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Showing posts from August, 2018

Ominous heat

We're having another series of very hot days this week - 29 degrees C today and the forecast is the same for tomorrow. I've never minded the heat much. Winter's are long in eastern Canada so I've always been inclined to savour hot weather when we get it - reveling in the feeling of being warm through to my bones.

I haven't been able to enjoy it in the same way this year. The unusually long stretches of high temperatures and humidity seem downright ominous in light of the grim environmental news from across the country and around the world - massive fires burning out of control in the west, ancient ice packs collapsing in the north, extreme flooding in some parts of the world, desperate droughts in others. The signs that our little blue planet is in crisis are all around us.

Despite that evidence, it seems most people prefer to pretend climate change isn't happening and carry on as if it's business as usual. I don't get it. Do they imagine someone else i…

Summer's end

Summer's not really over yet. Here in Nova Scotia, we often get warm days well into September. But there's no question the end is in sight. The nights are much cooler, and there's a crispness to the air  - even during the day - that reminds us winter's not far away.

When I was young, I loved September. It felt so full of possibility - new teachers, new activities, new friends. The thrill of shopping for new outfits and school supplies, the pleasure of cracking the spines on new textbooks, and the joy of reconnecting with friends and teachers made going back to school a pleasure. It's been decades since September involved going back to school but I still think of it as the reak "new year"- the time when everything begins anew.

I suppose that's why I like taking vacation at the end of August - so that returning to work feels a little like going back to school, which takes some of the sting out of it.

Returning to work will be especially hard this Septem…


I read an article last week about the stages people to go through when they're coming to terms with the fact that death is imminent. The author's observed that because we tend to think dying is something that happens to other people, it almost always comes as a surprise when it happens to us - which is a shame really. If we truly understood how precious and fleeting our time on this planet was, I suspect we'd make better use of it.

Husband tells me that he often thinks about the worst that could happen - not because he's naturally depressed or pessimistic - quite the opposite, in fact - but because it helps him remember to be grateful for all the good things in his life. I'm not sure I have the right temperament to adopt that approach myself but I think he's on to something.

I'm intrigued with the notion of "death doulas", who help people navigate the dying process, and encouraged by the many stories of people who were able able to die in more me…

Puppy smiles

If you'd asked a few years ago, I would have told you I liked dogs but was really a cat person. I preferred cats because they're generally more self-sufficient and make you work for their affection. Also, because there's nothing better than a purring cat to help you relax.

But that was before I got a dog - a Jack Russell Terrier to be precise. Now, I can't imagine my life without her - particularly, her smiles, which melt my heart every time I see them.

The way she approaches things is so totally life-affirming. She lives entirely in the moment - ready for each new adventure, happiest when she's with the people she loves, content to savour the good things that comes her way without worrying about tomorrow.

I'm not sure I'd feel the same way about any other dog. After all, our girl is pretty special. In fact, I sometimes think she's rather cat-like. She's got an independent streak that's very feline, and loves snuggling her people. She's also…

Good people

Husband lost his cell phone Friday night. He dropped it while we were stopped by the side of the road so he could have a pee. He didn't realize it was missing until yesterday afternoon, and, by the time we went looking for it there, it was gone. As it turned out, a fellow named Steve, who was in town for an event yesterday, found it when he stopped for a pee at the very same spot. I kid you not.

Needless to say, we were relieved to get Steve's message this afternoon. Though Husband only uses his phone to phone, text and check  email, it was nerve-wracking to consider just how vulnerable we'd be if bad guys got access to our personal information.

Fortunately, there are a lot more good people than bad in the world - like the gentleman who found Husband's phone - but sometimes that's hard to remember when we see such awful stuff in the news all day every day. It's important to try though. Otherwise, we go through life being suspicious of others, when the fact is m…

Hippy dippy Candy

Like many girls of my generation, I spent a decade or so in the Girl Guides - first as a Brownie, then as a Guide, a Pathfinder, and finally a Junior Leader.  Looking back, I value those experiences a lot. They taught me a great deal about teamwork, community building, and learning outside my comfort zone.

My Girl Guide leader was a woman my sisters and I still refer to as "Captain Beacock". I admired her tremendously but she also scared the living bejesus out of me. Disappointing Captain - ever - wasn't an option. On one particularly memorable wilderness camping expedition, she insisted a small group of us (the oldest of whom was 13 or 14) spend the night in a leaky lean-to in the midst of a hurricane. I kid you not. In the end, other leaders, concerned we might be smote by falling trees, rescued us so we spent the last part of the night in a warm, dry cabin nearby, but she'd have left us in the woods if she'd had her way.

Our Pathfinder leader was the complete …

So much stuff

Husband and I are in the midst of moving from a house in the city to a place that we’ve had in the country for several years. The whole time we've owned the two places, we made a point of accumulating as little as possible because we knew we’d be consolidating to one place eventually.  Unfortunately, we didn't do as good a job of that as we thought. Two weeks after our move, we're still struggling to figure out what to pass along and where to put all the stuff we want to keep. Our country house, which always felt so airy and bright, suddenly feels far too small and dark.

When you stop to think about it, it's extraordinary how much stuff even regular folks have in affluent countries like Canada. Most of us have more clothes and shoes than we'll ever get round to wearing, electronic devices and kitchen appliances that we use only rarely, and souvenirs and photographs that we look at once or twice a decade at most. The bibliophiles amongst us casually accumulate hund…

Just one thing - the concept

I've been struggling to find my blogging voice lately. When I first launched my main blog, Figuring it out, back in 2008 I had some fairly big ideas about what I wanted it to be. But then life got busy, I started writing about too many subjects, and it became little more than an online diary - not what I'd intended at all.

This blog is an attempt to reboot my blogging habit by disciplining myself to write every day about just one thing - an experience, an insight, a person, a story in the news, a feeling, whatever - in 500 words or less. My ultimate goal? To write well about something that matters to me. How hard can that be? I'm about to find out.