Monday, January 26, 2009

Haggis, Hockey and Viagra

Raised an eyebrow yet?

Thought so.

What, you may ask, do these three have in common?

Well, my experience of course! Now, before you go getting all kinds of crazy ideas, here it is:

Yesterday was January 25 - Robbie Burns Day, of course, and alas, I did not have opportunity to sample some haggis.

I did, however, get to attend a Calgary Hitman game at the Saddledome with my niece and her cub pack. I didn't do a head count, but I'm guessing we had maybe 15 in our group - kids and adults.

The game was Calgary VS Regina, and off the top Regina scored the first goal. We tied it up by the end of the first period, and N. and I went to get a beverage. We returned to our seats right as the second period started. I observed that not only was our timing perfect, it also took as long to get a drink from the concession, practically, as an entire period of play.


Calgary went on to score on power plays, and it was the observation of one of the other adults in our group that "Saskatchewan isn't all that disciplined." OK by me - it gave Calgary an advantage of which they took advantage!

By the end of the third period, we had the game all but wrapped up: 7 to 4. Oh, and by the way, Wendy's restaurants gives everyone a coupon for a free Bacon Classic if Calgary scores 5 or more goals in a given game... mmm... Bacon Classic...

Preparing the ice prior to the start of the game

Charging the crowd to give away prizes

This photo shows the scoreboard near the end of the game:

What else do you see?

Does the electronic billboard advertising strike you as odd, for an all-ages event on a Sunday afternoon?

It did us, and although we chuckled about it, (the adults, that is) I, for one, was a bit shocked - although I wouldn't have paid it any mind at any other time. All companies must advertise, but I wonder if they'd considered their target market?

I think what might have shocked me more however, would have been questions from young, inquisitive minds...

Friday, January 23, 2009

The value of methodical procedure

I remember hearing a story years ago about a neurosurgeon who, in an attempt to focus all his necessary energy on his patients and work, would organize the simple things in his life down to ritualistic routine. He would drive the exact same route to work every day, at the very same time, so that he wasn't spending any unnecessary energy on unexpected surprises. I remember thinking to myself that he must not live in Calgary because the weather patterns here would drive nuts. I also remember thinking it was a bit over the top. But I began to think of the reasoning behind this kind of organization because it twigged to me the other day just how much energy I was spending as a result of not being precisely organized.

Over the last number of weeks I've been tired. Really tired. I looked back on all the things I've been doing since we flipped our calendars over January One, and... no wonder! I've been keeping appointments, taking classes, moving stuff, doing business and keeping hobbies - seemingly all at once. And I like it. A lot. Every so often, however, I've hit this wall of frustration when I'd inadvertently set my keys down without thinking where, gathering items for a meeting and doing the same thing - mostly out of haste.

On Wednesday, a friend told me that I sometimes tend to look for immediate results in my approach to things. Our particular discussion was centred around yoga. I was sorta complaining that some things that I've wanted to achieve physically through yoga haven't been happening as I have expected. Funny, because when I talk about these things I tend to talk about them in an critical, assesing sort of a way, whereas when I'm actually in the studio DOING postures and stretches, I'm very much about 'letting things happen' and not 'making things happen'. It could be poor word choice in my discussions, or maybe I truly am impatient, who knows?

Last week at the pottery studio I discovered something very first-hand that, after the fact was blindingly obvious: The minute I 'let go' and allowed the wheel to provide the physical force necessary to centre the clay, it was indeed centred. I could push and pull and twist all I wanted, but gentleness brought about a centredness that was very much something of a natural order. I let go my grasp, and naturally the clay went into its centred position, ready for me to open it.

"Interesting.", I thought.

I very gently opened the clay body and raised it - careful not to pinch, but rather guiding it - no more, no less - to a raised cylinder. Taking my fingers, pointed straight down, I used one on each side of the cylinder to shape it into a bowl from the inside.

Know what I ended up with?

You guessed it, a popcorn bowl! The ever-elusive popcorn bowl that I've wanted to make for the better part of a year now, happened.

Sadly, my popcorn bowl met its demise in the trimming stage a few days later when I inadvertently powered up the wheel to full-blast rotation trying to dislodge the foot pedal from underneath the wheel. My poor bowl landed side-down on the concrete floor.

Poor bowl.

The lesson was invaluable, and it applies to everything. James Keelaghan once sang the words,

One thing that I learned that day
You can whip and you can curse,
But you'll get as good a ride
If you use gentle, lovin' words.


So yesterday I started practicing focused, thoughtful and gentle action. It tends to take more time to achieve things, but one look at my desk this morning and I was sold on not only the strategy, but the belief.

Namaste, all - and speak some gentle words today -- see what happens.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back in class

English 385, a topic course in Canadian Aboriginal Literature. It's going to be something of an unconventional course, too. The grading map is very simple - class participation and portfolio grades, all flexible in weighting, up to us as students to designate the weight for each component, and we will be signing a 'contract' to the effect.

There will be no final exam, but there will be what's called an "exit interview", one-on-one in the prof's office. No essays, but some critical analysis by way of - get this - web logs. That's right, we're blogging.

Cool, eh?

Not only are we studying literature, but film, music and other electronic media. I'm pretty pumped, actually. There will be no formal lectures, and in some weekly circumstances, no class in order to allow us time for group projects.

I've made an appointment with my prof on Tuesday for a simple meet-and-greet. I've found it effective to sit down face-to-face and kinda get to know who it is I'll be writing for and presenting to.

Oh, and morning coffee is set for Monday with Margaret, my first and dare I say to date, my favourite prof.

I wish I knew some catchy Latin phrase to close this post, alas all I know is "Carpe Diem".

Carpe Turtle. (Seize the Turtle?)


Anyone know Latin?

Back on the wagon

Yup, again checkin' to see if coffee is partly to blame for my tummy troubles and sleeping interruptions.

Today is rough.

I really want a coffee!

I seriously feel out of sorts today, and a coffee would be the fix, I know it.

I did one of those parasite cleanses back in July/August. I feel much the same as I did for the first spell of that. Guess my body's kickin' it out, and the chemistry within is changing... again.


I love coffee.

...maybe staring at the logo for a while will help.

...nope... again?

...definitely not helping.

...did I mention I love coffee?

Class starts tonight. I'm going to feel like a fish out of water without a java in hand at a night course.

Bean there, Dunn that... ah well, wish me luck.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A January Check-in

I haven't had a whole lot of enthusiasm to blog recently. Not that life isn't full and rich - in fact, it's been quite the opposite. It seems every time I think about checking in, I'm either really tired or really busy. There hasn't been a lot of in-between. Typically I've been a pretty open book as far as sharing stories with people in person and here on the blog. I find myself wanting to share less of the really personal stuff and I'm wondering if that's a function of growing older, or maybe I'm digressing in a way and it has nothing to do with age.

Years ago I was hyper-attached to my business. People could tell how well my business was doing by the mood I was in - literally. These days I talk a lot less about the business side of the business and much more about life in general mostly because now... I have one outside of my work.

January has kinda flown by. I have some photos to share and may post them in the next day or so, but the highlight of the last couple weeks are:

*Starting the New Year with something of a cross-over contract: the pottery studio where I take classes took possession of a new location as of January 1, so... on January 1 we moved. Now, not only does my company have sound system experience which, in and of itself entails moving stuff, it now has experience as a moving company of sorts.

*My Mom has asked for years that we not get her any 'stuff' for Christmas; she has enough things. So last Saturday we went for a family brunch. It was a chance for immediate family and cousins and such to gather for bread-breaking and gabbing... we do that very well.

*I registered in a class at the U. to begin on Wednesday this week. English 385, a topic course in Aboriginal Film and Literature. I also sent an email to my first (and favourite) prof., Margaret, to see if she would act as advisor on my quest for courses to eventually fulfill the requirements for an undergrad degree in English.

*I walked in to the bank not that long ago, and everyone on staff - with the exception of the few working in the back offices - said "Hi, David!" I've never experienced that in my 20-odd years of banking. I know and/or have chatted with almost everyone at my branch, including the manager. I won't go as far as to say it's my second home, but I sure feel 'at home' there. So, in appreciation of the above-and-beyond service I get on a regular basis, I decided to take a round of Starbucks for the staff. It made me feel good.

*On referral from my GP, I've been going to the Sleep Centre at the Foothills Hospital. After an overnight home-monitoring, the doctor wanted to put me on a really aggressive ant-acid prescription. I'm a prescription pessimist, to be honest. I've completely bought into the fact that the body heals on its own far better with natural elements, not man-made drugs with nasty side-effects. So, I've opted not to fill the prescription. Instead, I'm changing my diet and have looked into natural substitutes. This after the attending doctor told me flat out that there are no natural substitutions. Funny... I found a couple and I'm not even a doctor. But I've talked to people who genuinely care about good health and to the best of my knowledge these people would not steer me wrong. Sorry if this sounds 'rantish' in nature, but I really think it's foolish to take drugs that have side effects. Don't the side effects themselves say "Hey, this doesn't belong in my body!"? Now if only I could heed my own advice and kick the coffee thing... *sigh*

*Yoga's been hit-and-miss in January simply because of the holiday followed by a crazy turtle schedule, but I'm primed to go this morning and very much looking forward to it!

That's it for the update.

Photos soon.

Turtle out.

About Me

My photo
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.