Saturday, January 28, 2006

Three Dozen

Not only is it my birthday today, it's Mel's birthday too!!!

I found this out last week and just about fell over... someone else in the blog-o-sphere was born on my day too!

I heard that Ipodmama has a niece celebrating the big 11 today as well!

Alan Alda of M*A*S*H fame was born today in 1936. Loved that show!

Wherever you are, whoever you are, if you're celebrating today, congratulations! If you're dropping by for a visit, please, please, please sign in and drop a few words in the comment box! I've been here in blog-land since only November, but it seems I'm meeting (however electronically) so many wonderful people with the most amazing stories to tell!

Thanks to Expatraveler from whom I stole the festive birthday decorations for The Chair today!

Thanks to Chrystal for the tons of support

Thanks to Sarah for bringing me to this place back in November.

Finally, thanks to everyone on my blog roll, and those who visit, for all your kind words and inspirational writing. Bless your soul with peace, love and fulfillment.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Looking back on 35

Today is my last day to experience 35. Tomorrow I turn 3 dozen. Oddly, I don’t feel all that old! I feel like I should be getting ready to blow out 26 or 27 candles, not 12 + 12 + 12. This is a good thing, yes?

What all happened in 35? Most of us experience the “day to day” stuff and really don’t think about all the landmarks along the way. At this time last year, the challenge was getting a place for my parents to live, convincing Dad it was in his best interest to move from the house he bought 25 years before to the dreaded “seniors care facility”.

The spring of 35 was spent clearing out Mom and Dad’s house – readying it for sale – getting a painter, organizing garage sales (of which we had 3!) and of course working in all the daily to dos that come with life in general.

A good chunk of my summer was spent working a corn and fruit stand 7 days a week for 6 weeks. That was interesting, not sure I’d do it again though.

From a business standpoint, 35 saw some fruitful growth as a result of an alliance with my then girlfriend’s business. Sadly, this was also an opportunity to demonstrate to me and the rest of the world yet another example of why business and personal relationships don’t always work. By the middle of the year there was so much stress in both the business relationship and the personal one – it would have been best to walk, in both cases. Sparing you the sordid details, the personal relationship fizzled and over time the business relationship failed and took with it a sizeable chunk of 35’s earnings. Money, however, can be made back over time.

The last quarter of 35 brought with it some amazing personal connections. I dated an absolutely wonderful lady, made some new business industry friends and brought into focus some existing friendships that had been in the shadows for some time. I experienced some personal and professional growing pains and discovered how far family love will carry you when you’re down. I have my sights set on a prosperous new year ahead.

36 may just be my year of awakening. I remember sitting on the swing in the park back in late October, early November thinking: “Something about NOW has me feeling like it’s time to go for it – to enter my adult years. (strangely enough)” It may sound odd, even borderline strange to hear a 36 year old man say “it’s time to be an adult”. But really, up until recently I haven’t been ready to “move”… 36 is a nice round number. It’s time.

A little bit of winter to share

ZouZou was commenting on the lack of winter here in Calgary. Although she's never actually posted any comments here (perhaps she lurks, I dunno) I thought I'd at least put this little bit of winter up for all to see.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

On adoption

Mel was asking me to share my story - my adoption story. It's not all that long or complicated, really. I was born in Edmonton, adopted at 6 months and moved to Calgary. My adoptive parents had my sister two years prior and my mom - having been an only child - vowed her daughter wouldn't experience not having a sibling. It's sure nice to be needed, hey! What was rather unique about the situation is that these people who adopted me were 44 and 45 by the time I came along. Rather unheard of, I believe. None the less, here I am - 36 years later. My sister now has a family of 3 kids (she started at 29. not 44) and all is well.

My parents sold their house last year and moved to a senior's care facility. In the process of clearing out their house, I came across my adoption records. What a neat read. My birth mom was 20, my father 24. She worked as a secretary, he was a farmer. Under the section that lists health history it reads "It is BELIEVED that the father is in good health, having had all the normal childhood diseases - chickenpox, mumps..." This leads me to believe he probably skipped out on my mother. Maybe not, I wasn't there, I can't say for sure.

Have I thought about tracking them down? Thought about it, yes, acted on it, no. Will I? I'm not feeling a burning desire to. I have parents who chose me, and for what it's worth I've had a pretty good life. For that I owe them a big thank-you.

I knew from day one that I was adopted - this was never any secret. On some level I've noticed differences in the way I do things V.S. "the family way", but for all intents and purposes I have a wonderful, loving, supportive family.

Back in 1991 I was visiting a long-time school friend of mine who at the time was living in Markham, Ontario. He had a friend who was adopted and once she discovered I was as well, she couldn't figure out WHY I had no desire to track down my birth mother. She was almost angry at me for not having tried. This didn't make sense to me, because she too had older adoptive folks, fairly well off and she didn't seem to want for anything - including love and support. She had run away from home a couple times - which I never felt compelled to do - and I wonder if it was in some way her cry to find her mom. I visited a couple years later to discover that she had in fact met her mom and that seemed to be all she needed. She had yelled at her something like "how could you!" and once the reconciliation of the feelings had been accomplished, they became good friends.

Funny... I never did ask why.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The things our neighbours do

In need of a distraction today, I painted a door. After reading Elliot's post about a neighbour who owns a Christmas-light-decked-out-star-van, it reminded me of a neighbour of mine, Dale. Dale used to live across the alley. He was an older guy - definitely one of a kind. He had a big old van he used to drive around in. We dubbed him "orange van guy". He just seemed really content driving "the ol' girl" around and around. Back in '99 we took out two trees to make room for a gravel parking pad. Dale was overjoyed because it made getting his van in and out of the garage so much easier (since there was now no more fence to risk running in to!)

One day I was trundling home with a pizza in hand to discover Dale crouched down beside his other vehicle - a half-ton truck. He was "fixin' 'er up"... there he was - I kid you not - with a tray of paint and a roller.

"Hi Dale, how's it going?"
"Not bad... just thought I'd give the ol' girl a touch up."
"Yah, you know, those body guys charge an arm an' a leg... I don't see the need to put that kind of money in when I can do it myself."
"You have a point, Dale."
"It doesn't look THAT bad..."

...and he was happy just rolling away the afternoon in the hot sun. Funny: his niece lives in the house now with her boyfriend, Troy. Troy paints cars in the one-car garage - he's been known to use a spray gun, however. I guess paint runs in their blood. I think I'll stick to doing doors.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Anxiety and finding your place to be

I read an excerpt by Richard Carlson this afternoon that I think ties in very well with two blogs I read on a regular basis. Anvilcloud’s 'Dear Doctor' speaks, among other things, of anxiety and the stress of restless nights. Over at Sarahspace the discussion has been revolving around Doing V.S. Being, physical fitness and balance. I’d like to share these words with you:


For many of us, our lives are so filled with stimuli, not to mention responsibilities, that it’s almost impossible for us to sit still and do nothing, much less relax – even for a few minutes. A friend of mine said to me, “People are no longer human beings. We should be called human doings.”

I was first exposed to the idea that occasional boredom can actually be good for me while studying with a therapist in La Conner, Washington, a tinny little town with very little “to do.” After finishing our first day together, I asked my instructor, “What is there to do around here at night?” He responded by saying, “What I’d like you to do is allow yourself to be bored. Do nothing. This is part of your training.” At first I thought he was kidding! “Why on earth would I choose to be bored?” I asked. He went on to explain that if you allow yourself to be bored, even for an hour – or less – and don’t fight it, the feelings of boredom will be replaced with feelings of peace. And after a little practise, you’ll learn to relax.

Much to my surprise, he was absolutely right. At first, I could barely stand it. I was so used to doing something every second that I really struggled to relax. But after a while I got used to it, and have long since learned to enjoy it. I’m not talking about hours of idle time or laziness, but simply learning the art of relaxing, of just “being,” rather than “doing,” for a few minutes each day. There isn’t a specific technique other than to consciously do nothing. Just sit still, perhaps look out the window and notice your thoughts and feelings. At first you may get a little anxious, but each day it will get a little easier. The payback is tremendous.

Much of our anxiety and inner struggle stems from our busy, overactive minds always needing something to entertain them, something to focus on, and always wondering “What’s next?” While we’re eating dinner we wonder what’s for dessert. While eating dessert, we ponder what we should do afterward. After that evening, it’s “What should we do this weekend?” After we’ve been out, we walk into the house and immediately turn on the television, pick up the phone, open a book, or start cleaning. It’s almost as though we’re frightened at the thought of not having something to do, even for a moment.

The beauty of doing nothing is that it teaches you to clear your mind and relax. It allows your mind the freedom to “not know,” for a brief period of time. Just like your body, your mind needs an occasional break from its hectic routine. When you allow your mind to take a break, it comes back stronger, sharper, more focused and creative.

When you allow yourself to be bored, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off you to be performing and doing something every second of every day. Now, when either of my two children says to me, “Daddy, I’m bored,” I respond by saying “Great, be bored for a while. It’s good for you.” Once I say this, they always give up on the idea of me solving their problem. You probably never thought someone would actually suggest that you allow yourself to be bored. I guess there’s a first for everything!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Something to think about before election day

While vacationing on a ranch, Paul Martin gets thrown from his horse, lands on a rattlesnake, gets bitten and dies because the emergencyvroom at the nearest hospital is too understaffed to treat him in time. So his soul arrives in Heaven and he is met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in,it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a Liberal around these parts, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in; I'm a believer." says Martin.

"I'd like to just let you in, but I have orders from the Man Himself. He says you have to spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven. Then you must choose where you'll live for eternity."

"But, I've already made up my mind, I want to be in Heaven," replied Martin".

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St.Peter escorts him to an elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf course; the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, the temperature a perfect 72 degrees. In the distance is a beautiful clubhouse. Standing in front of it is his Dad, and thousands of other Liberals who had helped him out over the years---Pierre Trudeau, Jean Marchand, Pelletier, St Laurent etc. The whole of the "Left" was there,everyone laughing, happy, and casually but expensively dressed. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at the expense of 'suckers and peasants.' They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.

The Devil himself comes up to Martin with a frosty drink,
"Have a Margarita and relax, Paul!"

"Uh, I can't drink anymore, I took a pledge," says Martin, dejectedly. "This is Hell, son. You can drink and eat all you want and not worry, and it just gets better from there!"

Martin takes the drink and finds himself liking the Devil,who he thinks is a really very friendly guy who tells funny jokes like himself, and pulls hilarious nasty pranks, kind of like they pulled on the GST and Free Trade promises. They are having such a great time that, before he realizes it, it's time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Martin steps on the elevator and heads upward. When the elevator door reopens, he is in Heaven again and St.Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit Heaven," the old man says, opening the gate.

So for 24 hours Martin is made to hang out with a bunch of honest, good-natured people who enjoy each other's company, talk about things other than money, and treat each other decently. Not a nasty prank or frat boy joke among them; no fancy country clubs and, while the food tastes great, it's not caviar or lobster. And these people are all poor, he doesn't see anybody he knows, and he isn't even treated like someone

"Whoa," he says uncomfortably to himself. "Pierre Trudeau never prepared me for this!"

The day done, St. Peter returns and says, "Well, you've spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now choose where you want to live for eternity."

With the 'Jeopardy' theme playing softly in the background, Martin reflects for a minute, then answers: "Well, I would never have thought I'd say this -- I mean, Heaven has been delightful and all -- but I really think I belong in Hell with my friends."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell. The doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren scorched earth covered with garbage and toxic industrial waste, kind of like Sudbury. He is horrified to see all of his friends, dressed in rags and chained together, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. They are groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with grime.

The Devil comes over to Martin and puts an arm around his shoulder. "I don't understand," stammers a shocked Martin, "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and we ate lobster and caviar, drank booze. We lazed around and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and everybody looks miserable!".

The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly, and purrs, "Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us!"

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Red Wine and Raisin Pie

It must be theme week in the blog-o-sphere. Following is the story which explains Chrystal's post on raisin pie. Until she'd written about it, I had filed this tid bit away and hadn't given much thought to how uproariously funny it was! I don't expect you to fall off your chair laughing because you really had to be there to experience the... experience!

A number of years ago my friend Dave (not related) was married. For his stag, he simply wanted to go camping with his buddies. So, we went. One of our mutual friends used to fight fire for Alberta Forestry and knew of a site we could use that had - believe it or not - a sauna out in the bush. 15 or so years ago, Norm and his forestry co-workers built it, not far from the helicopter landing pad, right on the edge of the water. So here is this wooden structure out in the middle of almost nowhere, complete with wood stove piled high with rocks. We fired up the stove, heated up the rocks and proceeded to bring 5 gallon pales of water up from the creek. We had a steamy haven in almost no time. While everyone else was sporting beer and scotch, I had trundled in with a bottle each of white and red wine.

In comes Matt - a then 19 or 20 year old guy whom Dave and Norm knew from their Scouts Canada days. He had just come in from working the day in Calgary and wasn't quite up to speed with the festivities. The boys were running low, so Matt's beer disappeared quickly. He was upset. "So... what've ya got, now that you've had all my beer?" I generously pointed out that there was a healthy bottle of wine on the front bench outside the door. "I hate red wine...", but not to be left without a beverage, "...well, OK..." We should have run the "trouble" flags up to full mast... This was no ordinary bottle of red wine. It was a 1.5 litre bottle of red wine.

We decided to head back to camp after a couple hours and once there, fire lit and roaring, we dug in to dessert, because most of us had eaten prior to the trek into the woods. I was sporting two pies - apple and raisin. Raisin pie is one of my favourites... apparently not everyone's! Matt had not eaten as recently as the rest of us, so he was hungry. By the time he showed up at the camp, we had devoured the apple pie and were in to the raisin pie. "What's to eat, man, I'm hungry!" Being the generous sort I am, I offered up the last half of the raisin pie. "I hate raisin pie... well... OK."

Keeping in mind, the once full bottle of red wine was, shall we say, not so full anymore. Matt, however, was happily munching and sipping away. We all soon retired to our respective resting places and bedded down for the night. In the morning, there was Matt, rolled up in a ball inside his sleeping bag - out in the middle of of the camp site. What else did we discover? All around the camp there were these little, red, raisin-like piles.

I wonder who left these here?

Poor Matt.

We figured he deserved a healthy breakfast for what he'd been through, so on went the coffee and the fixings for a feast. When he finally poked his head out of the sleeping bag, we were all around the fire munching and drinking away. "Matt, would you like some breakfast? We have GRAPE JUICE... and look, one more piece of RAISIN PIE!"

From what I could make out, the language flowing forth from the sleeping bag was not red, but rather... blue.

Poor Matt.

This week you can also read about
16 reasons to serve red wine at work.

Eat, drink and be merry...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How small, exactly, is the world these days?

Last night I read Anvil Cloud's Poignant Posts 5 to discover a few links to some of his regular reads. On visiting Mel's page I found a really neat blog to read. I just swung by for another read this morning to discover she and I share a birthday! January 28 is 36 for me, 41 for Mel! Ever neat. This shouldn't come as a complete shock, really... it would be silly of me to think I'm the ONLY person in the blog-o-sphere to have been born on January 28. I just find it neat. So, looking forward to the big day in about 10 - we'll celebrate together, however far apart.

Cheers, Mel!

The 17 minute dream

I went to bed shortly before midnight last night. I was asleep in minutes and had this dream. It seemed to go on for ever. Somehow I had a sense of "time" passing while asleep - explain THAT one to me! I awoke expecting to see 4:00 on my clock. Nope. 12:17.

I suppose if three spirits can show a man his entire life - past, present and future - in one night, I should expect nothing less than a 4 hour dream in 17 minutes?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The song that inspired the show

Listen to Room Service

/ when a hotel room's the closest thing you got to home / you could be in philadelphia you could even be in rome / you gotta dial nine to get an outside line / i even need a concierge just to take a drive - it's a crazy life / i hope to see you smile - but i'm always wrong / it's a different melody but the same old song... / ya i've been on the road nearly all my life / been around the world 'bout a thousand times / still a knock on the door makes me nervous / i think i'll see you standing there - but no / it's only room service - ya room service / i've been living out my suitcase as long as i remember / life's the same - it doesn't change - it's a gibson or a fender / i still think about you babe - i swear sometimes i see your face / these are crazy days / ya i think i hear your voice - but it's just a dream / it's a brand new movie but the same old scene / ya i've been on the road nearly all my life / been around the world 'bout a thousand times / still a knock on the door makes me nervous / i think i'll see you standing there - but no / it's only room service - ya room service / ya know i wouldn't change a thing - no / i'm just waiting for the bell in room to ring / i hope to see you smile - but i'm always wrong / it's a different melody but the same old song...

Bryan Adams gives great room service!

I just got in from the Bryan Adams show at the Saddledome. As always, he rocked the house! Almost 3 hours of solid entertainment - a true professional. The boys are getting older, moving a little slower, but still moving! The music is as good as ever, and this is one band you KNOW enjoys every minute of what they do! Adams complimented Alberta for its beauty and said "...and I can't believe you're getting paid $400 to live here, too!" (For those of you who may not be aware, our premier, Ralph Klein is issuing a cheque to each Albertan in the amount of $400 sometime this month.)

Do you remember in days of old when concert rock ballads brought out all the lighters? With time, audiences have changed. At this show it was none other than a sea of cell phones! Perhaps a third of anywhere from 12-15000 people held up active cell phones to capture the feeling of... er... Lithium-powered... well, anyway....

The show included two encores, the finale being a solo accoustic set - followed by a very warm and gracious "thank you" on Bryan's part. 25 years this guy has been going strong and I admire his work ethic and grand accomplishments.

Rock on!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


And it was so satisfying, I said to myself:
Let's go back to the coffee shop!

On the business side...

I spent some time today reading.
Check out What I learned today in business

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Making and maintaining connections

Today was a fruitful day. It was made up of a healthy balance between work-related progress and personal benefit. I experienced a connection that was rather unexpected. As is my routine, I set out this morning on my walk. I trundled to my favourite coffee shop which is roughly a 1-mile jont from the house. I filled up my mug and proceeded back toward home. About a block from the coffee shop I saw a familiar truck - and face. The face was that of my friend Norm. For those of you who may not know, Norm is my longest-standing friend. My friend Mike - who now resides in Ajax, Ontario - is second in line if only by weeks. Norm I met when I was 10. 25 years is a fairly healthy length of time to have known someone, I would say. Norm's been extremely busy in and out of town on work-related excursions. With the overnight snowfall, the traffic was significantly backed up to the point where Norm made the decision to sit at the coffee shop for an hour instead of sitting in traffic for what would be roughly the same duration.

So, I greeted my friend, turned around and headed back to the coffee shop. We sat and caught up. I've admired Norm's dedication to his work and his head for business for years. I think I was meant to have this visit if only to get myself juiced about what's going on in my business world. I came away with literally, a lightness in my steps that I can't put accurately into words.

My lunch meeting went similarly very well when I met with Mark, the Anglican priest at St. Andrew's. I met with him to discuss, oddly enough, spirituality. You see, I've discovered that there are all these components that make up our lives. Including, but certainly not limited to: making a living, managing our resources, time with people we know, time for ourselves and of course our spirituality.

It seems to me that all these things that make up our lives tend to get compartmentalized. We have our little box we call "work", we have our little box we call "play", "people", "home life", and for some of us, "spirituality".

I grew up in an environment where spirituality basically meant "go to church". Only when I started thinking for myself in my pre-teen and teen years did I start discovering that spirituality is a whole other thing.

I approached Mark with the notion that perhaps my life's balance might be easier to achieve if I were to get rid of the idea of compartmentalizing everything and start thinking in terms of the "big picture".

I thought I might try placing my spirituality at the centre and see if all the other stuff would naturally fall into a balanced position. That isn't to say "hand it all over to the Creator and then do nothing". That's foolish.

I related to Mark an experience I had back in late October, early November, when I was having some money issues and in particular with one company. The company had told me they would be suspending service unless I paid their bill in its entirety. I was unable to do that, and subsequently panicked. After taking a deep breath, I decided to go for a walk and put the problem out to the Universe for some guidance. I went to a park and meditated on the matter - asking for help to create a solution. I came up with a solution, which for the interim was acceptable to the company. This made me feel really good. It also taught me something.

Success is a communal effort. It took me - willing to not only share the problem, but take on a portion of the responsibility of action toward its solution -. the Universe for guidance, and the other party in that they had to allow some flexibility to accommodate my willingness, but not immediate ability, to solve the problem.

Mark talked about the Native culture's "circular" approach to living in contrast to a linear approach which is often our Western culture's default position.

In a linear approach you tend to see every aspect of your life laid out in a compartmentalized fashion, much like I had described. Each entity is almost separate from the other.

In a circular approach, SOMETHING - be it spirituality, work, finance, family or just about anything else you feel is your "centre" is the base from where you operate. As it is circular, everything ELSE grows out from that centre and is of that centre.

So with this theory in mind, if I place my spirituality at the centre, my finances, work life, social life and everything else will grow from that centre and will be fed by it, and everything will be connected, not compartmentalized and separate.

To this, Mark added that if we make "being" our centre, the things we "do" will be out of our "being" and thus we will achieve a personal balance rather than a completed "to do" list. (forgive me, I am paraphrasing... he has offered me a book that talks about this in much more detail, so I'll keep you posted on what I learn)

So, with my new approach in mind, and being realistic in the fact that it's all a process, I'm looking forward to some wonderful experiences along this road of spiritual growth and personal balance.

Warmest wishes and lots of love!


Monday, January 09, 2006

Who Dies?

After reading Anvilcloud's 'A Form of Grief' it reminded me of a
James Keelaghan tune. In it he talks about the inevitability of death in a realist fashion, but also points out that we ARE alive and that while we're here we should embrace everything and everybody we have in our lives. Some have said this is a morbid tune, others find it inspirational.

I personally embrace James' words. Every day I find myself thinking of all the people and events that have shaped my life. Some days it's a challenge, but I try to keep everyone "in the radar".

What are your thoughts?

WHO DIES? James Keelaghan, Road, 1999

A nephew once asked me when he was quite young: "Who dies?"
I said, "Everyone dies."
No use denying it, one day you're done. Oh, everyone dies."
Princes and paupers, there's no one immune.
And no one who'll escape their demise.
So you'd better make the most of each day that you're given.
Oh, everyone dies.

Now people have pondered this, time and again:
Who dies? Everyone dies.
We suspect that we're more than mere mortal remains.
Oh, everyone dies.
Wisemen and prophets, they've all had their say
on the nature of our after-lives.
But in case there's no beer there, we'll have one more round!
Oh everyone dies.

Now your time may be short, or your time may be long
Who dies? Everyone dies.
But it's goiong to happen, as sure as you're born
Oh, everyone dies? Everyone dies.
Friends and relations and all we hold dear
Will one day pass to the other side.
So you'd better embrace them as long as they're here.
Oh, everyone dies.

Take a listen to 'Who Dies?'

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Do you need money, or can I give you a ride?

Granny's post today: How To Help Without Money

Although my story today is somewhat unrelated, it is about an attempt to help out, to give without giving "money".

I remember a fellow hitting me up for some cash once. I was downtown in a church parking lot. I asked him what he needed the money for. He claimed: transit fare to the Greyhound station and enough money for a 1-way ticket to Red Deer (a city about 90 minutes north). I told him I would DRIVE him to Greyhound and PURCHASE a ticket for him because I didn't have any cash on me. He immediately pointed out the convenience of a bank - across the street - where I could get him some cash! You obviously see what I saw here, right? This fellow was rather persistent, so I decided to see how long he'd drag this out. I think I bantered with him for about 20 minutes as I scraped the windshield of my van and got ready to head for home. I told him flat out in no uncertain terms that I would not give him cash. He kept talking!

"Well, I live at the men's shelter and I'd have to get my stuff from the locker."

"So, let's go... I'll take you there. I have lots of time."

"Um. well, you see... they only allow us access to the lockers between 9 and 10 tonight"

"That's fine, it's 8:15, by the time we get there it will be only a short wait."

I guess I wore him down. He accepted my offer!

"I juuuussst need to get somethin' from the store, man."

"Sure, you run across and I'll pull up outside the store - we can go when you're ready."

I saw him run across the street and around the corner toward the front of the store. I pulled around to the front of the building. My newly found friend wasn't to be seen. I could see in the window and it was obvious he wasn't in the store. So, I paused for a few minutes in case he changed his mind, then I headed for home.

I'll help just about anybody, because I've often been on the receiving end of a good hand. I do, however, have a need to know that my hard-earned resources aren't being wasted on destructive endeavours.

Any stories to share?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A good laugh at my expense!

Remember IPODMAMA's reference to "Turtle-Guy-Cold"? It was in reference to a comment I made on the expected weather patterns here in Clagary this weekend. I was surprised when I heard a vastly different forecast yesterday. I figured with the changing weather patterns in Calgary, anything's possible. Well, I found out today where my information came from. I was sitting, drinking my morning cofee, while in the background a local radio station blurted out once again this really odd weather forecast! I looked at the guy next to me, he looked back, then around the room to get the reactions of the three or four OTHER people sitting there in awe. The forecast went something like: "This weekend expect lows of -17... followed by a high of +30!" What!? "You too can fly to Mexico this weekend at phenomenal savings!"


The first time I heard this last week, I was in that zone of half-listening to a background radio in the barber shop - picking up bits and pieces because I was really more interested in the NEWSPAPER!

All this from the guy who is TRAINED in Radio Broadcasting!


So, to IPODMAMA and all who read my inaccurate forecast, have a giggle and chalk it up to absent-mindedness!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Adding stuff to the side bar

My brain is shutting down, so it's bed time VERY soon. Just a quick question though - I've noticed many bloggers have lists of the blogs they frequent along the sidebar. How do you do that?? Do you have to be a genius HTML coder?? I'd also like to place a link to my other blogs along the sidebar... the instructions in the help menu are very confusing... tried it, messed up, obviously I'm not an HTML god. Anyone have a copy of "Sidebarring For Dummies"?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Solomn Time

The air was crisp this morning, but much like... as a Chinook rolls in... crisp, but not harsh. I decided to venture in the direction of my favourite coffee shop. Along the way I met a lovely couple and their small boy. I know them from having met them around the neighbourhood and at Community BBQs. We smiled, exchanged some kind words and moved along.

The coffee this morning was smooth and mild. Tania was at the counter - haven't seen her since... gosh, for ever. Didn't really get a chance to catch up, there were folks behind me in line, so I moved toward the door. I strolled across the street and stopped in at C's for a visit. He's a fellow from "the old country" who's always happy to see a face. This was good, because mine happened to be in his shop! We sat and yammered on about nothing in particular, but it was nice. In short order a customer strolled in, so I took to glancing at the paper. C was doing the crossword, so it was conveniently open at the "Horror-scopes". What the heck.. Aquarius... let's see...

"You may be fooling everyone around you, including yourself when it comes to your latest craze. Figure out who you can talk to about important changes."

My latest craze? That's curious. Sometimes, I suppose, these things are written for entertainment purposes. On occasion it hits home. I'm thinking of a part time job - wonder if that's what's worth the re-think?

I'm caught in a bit of a weird space right now. Somewhere between craving a cerebral challenge and the desire to shut down completely and just "be". Is it the dreaded "January Blues"? I should hope not - all societal hype as far as I'm concerned. There's lots of sun, frsh air (relatively) and good company to be had.

I have a lunch appointment at a small town just west of here... perhaps there's an opinion or two to be had there.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"Good and Thoughtful"

Rob the Runner inspired Sarah to come up with a 2006 two-word theme. As I was writing an email this afternoon, I used the words "good and thoughtful" and it reminded me of a man I've known for years. Under normal circumstances I would use an initial or some form of anonymity in referring to him. In this case, I won't because if you happen to run into him, you are truly blessed. His name is Steve Hallford. He is an Anglican priest. The first thing most everyone notices about Steve is that he is quiet. In fact, it's been a bit of a running joke that Steve shouldn't try to yell - he simply can't! It's almost comical to watch him try, in fact!

Having worked with Steve on numerous occasions over the years, I discovered that he exhibits some truly amazing qualities. Never have I met a person who is so thoroughly "thoughtful"... and thoughtful in every sense.

Here is a man who will very methodically map out a strategy. Before he considers a move, he crosses all the "t"s and dots all the "i"s. I remember helping him conduct a survey of his parish. Of course, interviewing absolutely everyone was going to be near impossible, if not redundant. So we set about selecting a suitable cross-section of the congregation. The committee used all the variable you would normally think of: gender, age, income, attendance record and so on. The one thing Steve made a point of mentioning before we commenced was this: "What about person a, person b and person c... I think you should include them because they quite often have differing views from the mass population of our parish." Was it good to include such "specific" people when the idea was to get a "general consensus"? Maybe, maybe not. What Steve effectively had done was to "thoughtfully" include those who would normally be overlooked - not out of charity, but because he felt it important to include their views.

To watch Steve in conversation with another person, you can TELL he LISTENS with intent and thinks BEFORE he speaks. Any time he's prepared a piece for "public speaking", it's frightfully obvious by his delivery that he has put much care and consideration into his well-chosen words. He will deliver a sermon, for example, with no notes in sight. He has prepared himself before he speaks, and delivers every message with a sense of humanity. The stories he tells, the conversations he has all come from a most genuine source - his heart.

In the position of parish priest, Steve quite often has to deal with over-zealous parishioners, folks with chips on their shoulders and people with every-day personal problems. One of his very special gifts - something I intend to cultivate in myself - is his knack for knowing not only what to say, but what not to say.

I can guess that most everyone, at the very least, has some perception of priests as "good" people. I've seen Steve touch the hearts of many people in a "good" way - giving only what is necessary, not overloading someone with kindness or resources they don't need or want. That, in and of itself is thoughtful.

This year, I will borrow the words that prompted me to think of Steve Hallford. He is a shining example of Good and Thoughtful.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Paying Attention

On my walk this morning I literally stumbled on something I hadn't noticed before. I was walking past the house I first knew up until the time I was 10 - at which point we moved to a different district. I guess I must have had my head down at just the right moment. What I discovered was that two sections of the sidewalk had recently been replaced with fresh, new concrete. I thought to myself, "Sad, really. This sidewalk is no longer 'original'". All the way home I had this consciousness about the slots between the concrete blocks that made up the sidewalk. My strides were such that I seemed to land on each one. I varied my step slightly so that my step would land on the block, not on the slot. Then what happened? Just when I thought I had the pace down, the size of block changed. Crap. So, time to adjust. By the time I reached home it hit me like a ton of bricks - which, by the way would have been more of a challenge to walk on if I wanted to avoid the cracks.

Walking on the sidewalk, adjusting my pace to accommodate the terrain, is much like a healthy way to live life. When the environment or circumstances change, best to make adjustments. It occurred to me that for years I have remained rigid in my approach - trying to hold fast to ways and means that at one time worked well for me. Maybe this is the year for me to break out of my shell - try something fresh and new.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Day 2006

Wow, what a year! After having read Ipodmama’s post on the year’s goings on, I feel a wee bit resentful that I haven’t kept a diary of events. My Dad used to encourage me to keep a diary. I started several times, but I guess the motivation just wasn’t there. I’ve been blogging since November, so perhaps this in and of itself will serve as a record of events.

In the days since my last post I’ve taken in quite a bit – socially, emotionally and economically. I shared some wonderful times with some wonderful people – everyone here included, thanks for stopping by and keeping me in the loop!!

Yesterday’s events included a wonderful brunch with my folks, although I noticed my Dad was a bit blah… I really don’t think he has enough stimulus in his life. He suffers from Dementia and I’m convinced that if he had more regular “stuff” going on, he’d be far more alert on a regular basis.

After brunch, I came home, returned some emails and loaded the van for the New Years party I played last night. En route to the event I stopped in at the pool for a quick swim. All this talk in the blogging world about fitness had me thinking I haven’t been to the pool in a while. The weather’s been so mild I’ve been walking. Swimming is something I do in the cold months when it’s… well, unpleasant to be outside. At the New Years party I was treated to a roast beef dinner and beverages – like one of the family! This particular client has been on board with us for… gosh… almost 10 years if not that!

The party rocked. I rolled tape on it too, so there’s a record of the event. Oh, yes… and to Zou Zou, I did in fact play that song for you that I promised in the reply to your new furniture post… might be worth a listen if you’re interested – Uncle David screwed up… yes, DJs do on occasion! It got a laugh from the audience and I ended up booking two events from yesterdays endeavours, so… party on!

New Years Day is dedicated to sleep. It’s been a long, emotional season. I need to regroup so I can come out sluggin’ Monday and in full force on Tuesday.

To you and yours – peace, rest for your soul and a rekindled enthusiasm for all your endeavours.

Be well, my friends!


About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.