This particular winter sucks

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It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. In my opinion, March came in like a soggy little lamb.Old Man Winter has since elbowed his way in and frosted up my windows again.

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I am tired of wearing my bulky winter coat and big boots. It’s no fun while waiting for city buses that don’t show up on time.

I have aches in my body and my tender heart. I have no motivation to do morning stretches. I have to push myself to get on the buses in to the city. Some days I just want to stay home and putter.

I am tired of supporting flakey technology that doesn’t provide consistent results.

I feel inconvenienced. I used to like puzzles and technical challenges.

I feel like an old grump.

 

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Je suis déçu!

On the other hand, I have been embracing my inner child, nurturing and encouraging that shy artist from my awkward adolescence.  You can read more at the blog where the Tabby Cat rules.

Thanks for dropping by. Excuse me as I grumble, preparing to take the weekend buses in a quest for new stretchy pants and “stylish” Mom jeans. First world problems…

T

To everything there is a season

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and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV)

Central Experimental Farm and tractor

Central Experimental Farm, reaping what was sown 2016

For me, 2016 was a year full of challenges and opportunities, reunions and departures.

I can accept that winter is here and we should acknowledge its presence as part of the cycle of life. Also, I can’t afford to travel to somewhere exotic or warm…

Central Experimental Farm December 2016

Central Experimental Farm December 2016 – Covered up and ready to start all over again

As a parent and grandparent, I have concerns for the future of our planet and humanity now that the pendulum has swung back to allow for unbalanced, machismo leaders to take the reins of power. Many of us are wondering what the heck went wrong…  Yet, I can cherish the moments I had with loved ones this year and will embrace naive hope for sharing happy times with them again.

My gift to readers of this blog is another time-lapsed photography project. You may remember and hopefully enjoyed the four seasons with two trees from the autumn of 2014 and summer of 2015, and that whimsical cat grass grow-up project this past summer.

This latest obsession was started with joy as I celebrated new opportunities and gave thanks while waiting for the weekend bus near the Central Experimental Farm.

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Thank you for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed that. Here’s a soundtrack and some nostalgia for those of you born before 1963…

You can also visit the Tabby Cat’s blog for the recent offering or my pen name’s blog to see what she is up to.

Wishing naively for peace on Earth and good will…

T

 

Why are you here?

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That question was recently asked by what could have been a younger, curious version of myself.

A few times each month, I spend three hours of bliss volunteering in a small bookshop.

I get to meet interesting people, stroke and skim through the latest items placed on the shelves. Not a month goes by without me purchasing something of interest to me or someone I love. I like the fact that sales revenues go towards purchasing new books and supporting programs for our local libraries. Being in that book shop is the closest I can get to working in a library – for now  🙂

My recent volunteer shift was graced by the usual lingering regulars and families attending events nearby. It warms my heart when children express delight as they find a book or two that they want their parents to buy.

One particular tot caught my attention while exploring books with her older sister, parents and grandmother. She approached the front desk, her blonde head barely above the counter, her blue eyes peering at me.

“What’s your name?” she asked in a sweet and barely audible voice.

I responded with a smile and asked about hers. Her Mother responded on her behalf due to the child’s limited conversation skills.

Then the child asked, “Why are you here?”

“Why am I here? Well… I like books, I like meeting new people and selling them books.”

Then she skittered away to explore the shelves with her family.

Soon she returned to ask again “Why are you here?”.

After I repeated my previous response I wanted to ask the wee thing if she was being philosophical about the big picture but I decided it would just confuse matters.

It was cute. It was thought-provoking in a naive kind of way.

I think that was a helpful experience for those basic queries we should ask ourselves often, like “Why am I here?”.

If we cannot answer the why, we could at least ask, “What am I doing during my time here?”.

T

Reminders for the love of life

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I recently contemplated the delicate balance of life and human relationships.

An elderly relative passed away after years of loneliness from losing a spouse, falling into unhealthy habits and an unpleasant lifestyle.

Those of us who were able to travel for the funeral benefited from reconnecting with each other and catching up with old friends in the town of our birth. The occasion gave a sobering twist to Halloween and All Souls Day.

It was a long journey for a short visit. The surrounding events provided opportunities to hear stories from others who knew your relative for years or recently formed friendships through shared interests.The sombre experience reminds you to enjoy times with those beings you love and cherish despite their shortcomings.

You venture into the new version of the church you once attended a lifetime ago, the religion you abandoned due to differences of opinion. You reach into the crevices of your memory for that sense of community and shared values. You notice they transported the large crucifix from the old church, the one with the bleeding savior you could not look at as a child. You find the strength and spirit to join in song, to celebrate a life and provide a smooth, harmonious send-off to the next dimension.

You contemplate how we should treat our deceased with respect and dignity. Without getting too elaborate, I feel it’s important to plan ahead for your own funeral, to make decisions for your mortal remains, to lessen stress on loved-ones, and put your house in order.

Although emotionally and physically drained, you enjoy companionship on short, refreshing strolls about town and down memory lane.

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Shuffling through the fallen leaves, you visit the streets, the town park and the library where you recall misadventures and fond memories plus learn to enjoy new experiences. You let yourself laugh, share updates and hopes for your children. You dream of a future with the grandchildren who have entered your life and nestled into your heart.

As you contemplate the next decade of your independent life, you are determined to continue with those small changes to improve your health, to reconsider compromise and expectations. You tolerate the brief interruptions and annoyances, knowing that they too shall pass.

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Breathing in. Breathing out.  Repeating as necessary.

Thanks for dropping by.

T

 

 

 

Bending, stretching, sweating and remembering to breathe

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I don’t like rushing into things.

Three weeks ago, the resident artiste provided me with five morning lessons of gentle sitting and stretching, gentle Yoga moves for Salute to the Sun. That was three months after she gifted me a “high-end” Yoga mat for Mother’s Day.

Like I said, I don’t like rushing into things.

On the first day, the Tabby cat took position on her living room perch in preparation to supervise. As we have seen in a previous post in another blog, she’s not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise.

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On the sixth day, I proceeded to perform the sweaty, grunty feat in the privacy of my room. Soon the Old Boy wandered in to complain and rearrange my sweaty towel.

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The Salute to the Sun routine goes something like this. With time and commitment, I shall be so graceful and poised. It has been two weeks during which I think I have succeeded in getting myself into a routine as part of a healthier lifestyle.

  • I aim to perform this sweaty morning ritual at least five days a week;
  • I time each session for 15 to 20 minutes;
  • These are small steps in supporting a healthy habit for body and mind;
  • As with most challenges in life, you just gotta remember to breathe – and repeat as necessary.

I am grateful for the resident artiste, bread baker, cook and cat sitter for persistently nudging and motivating me. It’s only a matter of time before she turns me into a vegetarian too.

What small steps do you take to keep yourself in good overall health?

Thanks for dropping by.

You might be interested in this book I wrote about a priest, his biological daughter and a retired exotic dancer dealing with family issues in a small Georgian Bay town during the 1970s.

T

 

Lighting up vs puckering up

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Come on Boomers, who didn’t get a thrill from striking matches or flicking cigarette lighters, experiencing that primal awe of having fire at your fingertips?

Who didn’t test their lungs out of curiosity and peer pressure with a prized pack of Du Mauriers or Old Port wine-tipped cigars? Who didn’t deeply inhale the aroma of a freshly opened pack of cigarettes?

Who didn’t get dizzy and nauseous their first time?

Why didn’t they stop there?

In my young adult years, smoking was part of dance bar outings and mostly a social crutch. It gave party-goers something to do with their hands while practicing conversation skills and courting rituals. That was so many years ago and before I carried my children.

From my caffeine-induced, Sunday morning Web research, I can see that smoking started as an experience of the spiritual, for Native Americans  to call upon and to give thanks for the six energies. The peace pipe was an important symbol to the indigenous people in the Ottawa Valley as well. Tobacco was used as an offering to the sacred waterfalls named after the pipe bowl.

This is one smoking symbol that I’d like to see spared from modernization.

So with smokers these days, does that mean people are trying to capture that inner reflection or reaching up to the divine? Do they want to meet their maker sooner than intended? How much of their earnings have gone up in smoke?

Sobering statistics and dry facts

Humour / satire

A clever, satirical film called Thank you for Smoking.

How dare you compare smoking to eating cheese! 

Quotes about smoking

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/smoking

Subconscious suckling desires?

I often wonder if smoking (and now vaping) are subconscious, primal desires for the comfort of suckling at our Mothers’ breast as well as reaching for the Divine. At least those who choose vaping are doing it to wean them off the death sticks. You can do it!

Social behaviour

I’d like to thank those public transportation users who walk a few meters away from the shelter to light up and begin your ritual of self-reflection while waiting for the next bus. Please complete your ritual by stomping out your cigarette instead of tossing it into the dry grass beside the bus shelter, and please completely exhale your sacred smoke before boarding the bus.

I will be sure to not sit close to you and experience the stench wafting from your hair, clothes and breath.

Be kissable

Another reason to quit smoking is to increase your attraction and possibilities for pleasurable mouth pressing activities.

Ah yes, pleasurable mouth pressing activities and making for romantic memories…

Thanks for dropping by. May your lip puckering activities be refreshing, memorable and sweet.

T

Millennial matters

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I am riding that Baby Boomer tail. 

I am also the caboose in one resilient and large Catholic family.

I am a white woman, a parent and a survivor. As a woman over 50 I feel invisible to most eligible men. I do not have a reliable partner, don’t own my home nor can I afford to travel to tropical locations every winter. I will be lucky if I can retire in comfort by the time I turn 60 years old.

Whenever discussing retirement plans with friends or colleagues, I joke that my insurance was to be extra patient with and kind to my children so that they will take care of me in my old age.

My beautiful adult children are Millennials. They are testing out their respective paths, life purpose and independence. Some are taking a little longer than others due to childhood trauma or the ridiculous limitations of the economy.

My Millennials were not handed everything on a platter. We were barely scraping by in the early years while surviving home life with an unstable, controlling individual.

It saddens and frustrates me when the older generations and entertainers poke fun at Millennials.

You’ve Gotta Love Millennials – Micah Tyler
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLpE1Pa8vvI

A few weeks ago, my oldest Millennial and I watched a documentary on TVO (TV Ontario).  It was interesting but discouraging.

My Millennial Life

“Millennials are getting dumped on from all sides – from parents, employers and the economy. “My Millennial Life” takes a look through the eyes of a group of resourceful, charming and talented 20-somethings and the obstacles and opportunities they face in getting launched and making their mark on the world.”

Then there was this article on CBC News:

Still living with mom and dad? You are not alone, and the numbers prove it
Almost a third of 18- to 34-year-olds still live at home, data shows
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/young-people-living-at-home-1.3599364

I love my Millennial room-mate who cooks healthy meals, cleans the humble apartment once a week, and looks after the cats while I am away – all the while using artistic skills to earn a modest income.

On a related, rippling note I am sad to acknowledge recent violent events south of the border. Some parental concerns and human rights issues catch your interest even more so if your Millennials are also dark-skinned, dealing with social anxieties or are gay.

They would seem to be fncked whichever way they turn. I know they can overcome challenges with courage, intelligence and strength of character.

I believe in them.

T

Support for Chaudière Falls Area

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During the winter of 2016 I sat beside a woman on the city bus on my way home after a long day’s work. We talked about the recent heavy snowfall, the little plastic shovel I purchased at the dollar store, apartments, balconies and our cats. I found another kindred spirit!

The conversation turned to the purpose of her evening bus ride to attend a meeting for an important cause. She introduced herself as one of the Indigenous Grandmothers. She shared the history and the sacred importance of the Chaudière Falls then handed me some literature containing more information and site links.

I have been following the issue since, mentioning it to others who might listen. On Wednesday evening, I attended the information session, panel discussion on saving the Chaudière Falls from further commercial development and planning for the June 17th walk.

Although I do not like being in the middle of noisy crowds, I am willing to join them and to invite others along. With good conscience and spiritual respect, I feel I must.

Grandmother Christine’s story: https://freethefalls.ca/news/a-grandmothers-story-from-asinabka/

With a collective conscience, we must ask if Ottawa really needs more condos, if the federal government has the political will, compassion to repair damage by the former governments and flawed development approval processes at all levels. Ask if it is finally time to return this sacred land to our indigenous people, a place for sharing with all people.

Thank you.

T

Green Living Ottawa

Posted by Denise Deby.

It is sacred poster

Three Four upcoming events are focused on protecting the area around Chaudière Falls in the Ottawa River.

They’re prompted by concerns about development proposals for the area, which is considered sacred by many Indigenous peoples.

On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, a panel discussion will take a critical look at the “Zibi” development project. “Reconcilation Needs Justice – Stop Windmill’s ‘Zibi’ Condos on Sacred Algonquin Land” will be at 7 p.m. at the Ottawa Public Library’s Main Branch (120 Metcalfe St.) Speakers are Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont, former Ottawa city councilor Clive Doucet, and Stop Windmill group co-founder Cathy Remus.

On Monday, June 13, 2016, Albert Dumont will talk about the protection and restoration of the Sacred Site at Chaudière Falls and the Islands, through the lens of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s at 7 p.m. at…

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Alone in a crowd

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Do you enjoy your solitude? Do you find it conducive to navel-gazing and existential contemplations?

Do you alternately feel a sense of inclusion and connectedness when in a crowd of like-minded strangers?

I do.

One way I experience the latter is to treat myself to a personal adventure on the Doors Open Ottawa tours. This was the third year that I explored the city on my own, learned new things, admired architecture and met other interesting humans.

Yesterday’s weather was perfect for being in the sun, walking, busing, touring around Ottawa.

My first stop was a disappointment. It seems that arriving at noon is too late to get on the guided tour list for the temple of online commerce, Shopify.

Still determined for urban exercise and discovery, I walked from Elgin Street all the way to my next desired stop, The Temple of Science.

ScienceApologies for this ear worm coming at you.

I arrived tired and sweaty at the National Research Council Canada (NRC) – Temple of Science on Sussex Drive. After freshening up in the ladies room and refilling my water bottle, I unwittingly jumped the queue, ignoring protocol by inserting myself into the next guided tour group. I blame it on the heat.

It was a very interesting, fast-paced walking tour. Kudos to the staff and volunteers.

 

The wait on Sussex Drive for the OC Transpo bus downtown was very long. The buses were not obeying the GPS offerings according to various smart phone apps shared by me and my random companions. At least we had a bench in the shade of nearby trees. People came and sat. Some gave up and started walking.

It wasn’t the first time I used a park bench for deep thinking activities. I had plenty of time for people-watching, casual conversation, contemplating the Universe, and … catching up on some reading.  I really hope to finish Masters of Time this weekend!

comic speech bubbles of black cat critiquing human reading efforts

 

Waiting for another bus on construction-cramped Rideau Street provided a different lens into humanity, social interactions of ragtag gangs rallying back and forth in some loud, shared purpose. I was relieved when the next bus finally arrived.

Next stop was the Saint-François d’Assise Church, another temple of sorts. It was cool and quiet except when someone was demonstrating the organ (!). I admired the wooden pews, the statues and all those candles.

Presque tous les panneaux d’information et de la littérature était en français! 

Les gens sympathiques à la réception m’a remis le seul pamphlet anglais. Heureusement pour moi, je continue avec l’apprentissage de la langue de ma mère

Now resting and reflecting on a rainy Sunday morning, I plan to head out for another educational tour. I think I convinced one of the young people to join me.

On a parting note, here is something else to contemplate:

The odds are overwhelming that we’re characters in an advanced civilization’s computer simulation.  See:  http://qz.com/699518/we-talked-to-the-oxford-philosopher-who-gave-elon-musk-the-theory-that-we-are-all-computer-simulations/

Thanks for stopping by.

T