Friday, October 31, 2008
A Close up of the cake:
"You can be a powerful speaker right now, especially when you are pounding the table on political matters, or waxing eloquent about the latest adventures of your favorite movie stars. Try to put some of that energy to use in career-building projects."
From the Facebook Astrology Scorpio Horoscope:
"Your workplace is about to undergo a dramatic series of changes, likely due to some investment in communications or networking devices. If you work at home, you could be buying a new computer or signing up for a new Internet account. Regardless, you'll have much better connections when the day is done."
From today's newspaper horoscope:
"You're too wise to complain. Complaining is a waste of time, energy, and breath. This is your lot and you're going to make the best of it. Actually you're quite brilliant when you get down to it."
And from today's birthday in the newspaper:
"Your bright outlook makes it easier for you to see your way this year. Past trials are over and you look forward to handling whatever life brings. Before the new year begins there's a creative, though risky business endeavour to consider. Take the only path that's both fun and lucrative."
The cries of "FLUTE!!!" "FLUTE!!!!" "FLUTE!!!!!!" from Ms H that marked the morning cast the decision in momentary doubt, but with a sigh, a stretch and an unraised paw all was forgiven ...
Welcome HOME little Dog !!!
Fair enough ... I can take criticism, and I will publically offer an apology to Noahkila, and to those who were offended by the posting ...
HOWEVER, for the record - Noahkila is a 14 year old Boy who can NOW look his 5' 11" father IN THE EYE, and is the SAME physical size as me, and is STILL GROWING ... I would NOT have played the joke on him if I didn't think he would appreciate it, and if there was any risk of harm to him ... it was for the shock factor ... and clearly some question the appropriateness of it ... and I'll accept that.
And I will again apologize to Noahkila for it ... and I hear the comment from one reader who suggests that I should now watch my back, something I do - payback's a bitch !!
Dale Evans - 1912
Dan Rather - October 31st
David Ogden Stiers - 1942
Jane Pauley - 1950
Peter Jackson - 1961
Rob Schneider - 1963
and of course:
John Candy - 1950
Now as a present to MYSELF, here is a John Candy sketch from Sesame Street
"I'm seeing and hearing, but BOY I'm NOT believing ...":
Back in the mid-80's my uncle grew MASSIVE pumpkins on the farm not far from Stratford ... one year he gave me one as a birthday present. We had to hollow it out BEFORE we could load it in the back of my car and drive it into town ... then I carved it into the BIGGEST Jack O'Lantern I've ever had:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
He lugged, with great difficulty a couple of VERY VERY heavy boxes down the stairs as I piled more at the top of the steps ... He complained about the weight of the boxes and commented that he could be crushed if he wasn't careful on the stairs ...
I stacked two very large and very heavy boxes of books at the top of the stairs, then found three very large and VERY EMPTY boxes which I then placed on top of the first two ... As Noahkila came up the stairs and saw the looming pile of boxes to be moved he said - "you can't be serious."
"Oh it won't be that bad ..." and as I spoke I knocked the top three boxes DOWN the stairs !!
I WISH I had a camera in town to record the look of absolute HORROR that washed over Noahkila's face as the three boxes tipped down the stairs towards him ... he shrieked - "Nnnnnooooo!!!!" and reached out to block the falling cardboard ...
The look of horror then changed quickly to surprise and relief as the EMPTY boxes bounced into his outstretched arms ... Looking up at me he tried to reclaim the cool teen persona as he said flatly - "YOU SUCK!!!!" ... for my part I was doubled over with laughter ...
Noahkila doesn't share my contention that it was an immensely hilarious practical joke ... although he does smile at the recollection, and methinks his "ha ha, it was hilarious," belies an enjoyment of a good practical joke, even if HE was the butt of it ...
That's why I love my boy ... he knows how to take a joke !!!!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The CBC headline "No Laughing Matter: Satirical Magazine FRANK folds" caught my attention ...
While I'm not a subscriber to FRANK magazine, for a time in the mid-90's a friend repeatedly supplied me with a number of his back issues of the irreverent, hilarious and cutting edge magazine ... I LOVED IT. They made you think and made you laugh simultaneously ... often they could both offend and entertain in the same breath too.
Frank was a breath of fresh air in a world dripping with Reagan-omics, the Mulroney era and all the brutal silliness that era represented ... it changed and adapted and continued on through the 90's and the Aughts, ending its print run with the current issue ... Though I haven't read an entire issue in quite sometime, I for one will mourn its passing ... FRANK was willing to say what others might think, and it was willing to take chances no one else would ... I have respect for that, both in politics and in religion ...
What the world needs is MORE Frank Magazines, not less ...
I'm sorry to see it go ... no doubt Brian and the rest of the Mulroney clan aren't sorry to see it's demise, nor Mike Duffy either ...
Christian entertainer Randy Stonehill summarized it well, when back in the mid80's he offered his song "We Are His Hands" in response to the famine in Africa that spawned "Do They Know it's Christmas," "We are the world," and "Tears are NOT enough" that I featured previously.
Stonehill's recording has been refered to previously here (click here), and remains a powerful call to faithful action ...
Stonehill's words are:
"But we are His hands
We are His voice
We are the ones who must
make the choice
And if it isn't now,
tell me when?
If it isn't you, then tell me
who will save the children?
Building on the concept of putting our faith into action, I offered the sermon posted over at Meditative Moments ... click here to check it out.
Shalom and Sala'am
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The slightly arrogant American response (the full 7 minute + version):
and the beautiful Canadian Northern Lights' offering:
It's hard to believe it's been over 24 years since these songs were written ... and yet, the problem of hunger, poverty and homelessness remains ...
WE CAN AND MUST DO MORE !!!!!
Even in the teeth of an economic meltdown, we have MORE than enough to share and help one another ... like they say - "tears are NOT enough !!"
May it be so ...
Friday, October 24, 2008
Following the reading came the usual question and answer period with the small handful of people present, then over coffee (Fair Trade of course !!), a casual conversation ensued that was described by Keith as "visiting" ... it was an evening well spent.
The reading was entertaining, and lead to the purchase of Michael's books for reading this fall ... but more importantly, as the conversation turned to criminal activity, Michael, and those present encouraged me to write the story of the criminal acts that dramatically altered the trajectory of my life and left a wake of debris and unresolved grief across a broad swath of Western Manitoba ...
This morning I awoke with the realization that the story needs to be told ... and my journey to wholeness will never be fully realized until I share the truth about what has happened, instead of letting the toxic lies and manipulations continue to prevail ...
Today standing outside in the pre-dawn darkness with Flute, waiting for her to stop playing in the leaves and do her morning business, I felt more strongly than EVER before the yearning to write ... and the story of what happened in Minnedosa began to tell itself within me ...
Snippets and echoes of what happened, and the hell that was unleashed in a quiet prairie town began to roil within me ... voices whispered and cried out ... scenes unfolded and the stage was set ... this morning the pen is poised over the blank parchment, and the story is ready to unfold ...
The only challenge now is to find the time and space to record it ...
Stay tuned ...
Organized in conjunction with Westman Immigrant Services, the day long event brought together approximately 25 agencies from the community and offered the public the opportunity to come and learn more about them, while offering the groups and agencies the chance to sit and chat amongst themselves and engage in some vital networking opportunities that are sometimes hard to come by in our busy-ness ...
To read more about the event check out my latest contribution to The Wheat City Journal by clicking here.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Today though, I found a story that BEGGED to be commented on ... The British Legion has created a Remembrance Day mascot called Poppy Man. He has a site on Facebook and if you google-image search him you'll come up with more than a couple of pics of him ...
The story on CBC was titled: "Poppy Man tours war zone to launch Remembrance Day Appeal" it caught my attention simply because it did ... nothing flashy, nothing glamourous - just a simple head line that made me say - "Huh? I wonder what that's about ..."
I'm intrigued ... I've asked to become a friend of Poppy Man on Facebook, and I've been reading some of the other stories about him ... and what I like is the simple reason for creating him - they were looking for something to promote the poppy that wasn't a celebrity, and that highlighted the reason for wearing the little red flower !!
How cool is THAT ???
Check out Poppy Man's BLOG by clicking here !!
Check out the NEWS from the Royal British Legion by clicking here !!
and check out some of the posters with Poppy Man by clicking here !!
An hour later, a thoroughly tuckered out little Flute collapsed on the couch for a sleep:
No doubt dreaming of more adventures in her new home ... though I'm sure she also misses her little brother and their canine companions at the Foster Home ...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This week I have an assortment of super-bouncy balls, or vending machine super balls as they are commonly called ... this morning in the kitchen I played catch with Ms H.'s cat Chrysanthemum ... then at work I bounced one of them around while letting my brain work through some stuff ...
Like yesterday's quest for candy ... my brain recalled the many super balls I've had over the years ... I once even owned a real black coloured Wham-O Super ball in addition to the bright red, the clear with sparkles, and a HUGE number of the little one inch superballs bought for a quarter from a vending machine, usually in the entrance way of the grocery store ...
Bring out a super ball and you get one of two reactions: a smile of recollection as those around you recall thier own memories of such frivilous fun and who enjoy the unfettered moment, OR a frown of disapproval ... so far at work the smiles have prevailed ... one co-worker commented - "I used to do THAT in my mom's kitchen, and it drove her nuts ..."
Such is the joy of the super ball !!!!
Sometimes bouncing a superball around the office brings a little bit of fun and frivolity and we all need a little more of BOTH !!!
Click here to see a tribute site on superballs !!!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As I was savouring the tootsie roll pop my mind wandered into some dusty old files and recalled the cardboard barrels that used to stand at the end of grocery check out aisles ... the ones with the little Scottish boy festooned across their surface, and filled with bundles of Kerr lollipops ... my favourites were the black licorise flavoured ones and the red cherry flavoured ... I would eat the other coloured flavours first and enjoy the black and red one's last ... and yes, before anyone says it - I ALSO EAT MY RED SMARTIES LAST ... I always have !!
But the recollection of the Kerr Lollipops got me thinking about OTHER candy from my youth ... there were the soft Kerr Toffees at Great Aunt Zipporah's, the hard candy humbugs and fruit drops in tins at Grandma and Grandpa's and licorise all-sorts and pretzils on the coffee table at Audery's ... my childhood was filled with a HUGE variety of candies and treats ... I've mused before about the Halloween Kisses that MUST be part of my seasonal enjoyment ...
Tonight though I'm on a nostalgic walk down a confectionary memory lane ... if only I could remember the name of the company who made the tinned candies ...
Monday, October 20, 2008
M and I have established two households in Brandon, and in the process have been able to create a civil and caring space for both of us to interact with one another, and for both of us to remain involved parents in the lives of our children ... and for that civility I am thankful. We may not be able to live together, but by remaining friends we have not dishonoured the 15 years of marriage, memories and life we shared prior to our seperation.
Today though I picked up a book at her house and began reading ... the book was :
I've reflected on the writings of Dr Mate previously when I discovered his book Scattered Minds, that wrestles with the many issues involved in ADD, something that is near and dear to my heart. But in this book, along with Dr Neufeld, Mate offers some timely reflection on parenting, and helping teens address and overcome the challenges of peer attachment (a deeper more persuasive and perhaps more dangerous form of peer pressure).
Mate and Neufeld offer powerful perceptions of the forces modern teens must confront and live with as they move through the world. Identifying bullying as a symptom of a wounded soul, and seeing the early on-set of sexuality among teens as an attempt to find the fulfillment that a healthy family with appropriate attachment makes entirely too much sense. The commodification of sex across the breadth of our society has taken something profoundly intimate and made it into a simple physical act devoid of love and care. It only makes sense that teens living in homes that lack respectful love and unconditional care would opt to find solace for the ache they feel in the "arms" of their peers.
As I read Mate and Neufeld's words I reflected back on the time I spent with each of my children and can say that I learned early enough in their lives to prioritize what was truly important. Board and committee meetings could wait, and functions where my children were not welcome, were not functions I needed to attend. Far from being perfect, I realize that I indeed missed too many birthday parties and school presentations earlier in thier lives because I had erroneously placed my job as minister ahead of my life as parent. Thankfully, the last two years have taught me that at the end of the day our job will pass away, but our place in our families is eternal.
As I watch my growing children move into the world and claim their independence, I can only hope that they are able to face and address peer attachment in a healthy and wholesome way. M and I have tried to be good parents to all three of our children, and to be present in their lives in healthy and affirming ways. Making a point of having our evening meals together, even now, has meant that the events of the day are discussed, argued and laughed over ... but more importantly, our children have a place to safely discuss what's happening in their lives and their world.
I hear daily the sad stories of children who lose thier way, and the struggle of parents who no longer know who thier kids are ... hearing Mate and Neufeld's words, I realize that too often parents are too busy, too selfish or too self-involved to spend time, energy and emotion on being present to their children in healthy ways. Time taken over a meal is a start ... time spent in conversation, or playing a silly board game is a continuation of what's important ... but being open to heart to heart conversations about the issues of the heart that are involved in growing up and finding one's way in the world is the core of a healthy life that can face and overcome peer attachment with minimal lasting damage to the young people who may erroneous chose a path of bullying or promiscuity to feed the aching hunger that lies within ...
Talking to your kids is a good start ... taking the time to really listen to what they are feeling and saying is the path to a successful and healthy relationship with them ... It may mean setting our own priorities aside, and having the courage to own up to our mistakes and our errors, but in the long run the relationship we build with our children will be undergirded with love and respect, and that alone will help our teens grow into healthy adults ...
Today I'm thankful for the children in my life, and I feel humbled by them and the joy they bring to my life ... and I realize I may not say THAT often enough to THEM ...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
But today, when Powell came out in support of Barack Obama as President, I could have stood up and applauded ...
From the CBC article on the story:
"But I firmly believe that at this point in America's history, we need a president that will not just continue — even with a new face and with the changes and with some maverick aspects — who will not just continue basically the policies that we have been following in recent years," Powell said.
"I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain."
That McCain replied by saying that he has the support of four former Republican Secretarys of State including Kissinger, James Baker and Alexander Haig says quite a lot ... wasn't it Haig who crowed - "I'm in charge now," when the news of the assassination attempt on Reagan was being reported ... kind of tells you the type of support Mr McCain has ...
And so we continue to wait:
Yesterday afternoon a text and a phone call were made between two cell phones - one in Brandon Manitoba and one in St John's Newfoundland !! In today's technology saturated world, such a happening is pretty mundane, but had it NOT been for Marconi, today's radio, cell and now digital communication wouldn't be possible ...
I doubt Marconi would have cared that almost 107 years later two friends are able to chat half way across a continent ... I'm sure as he gazed across the cold grey Atlantic Ocean, Marconi's immediate thought was getting somewhere warm and cozy after his crazy experiment was completed ... it was sentiment shared by one half of the modern conversationists !!!
For the moment the mere thought of what is possible with modern technology is truly staggering ... and yet too many people approach such moments with fear ... a sentiment Marconi and his kind dared not entertain, otherwise we'd still be sitting in flickering candlelight reading our books huddling closer to the hearth for warmth ... Technology and change can be a marvelous thing !!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
joined in the festivities:
sorry it was a little late,
but better late than never at all !!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
a crowd gathered as the western leg of the campaign
came to an end.
To welcome the organizers was
His Worship, Mayor Dave Burgess, of the City of Brandon,
The Honourable Merv Tweed,
Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris
Executive Director of Winnipeg Harvest
and others including Marla Somersall,
the Executive Director of Brandon's
Samaritan House Ministries
who were recieving all of the food collected today.
200 000 + pounds of food for Food Banks across the Province,
including Samaritan House.
The goal was 100 000 pounds for the whole province !!!
The target was met and surpassed !!!
Unfortunately, with 18 000lbs of food going OUT
of Samaritan House each and every month,
the thousands of pounds of food collected today,
is only a temporary success !!!
The needs increase by the day ... but today,
WORLD FOOD DAY,
we reminded the world, and each other to do MORE!!