to avoid the axe. For example, he rolls around in the mud pretending to be a pig. The farmer sees through this and every other one of his ruses but just before the axe can fall, turkey’s farm friends yell, “Run turkey RUN!” Spoiler alert: the turkey manages to dodge the farmer and the family has grilled cheese sandwiches for Thanksgiving.

Three things about this little Thanksgiving yarn:
  1. Grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty great.
  2. Turkeys are idiots.
  3. All turkeys must die.

Okay that last point might be a tad harsh but it’s borne from my hatred for turkeys (at least those not basted with butter, stuffed with bread, and about to be served on a platter with potatoes and carrots). Anyway, here’s something else I think we can all learn from this story:
  1. Thanksgiving is not a turkey. In other words, not every year goes as planned. Be together anyway. Be thankful anyway. Celebrate having enough instead of having more.
  2. If your friends have helped you out, tell them. Go back and tell them. You may never get another chance.
  3. Sometimes the turkey can’t be killed. (Stay with me here.) In other words, chasing those elusive whatevers in our lives may be counterproductive, even futile. Is it really what you want? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate goals. There’s a time to persist and there’s a time to reinvent. And if I’m wrong about this one, if you choose to persist, then go ahead and blow that turkey’s head off.
(If you're a Canuck like me, a happy Thanksgiving to you this weekend!)

Sunday, October 4, 2015


We all tend to forget that the outside is speaking to us. Its language may be deceptively quiet but those whispers linger.

Most people love trees. I do. Sure, they provide the essential oxygen, offer the shade, provide the resources. It’s all vital to survival. But it’s more than that too. People want neighbourhoods with big established trees. We try to save them. Kids love them. They teach us about change. They are reliable. They are resilient. They are potential. They mark our history. The only piece of my childhood home that I still claim is the tree I planted there when I was ten. When we want to remember someone, we plant a tree. (If I were gone tomorrow, I would hope someone plants a tree for me.)

But there’s something else too.

The poet Rilke wrote, “These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.” That’s the feeling I’m thinking about...that feeling of being surrounded by trees...that space among them, it’s alive.

Japanese culture has a word for this: “shinrin-yoku,” which means “forest bathing.” I’m a firm believer that one fantastic word can impact our thinking like, well, like when a tree falls and then everything looks suddenly different. This is one of those words. Picture yourself inside those places in the forest where the trees seem to lean in as if gazing downward as we pass. We all know that feeling. The air cools, the light changes, the scents swell, and there’s a calm. But why is it so calming? Science says the trees bathe us in chemicals they emit to ward off insects and slow the growth of bacteria. Science says when humans are exposed to these chemicals they lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and boost cancer-fighting white blood cell production. Think about that. Literally, trees heal.

Therefore friends...go outside. Forest bathe. Mend yourself if you can. Find some peace. And then be peaceful with others.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sometimes & Something

Sometimes the absolute best thing is a movie. No question. Add popcorn and lots of butter. And a blanket, a pillow, chips, some chocolate. Or in a theatre with a crowd, each and all fixated, the light flickering in our eyes. Sometimes it’s all a person really needs to feel whole again.

So Hollywood! Stop making the same bad movie again and again. Sure, what makes movies great is very subjective and yet I believe that a truly great, unforgettable movie must contain at least ten of the following things:

1.       a surprise
2.       some kissing
3.       a character with lots of good and a little bad too, a character to like and an unlikeable character (and sometimes maybe they switch places)
4.       a laugh out loud moment or a moment that breaks your heart (or both)
5.       something one’s eyes want to hang on to
6.       somewhere and something lovely and somewhere and something loathly
7.       something on fire (but not necessarily any smoke)
8.       something simple, something complex
9.       something to feed or stretch or snap the imagination
10.   some music and sound effects and special effects and when and only when it’s really needed: some silence.
11.   someone’s eyes yelling and someone’s eyes whispering
12.   something to absorb and something to reject
13.   something uncomfortable
14.   someone so so so determined to fix what or whom is broken
15.   something shocking, something soothing (shivers and thumps)
16.   sincerity, honesty, vulnerability
17.   an advance and a retreat, an attack and a surrender
18.   a quotable quote
19.   something that doesn’t belong, something not seen before
20.   a cow but only if there’s a twister too (aka something impossible to forget)
21.   something to think about when it’s over
22.   something to talk about afterwards
23.   a mirror
24.   a mistake…

But mostly,
      25. an unforgettable movie must have a partner to share it with. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Basic landscape. Notice the foreground, the middleground, the background. Picture yourself navigating from birth through life to death like walking through a landscape: further away from one and closer to another, all the while perspective shifting. And suddenly you stop, that horizon line still so far away, or so it seems, and wonder, did I go anywhere at all? Did I achieve anything? Am I lost? Will I ever get there?

Yesterday, I attended a funeral for a lovely woman I did not know particularly well. And yet, she made a strong impression. Yesterday her friends cried, her brother gave a funny and poignant eulogy and, I imagine, her elderly parents felt like they were silently drowning. Two months ago they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with her.

Work colleagues, only periodically did our paths cross. And yet, I noticed she was some of my absolutely favourite things: humble, respectful, witty, encouraging, a good listener. And above all, a dedicated teacher.

The card from her celebration of life reads, "successful is the person who has lived well, laughed often and loved much, who has gained the respect of children, who leaves the world better than they found it, who has never lacked appreciation for the Earth's beauty, who never fails to look for the best in others or give the best of themselves."

Exactly. Imagine our lives are like landscapes. And wouldn't it be something if we painted these little lives with purpose? So someday, when others really examine them, they could use these landscapes to find their own way, to find direction? Now that's a legacy.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

And then Autumn.

Go ahead Autumn:

Slip, flutter, plummet, tumble, dive.

Let leaves leave.

I choose adapt. I choose cope. I choose thanks. Because a starting over is still a starting.

Bring wind. Bring calm. Bring change. Replace past with present. (But let me miss the past a little while too.)

And then Autumn:

Thursday, September 10, 2015


My Dad would be in his late 70s now. I can’t imagine how grumpy he'd be. On a scale of irritated to livid, he was all of them some days in those last several years. (As I age, I aim to avoid grumpy old fart syndrome.) Despite this, there have been times in this last decade when I missed him like a little kid. Which is odd, because as a little kid, I never missed him. He was always working. It’s just the way it was. I saw him at supper time. Sometimes. Occasionally, we would watch TV together. Mostly though, I watched TV while he slept. In my teen years he would take me for a drive. I’m fairly certain now that he was trying to fix something about me because we were absolutely and completely different in almost every way. Plus, I was nothing like his other sons. It worried him. I enjoyed those drives though. And depending on my mood, I learned to do two things: either jack up his blood pressure by broaching taboo topics or just nod so as to avoid disappointing him so much.

In my adult years I learned the mature thing was to steer the subject away from the grumpy stuff. It didn’t always work. Eventually, certain topics were totally banned:
a.       politics
b.      politicians
c.       political ideology
d.      various Fords that had betrayed him.

Not long before he died he and I installed a screen door together and when we finished he said, "There. Now we can quit fighting." That surprised me. Where did he get that idea? We weren't fighting; we were just disagreeing. After thinking about it for a while I realized the truth but I didn’t have the heart to tell him: he was mostly fighting with himself. Despite grumpy periods, my Dad taught me things I still think about and I’m certain he would find it silly and unfortunate which things actually stuck with me:

  • Pepper puts hair on your chest. So does sauerkraut.
  • If you pick your nose and eat it, flies will grow in your stomach. (My favourite.)
  • Women should not be skinny.
  • Travel.
  • Fly.
  • If it’s truly a good Western, at some point a woman should punch a man.
  • You don’t need a drink.
  • You're not as good as your brothers. 
  • A brand new vehicle is probably a waste of money.
  • Insurance is a scam.
  • Don’t be mean to girls.
  • Driving fast is worth the risk.
  • Some people don’t pay their bills but you always will.
  • Give your kids whatever they want.
  • Never let go of your fishing rod.
  • Help your neighbours, even the ones who are idiots.
  • Hard work is all there is.

At least for some of these lessons, thank you Dad. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Things one should outgrow:

fretting about birthdays.

One of my friends turned 50 last week. I watched him interact with all his friends and family; he shared his vodka, ate some cake, played with his granddaughter, told some stories, laughed a lot.

Getting old? So what? No whining. No grumping. Put your mouth guard in a cup with some cleaner, adjust your attitude, and carry on.

"There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you." ~Carol Matthau

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

"Nature is new every morning." -unknown
the possibility that comes with each new day, every little fascinating surprise.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just so you know, the answer is no.

Thanks Mac (& his boss). 
Is there a person on Earth who doesn't secretly want a bobcat?

I like to call them bobcans because let's be honest, there's nothing a bobcan't do. Sorry.

Things I need a bobcat for (in order):
- photo shoots
- dog poop in parks
- floats
- cruising
- things I can't reach
- so I can wear my work boots
- photobombing
- tossing really big rocks
- landscaping
- bobcat-ing stuff

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Shook: (noun) emotionally or physically
disturbed; deeply upset. See above. 
being incapable of going on.

It matters not where it drops whether 5, 10, 638 seconds, whatever; shake off that feeling of powerlessness, pick up your ice cream, and carry on as before!

Aka life.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

Grandma & Teresa. 
our elders.

I admire and respect those who care for people who can no longer care for themselves. It confuses me when others neglect their grandparents and other elders. We are all busy. Yet everything we have is, in some way or another, a gift from before.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Things the deserve the stink-eye:

Thanks neighbours from Nova Scotia!
(And shout out to the Atlantic Ocean too.)
Sure. They're tasty. But ugly. Like nightmare inducing ugly. Ditto lobster. Ditto octopus. Ditto head cheese. Whoa. My brain just combined all these into crab-lobster-octopus head cheese. Sorry.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Letter of Appreciation, Kinda

Dear Parents caring for other people’s adult children:

As you know, many parents have young adults who return home for summer. And yet, we rarely see them. Instead (whether you like it or not) you do.

Firstly, thank you. For feeding them. For cleaning up after them. For loaning them a couch. Speaking of surrogate-type parenting, thanks also to their employers. University/College is expensive and we are grateful they have these jobs. Plus we suspect that you employers are also good guides and mentors. However, unlike you, we cannot pay them to hang out with us (or at least we’d prefer not to).  Thus we are stuck with those rare sightings when they randomly return to shower, or drop off their laundry, recharge something, and then there was that one time when we made bacon and they suddenly appeared.

Sigh. Related to this, my wife and I request a small favour and we thank you in advance. Since you are more likely to encounter our kids, please share any or all of the following questions/reminders whenever you deem it appropriate:
1.  Hey you. I heard you have parents.
2.  And I know for a fact they have Wi-Fi.  
3.  Your parents want to know: what are your thoughts on
a.       Current events?
b.      That latest movies?
c.       Pluto’s adorable heart?
d.      Cheese? (All of the above, pretty much anything, they’re open.)
4.  If they cooked more bacon, would you go home?
5.  Would blackmail work? Because let’s be honest, they know A LOT about your past.
6.  Is another tattoo/piercing really necessary? (Throwing this in there, just in case.)
7.   I’m pretty sure tomorrow is Fathers/Mothers/Parents/Hug-Someone-Who-Shares-Your-DNA/Family Guilt Day.
8.  If a parent texts you in the forest, does it make a sound argument not to text back?
9.  Here’s a picture of your Mother weeping. 
10.  Get out. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All of the above.

I'm pretty sure the dust bunny my wife and I found under the dresser in our bedroom

a. was mere weeks away from sprouting legs.
b. has something to do with Donald Trump.
c. is the same shape as Pluto's heart! Aww. (aka pareidolia).
d. needs a coffee, STAT.

Friday, July 24, 2015


According to all reliable sources, here’s the proof:
     1.    Superstitions come in threes.
     2.    Especially when you walk under a ladder.
     3.    Even worse on Friday the 13th.
     4.    But, knock on wood, there is a solution:
     5.    Eat an apple; it keeps the doctor away.
     6.    However, it’s unclear which type of doctor: my hope is that it refers to plastic surgeons.
     7.    Speaking of distorted faces, go ahead and drop a mirror. Why? Who needs luck for the better part of a decade? Kidding…the number seven is lucky so mirror-tossing actually has a reverse effect. Boom.
8.    All four-leaf clovers are stored at the end of the rainbow.
9.    When black cats cross your path don’t look away in fear or you will miss the chickens on their backs: that’s how they cross the road. Fingers crossed. (Side-note: sometimes they step on cracks. Sorry Moms.)
10. Itchy palms mean forthcoming mail related to money, sometimes debits, sometimes credits, or maybe the phone is going to ring or maybe your ears will ring because someone mentioned you on social media. (This one’s still confusing to me because I don’t have Facebook.)
11. Find a penny, pick it up, all day long, you’ll have a penny. Uh oh…this only works outside of Canada.
12. Every sixth Friday at dawn, animals can talk. (A cat told me this.)
13. Problems are easy to solve if you’re an idiot, am I right?

You might be thinking: what is all this horseshoe? Sorry for all the silliness. What motivates superstitions? Why do we humans think and do all these irrational things? Psychologists relate this behavior to the “uncertainty hypothesis.” This is the idea that when people are unsure about the outcome of a situation, they try to find a way to control it. These control-methods may be odd. Nevertheless, they sometimes provide the mental boost needed to trick ourselves into perseverance mode so we can push through fear of the unknown. Or here’s another way to deal: just think rationally. Um, not so easy for us humans, is it? So friends...keep stepping on spiders and throwing salt if you need to. Either way, something will happen. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

noticing when nature seems to pose.

"Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time." -unknown

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

painting mishaps. And this was my favourite screwdriver. Every guy has a favourite screwdriver, right?

Friday, July 10, 2015


I've been struggling to write. And to read. Begin my July projects. Master something. Create something new. Relax. It's the starting. The struggle is to start. I keep dismissing the start. I'm doing it again right now.

I have no more and no less hours each day than every other person on Earth. So what's the deal? Starting. Starting is the problem.

Above my desk is a sticky note, a reminder: after a devastating stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby wrote his memoirs using only his left eye. Blink after blink. Wow. Considering this, how could I possibly whine for one more second?

And yet, I still can't start. I think it's doubt. Honestly. Self-doubt. Does everyone forget sometimes how to start? I was surprised when I found myself in the kitchen today to cook. There was a time when I cooked every night but I can't recall, before today, the last thing I cooked.

I made rice. I chopped onions. I toasted peanuts. I made a salad dressing. Added together, they made a meal. I guess that's something at least.

Recently my wife gave me a leather-bound journal. It's a beautiful thing to someone like me. The paper is hand-made, the binding hand-stitched. A note inside from the artist suggests using the book as "my personal book of wisdom." I like that idea. I'd like to draw in it too. And yet, I can't start. And I'm worried I will somehow ruin it.

There's that self-doubt again.

Like Bauby, I must figure out how to begin again. What other choice is there? And I will choose. I know I will. One blink at a time. I just did. I guess that's something.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Canada Day?

Posing with a tourist not long before he was
killed here in Ottawa last October.
Canada day this year? In my opinion, there are only two words: Nathan Cirillo. He was 24 years old and literally, Nathan stood on guard for thee

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Just so you know, the answer is no.

Do spruce bugs deserve mercy?

My son and I hate them. They are huge and evil and I once fell off a ladder after one landed on me. I may have screamed like a toddler. Because they bite. Hard. Plus I know a guy whose face got ripped off by one. And another guy who mowed off his own leg trying to avoid one. I don't own a gun and frankly, never would, but if I ever did, I would likely choose a Glock and I would use it to annihilate spruce bugs for ruining our wondrous outdoors.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

Although still delicious, pop rocks don't look the same as they did when I was a kid because, well, Breaking Bad. Nevertheless, although addictive, they are thankfully not blue meth, and therefore I believe they are still part of a healthy breakfast (lunch, supper, whatever). Folks, it's just common sense. And even though I'm no longer eleven, it still sounds like laughter feels when I put them all in my mouth at once. Highly recommend. (No pun intended there Walter White fans.)
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