Of substance

You know how people refer to the best possible outcome of getting what you want as being “of your dreams”? Job of your dreams, man of your dreams, dream house, etc.

Except that it occurred to me that my dreams are typically weird, disjointed, and mostly quickly forgotten.

I’d be ok with the trappings of a decently crafted reality, I think. 🙂


I rarely get around to cataloging or chronicling the books I read — one of those things I always mean to do, but I wanted to make note of a couple of recent ones.

Juliet, Naked is Nick Hornby’s latest, and while I’ve appreciated his wit and nuanced understanding of human relationships a number of times before, I’d have to say this has been my favourite. Most likely because it was just the right book at the right time.

I mean, really, a couple who complement each other well but have never been a great romance getting jolted from their comfortable existence by assorted circumstances, etc. Sound familiar? 🙂 And it closes with hope, though not a saccharine, all-loose-ends-tied-up ending, which I do appreciate.

The other is Three Cups of Tea, which is fascinating and inspiring and probably the first and only book to make me think, “Hmm…” about climbing some of the world’s most perilous mountains. And that’s not even the point or most inspiring part of the story! 🙂

It’s the story of Greg Mortenson (co-written with David Oliver Relin) and his accidental life path change to begin building schools in the poorest and most remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I’m not even done this one yet, and am loving it. It’s incredibly evocative of the regions, the people, the poverty, the mountains.

One of the biggest benefits of his and his team’s work is that education and that sort of self-sufficiency and sovereignty for those people is one of the best ways to fight extremism. In the very areas that produced the Taliban. And not only are they turning the boys away from that life, they’re educating girls, too, which I support with every fibre of my being, unsurprisingly. Definitely something I’m happy to contribute to.

Congratulations, United States of America!

I think all the words have been said, the feelings felt, the images captured. I, for one, high-tailed it home when our internet connection crapped out at work around 11:30am yesterday morning. Sure, I could have watched the proceedings in the evening, and will be able to watch them online forevermore, but when you can witness history, it’s good to do so, I think.

As my small contribution to magnificent hyperbole that’s been flying around, and to express my hopes for all the expectations that have been heaped on this administration, allow me to simply offer up this.

(Link courtesy of Andrew.)


A decade ago today I got on a plane. It started with a quick hop from Pearson in Toronto to JFK in New York. I remember when I arrived it was dark and pouring rain. On the shuttle between terminals, I had a hilarious and surreal conversation with the porter about bulldozers.

Continue reading “10”

Wait and Hope

One of the things I become more regularly aware of as I get older, and, at the same time, of which I am oft-reminded when I still frequently forget, is that my social sphere is a microcosm. When most folks around you believe what you believe, and like what you like, it can be easy to start to think that either a) that’s “normal”, or b) that everyone else believes and likes the same things.

I’ve had the conversation with several people recently centering on “I don’t understand how anyone could vote Republican”. Of course, “Republican” in this case not only refers to political affiliation, but also implies a large and nebulous set of social and cultural values typically more “conservative” than my own.

Basically, I don’t really understand how people can hold those opinions and values, either, because I don’t share them, but I know they exist. And I know they’re approximately half of the folks populating our continent.

Continue reading “Wait and Hope”


How to be Outstanding

As someone who’s spent the better part of a decade finding the end of that particular rainbow?

Yeah, save yourself a lot of time and effort. Don’t be like me. 🙂

So what’re you REALLY trying to say?

Sometimes your subconscious will serve up a dream featuring an egregious lack of subtlety. Not content with that, it will also add in elements so mockingly rude that it will be a blessing when this dream is truncated by the alarm going off. Which, of course, leaves you starting the day feeling lonely, depressed, and annoyed.

Additionally frustrated by the fact that your lucidity and control — usually present in dreams — was quite noticeably stripped from you on this particular occasion, you will want to punch your subconscious in the head.

Which would mean it would doubly win, since you’d be punching your own head, and maybe that’s just the kind of wakeup call it figured you needed anyway.



Today an ex-co-worker who has been in largely the same position as my Mom was (hating her job and counting the days to retirement from several years out), gave her notice at work. After the business day on December 7th, she will be Officially Retired. It’s a couple years earlier than she’d planned, but her family agrees they’ll be fine, and it’s for the best.

She’s already feeling better, and is off for a shopping weekend with her daughters. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate, and I couldn’t be happier for her.

(And yes, at the same time I remain aware of the woman I know who isn’t going to get the chance to live the retirement dream…)

Pondering and in wonder.

There is a woman I know who I tend to think, with some regularity, is nuts. Or at least somewhat senile. Somewhere in there. Somewhere a bit askew. Somewhere where I’m sure she makes sense to herself.

Then every now and then she’ll come up with something positively brimming with insight, kindness, wisdom, and usefulness. And it leaves me pondering and in wonder.

At those times she makes me think of Women of Old. Those sages and crones and queens and midwives and mothers of all that have shaped our archetypes and societies. Those women who were target numero uno when patriarchal crackdowns were deemed “necessary”. The most unknown and the most dangerous and the most sought out and the most valuable.

Makes me think that it’s something to aspire to. That the moments when people might think I’m nuts or senile are okay. I’ll know where I’m at. I’ll have earned the right to be askew. I’ll have lived enough not to care what others think. It would be very cool to leave people pondering and in wonder. And to be considered unknown and dangerous and sought out and valuable.

I’ve got a ways to go… 🙂