Posts Tagged: love

best trip planner ever

It’s our last dinner in Alberta on a lovely patio on a lovely tree-lined street, and I’m feeling grateful for this man. The best trip planner ever. He planned every leg of the trip, made all the arrangements and did all of the driving so I could sit back and really see the Rockies and the Plains and the Badlands and all the other parts of this amazing province I’d never visited before. What a good time we had – every minute of it. This goes down in the books as one of the best trips I’ve ever taken, and I didn’t even have to leave Canada.

Best trip planner ever! Last dinner in Alberta. #edmonton #doesvacationhavetoend?


The holidays are coming. This is the kind of song (project) I think needs dusting off right now. Lately the political kerfuffle has worn me down; in my city and beyond. You?  Maybe we could all take a rest from it all for a little while as as we settle in for winter? 


ride and reflect

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Road Trip Part Two:  Homeward.  In which we reflect on our family and all we're grateful for.  Another stellar weekend – Lucky me.

I could give them that, at least

I came across this picture a couple of weeks ago.  Ever since then I keep picking it up and looking at it.  Of course any mother gets wistful on looking at pictures of those who were once her babies, but this one has grabbed me in a way that’s not just nostalgic.


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Yeah the picture is really sweet.  Carly sharing her favourite blanket (an old, worn crib sheet) with her brand new baby sister.  She is just awake from a nap, still sucking her thumb, sleepy and content.  Kelsey’s tiny, brand new head, still pink, is tucked near.  Her eyes squeeze closed,  still clutching to sleep and that warm place, unaware, uncaring of any world beyond that cocoon. 

I see both my grown up women-daughters in those faces.  And it moves me because  what I also see in their faces are sisters already acquainted in comfort and rightness.  One welcoming and one entering.  I see brand new sisters already glad to know one another, already together.   

Today they’re twenty-nine and twenty-seven, and all these years (decades) later I wish I could protect them from harm; wanting so much to shield them from those things that will hurt them.  Still aching to know I can’t do that. 

You bring a child onto the planet knowing she will have to navigate the waves of of the world; she will have to know hurt and pain, and ultimately these are among the things that grow a life.  Every harm that comes to her strips a little off you, and yet every year she is more beautiful for having sailed those seas. 

I can’t protect them like I could when I wrapped them up together on the sofa – but there was something I was able to do – give them a sister.  I was able to give them a place to go where they’ll get all the love and support and comfort they need.

Lately I've been really grateful for that.

Having a sister – beautiful thing number 86.

boxing day

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Today we loafed about visiting with my family, first over breakfast at Dad and Julie's and then over lunch of leftovers of what was a magificent meal at Jeff and Carol's.  Every Boxing Day it's the same: we're all a little tired and a little bleary and coming down off the big meal and glasses of wine and weeks-long build-up, and always I think this day is as good as Christmas itself.  It's the day in which we have time to process that everlasting lesson – how blessed we are.

boxing day

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Arriving back in Toronto after Christmas in St. Catharines.  The Princes' Gates at the Canadian National Exhibition.  

Today we loafed about visiting with my family, first over breakfast at Dad and Julie's and then over lunch of leftovers of what was a magificent meal at Jeff and Carol's.  Every Boxing Day it's the same: we're all a little tired and a little bleary and coming down off the big meal and glasses of wine and weeks-long build-up, and always I think this day is as good as Christmas itself.  It's the day in which we have time to process that everlasting lesson – how blessed we are.

two and a third days and a little more

Last weekend was delicious. The days were a blessing; crisp and sunny, the kind of autumn days you need to be out in because you know that with every weekend that passes, these kinds of days are less likely to occur for… well you don’t want to think about how many months.

And it was more than that.

It started with spontaneous “beer o’clock” on Friday with family, then moved into a weekend that was about wandering around, changing minds, making diversions, sharing meals, turning your face to the sun and letting it slide its arms around your shoulders against the cool air, exploring neighbourhoods, watching diamonds floating on the lake, taking pictures of freighters, long kisses, longer conversations, sharing old pictures, beholding skylines, sleeping in, drinking cesars with big breakfasts, standing on the street corner deciding which way to walk home and then a crying like an idiot in the middle of a busy station as you collect your long-away sister.

That weekend – lets not bother to quantify the beauty. Lets call it all beautiful thing number seventy-two.

Breakfast CesarTo my non-Canadian friends – the reason you don't have Cesars in your country is because we're not willing to share them.

Late October Patio by Sugar BeachA sunny patio on a late Saturday morning in late October looking at diamonds on the water on Lake Ontario.

pissing people off with peace love and understanding

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm sorry to be bringing this up again, because I know that to most of the rest of the world, Canadian national concerns are not sexy.  I mean, we don’t have leadership candidates feeding us crazy-interesting sound bites like: hurricane Irene is god’s wrath at our spending too much money on our people.  (Seriously, I read that today.  Is that true?)  Our leaders are just not that interesting, even when they lie.  Anyway, for the most part, we don't care about your disinterest.

But I am compelled to write about the events of the last week because I think they're really significant. These events have triggered an expression of the desire in us to know a different public reality.  In this video you'll see the power of a message perpetuating that desire, from the only politician in the room who was dead.

Find in the video below a former politician and current humanitarian delivering that powerful message of hope and encouragement.  The message pissed a whole bunch of people off, but it inspired a whole bunch more.  

If you’re not Canadian, there are some things you should know before you watch:

This was a state funeral.  Jack Layton was the leader of Canada's official opposition to the government.  Our biggest dignitaries are all there. The Queen is represented by the Governor General. I make note that it's a state funeral because you might not think so seeing all that clapping and standing and cheering.

You also need to know that the reaction in that room is not just representative of Layton's party supporters who were present.  Thousands had collected outside and along the route of the funeral procession.  People showed up to City Hall in Toronto and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and other cities to pay personal tribute all week. 

You need to know that everybody knew how sick Jack was, but when he died everybody was shocked anyway. Nobody anticipated the reaction to this loss because Canadians just don't act this way. 

What I see in this eulogy, and in the response to it, and in the response to Jack's death in general, is that I am not alone in my rejection of the anger and ugliness that has permeated our social and political realms.  What I see are people that are finished with it; we don't want to be held apart anymore.

Please watch; it’s Stephen Lewis, one of the most gifted and passionate orators alive, paying homage to a man's life work and ideals.  You'll be glad you did.

(And if you do I promise to shut up about it.)

(The Canadian politcs part, not the peace love and understanding part.)


more wisdom

Believe in yourself and believe in love.  Love something.  We’ve got to learn to love something deeply.  I think it’s love.  It sounds sentimental as hell, but I really think it is.  To paint a leaf, or a twig, or a piece of dung from a horse, it doesn’t matter; the shadow it casts can be wonderful.

Andrew Wyeth (the Wisdom project)


centuries and decades and seeing

I really dig some of the philosophies explored by the literary sets of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly transcendentalism and romanticism. I absolutely subscribe to the notion that the individual locates any true spiritual experience within the self and experience, and that doctrines borne in religious or political establishments were not intended for the benefit of someone like me. I don't see how that has to be so far off from the general message promoted by every one of those doctrines, but then again, everything can be twisted around to say something else.

No doubt my arrival in the 20th century – starting in the sixties and coming of age in the seventies – has something to do with that questioning of establishments in general. But it's more than being anti-establishiment. It's about transformation; about finding those things that elevate my experience from its earthly hangout.

Sometime in the nineties, one of my more esteemed English professors, Eugene McNamara, was lecturing about one of the harbingers of transcendentalism and preeminent orators of his time, Ralph Waldo Emerson. He suggested that ol’ R.W. would not much appreciate finding his essays chopped up into quotes on fridge magnets and stationery on drug store shelves. I recall reaching into my bag and pulling out a small datebook and showing my friend Dale in the next seat the Emerson quote providing insight for the month of March.

I suppose Emerson didn’t anticipate the reduced attention spans of those who would inhabit the twenty-twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I'm afraid we like our ideas succinct.

But I sure would have loved to hear him express this [not succinct] idea aloud in a talk about living a successful life:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson might hate it, but let's call him and his really big ideas beautiful thing number 44.