Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Books, Books, More Books

I was in a bookstore today and I enjoyed my time there very much.  It seemed at that point that I was fuelled by enthusiasm and not excess caffeine.  The excess caffeine came later.  Anyways, I walked around and found several books that I may want to read.  I felt hungry for them.  It was exciting.

I love books and reading and bookstores and today I wondered exactly what that means.  Sure, some people would probably just enjoy the experience, maybe buy a book or two and leave.  Not me.  But the question that I ask when someone loves books is "What is it that we really love?"  It's not that I love only one kind of book - I like fiction, memoirs, local history, writing and other genres.  Is there a common thread?  Is it the visual element of books, or is it words, knowledge, escape, learning?  Maybe different books offer us different thrills.  (Am I a total geek if I find books thrilling?  Hmm.)  But it still seems strange to me that if something is in book form (and e-books are fine with me too), I feel it has something to offer.

I suspose it's not really worth questioning this love.  It's one I share with many other people and since reading is a hobby that's not dangerous to others or self-destructive, I should enjoy it and stop thinking so much.  I'm so glad there are books, book reviews and bookstores.  Now if I could just finish reading the many books I have on the go, I might let myself buy a new book or two.  Here's to being immersed in books and loving it!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Just Don't Know

There may be a topic here worthy of some words but I don't know that I have the understanding to come up with the words.  In Libya, there is horrible chaos right now.  I simply don't know what it's like to be in an environment like that.  People there know.  And even though until last week or so their lives would have been very different from mine in Canada, they would be used to a much more peaceful environment than the one they find themselves in now.  People are staying inside or fleeing for their lives. 

On the news, I saw people leaving with some of their belongings.  They couldn't take much and I expect getting out with their lives was a much higher priority.  They had mattresses rolled up.  They want a place to lie down comfortably, wherever they will end up lying down.

We go to bed each night.  Do we, can we have any concept of how fortunate we are to have a mattress in a room in a relatively safe home?  Our lives carry their own worries and perils but when we have a home and a homeland that is peaceful, we have a lot.

I wonder where those people and their mattresses are now.  I wonder if they have found any peace.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Maybe We Can All Play The Banjo

I am reading a book entitled "An Object of Beauty"  that's written by Steve Martin.  Yes, that Steve Martin.  He's an actor, comedian, writer, and art collector.  According to Wikipedia, he is also a producer and composer.  Oh, and he plays the banjo.

It's easy to feel inadequate when we learn that someone is accomplished in as many areas as that.  How can he do all those things?  What have I been doing?  Does it help that he has money and doesn't have to do the grunt work in life that takes time away from other things?  Or is he just someone who's really interested in different subjects and willing to apply himself to them?  Can we all, if we want, excel in a number of areas?

The concept of human potential is mind-boggling to me.  Wow, if only everyone's potential could be fully realized.  Is that impossible?  That gets into bigger questions than I can answer.  What I do know is that there's lots to do in life and we can pursue interesting opportunites and live life as fully as possible.  This does not have to include banjo playing but it can.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Get Thin

In California, people can call 1-800-GET-THIN to find out about weight loss options.  One of the options is the lap band and tragically some people have died after having chosen it.

On tv the other day, I saw Carrie Fisher.  She is advertising the Jenny Craig program now.  She has gained weight.  She wants to lose it.  It doesn't matter that she is an accomplished actor and author.  She's overweight - she can win back the public's favour by losing weight.

Weight loss is a big business and a big priority in our society these days.  People are held in high regard for being successful at it.  While we can say that people lose weight and want to lose weight to be healthy, and some people do, societal pressure plays a significant role.  It leads us to feelings of desperation to lose weight, often desperate actions to lose weight, and sometimes horrible consequences.  We can feel we have to do it.

I am not immune to these feelings.  I gained weight.  Around the same time, I was gaining feelings of worth as well and getting to know and like myself.  I felt better but I looked fat.  I knew that I was fat.  And I didn't like the way I felt the world was looking back at me.  On the outside, I was not the same person and none of the internal growth was visible.

I wish I could say that I found a way to rise above these feelings.  I didn't.  I started working out and expected to lose weight rather rapidly.  It didn't happen.  My physician got me into a weight loss program and now, slowly, with exercise and better eating habits, I am losing weight.  This doesn't make me a hero - I am doing what society is telling me to do.  It turns out that I love working out and I like eating somewhat healthier food but, to be honest, I want to lose weight so I look thin.  I feel the pressure.

I don't know what the answers are.  Maybe if we could just establish a relationship with food in which we eat it for sustenance alone, we would do better.  Maybe we need to move more in our lives.  Maybe food ads should not be allowed to tell us that certain foods will make us feel happier or younger or more loved unless the food is nutritious and might truly help us feel good. (Chunks Ahoy cookies want to be our friend on Facebook and we'll be reunited with our youth, apparently, if we accept the invitation).  Why is it that scary, fattening, unhealthy eating habits are so prevalent in a society obsessed with thinness?  How can we not go a little crazy in this setting?

Ideally, we can find a happy medium.  We can eat more healthy and not dwell on weight.  I hope.  Until then, individually, we can try our best, avoid desperate measures and live our lives as wonderfully as we can.  Living well is the important thing after all.


Friday, February 11, 2011

That's where the action is

My son and I went downtown today.  We've done this before when he has a day off school.  I don't think it's an outing that everyone takes their child on but he and I have gone since he was in his stroller.

Downtown used to be where I spent a lot of my time.  I worked there for several years before my son was born and I enjoyed the energy, the lunches I spent on my own and with others, the shopping.  I missed it when I started staying home.

My son is interested in buildings.  Sometimes he takes an architectural book with him and we track down some of the buildings listed and look inside when possible.  He is not just along for the ride; he makes the most of these trips.

The instructor of a class I was in last night said that she never goes downtown.  I understand that she doesn't have a job that takes her there but neither do I.  I find it a little sad to think that people can be comfortably apart from the heart of the city.  Yes, downtown is not all pretty but it's where a lot of people come together and a lot of living goes on.  By staying isolated from that central core, we are not really a part of a cohesive whole.  We can all stay in our satellite locations and go back and forth in our little worlds but at least every once in a while, I think it's good to go further, to go downtown and to experience all that it is.

I'd rather be downtown and witness life in its many forms than in the suburbs on a weekday afternoon, wondering if there is still life left on this planet.  I'm glad we went downtown today.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Body of Water

Hello everybody.  Thank you to those people who responded to the poll question.  It is time to reveal the location.  Forty percent (or in this case, 2) of the respondents were right in identifying Lake Ontario as the body of water.  The picture was taken at Kew Beach in Toronto.  It could easily be mistaken for an ocean.  I was surprised that no one chose the Gulf of Mexico.  I was there last summer, in Clearwater Beach.  Luckily, the oil spill had not reached that far and it was beautiful.

I am not sure what my next poll question or feature will be on the blog.  I think I should do some writing too.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

How do we decide?

Recently, I was bored, a state with which I'm not very familiar. It didn't last long. I'm really good at a lot of different (and unpredictable) moods but boredom is not usually a part of my life. How could it be?

There is so much. There is just so much in the world. This isn't about possessions. This is about there being so many books to read, so much learning that can be undertaken, so much art to consider and so much of interest to enjoy. Wow.

I don't know how many books I have on the go right now. And there are always more that I can find and really want to read. I almost wish that I could divide up my attention and read multiple (maybe six) books at once. It would be so efficient but there are many, many details to work out yet before I can do that. Until I come up with the technology to enable this, and I do hope to share it, I will have to settle for reading one book at a time. Or one article. Or one outline from a course I've taken and want to study in more detail.

It is important to be present, now. We must make priorities to delve into that which interests us and do that now, devoting as much of our attention as we can. I guess we won't get everything done that we could possibly want to do. But we can sure enjoy a lot of life's wonder. I just want to enjoy it quickly so that I can pack more in! Vite! Vite!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thank you to my Poll Answerer

I have a need to express myself, I think everyone does to some extent, and the easiest way for me to do that is through writing and other visual means. For these reasons, I enjoy using a blog. I've been a bit discouraged about it lately, though, and wondered what I am doing. Around the same time, I added some pictures and tried to add a little fun. And no one commented. And I realized I'd made a mistake in my poll question and that I should either correct it or delete the stupid thing. How crazy was I to add that anyways? I should just take it off and retreat And then I found out that I couldn't correct the mistake because SOMEONE HAD ANSWERED MY POLL.

Thank you. Thank you whoever you are for coming to my blog. I needed your answer to the poll question tonight. I needed the affirmation that I am reaching someone. You provided me with that affirmation. Thank you so much.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I have done some renovations to this blog. Hope you like them! Grab a snack. Oh, yeah, maybe not. Anyways, feedback on the exciting (?) new features is welcome.

A Look Back at Looking Back

Looking through a notebook I've been using recently, I was surprised to find some older writing of mine. Here's a heartfelt piece from September 7, 2006, my son's third day of grade 1:

Morning at the Mall

Oh, how I miss you and our life
You are in grade 1 now.
You are not in a little car I push around at the mall.
You haven't been for a while, ofcourse.
One day you got out of one of those cars
And never got in again.
There are so many other little guys at the mall.
With their Mums.
They have taken our place.
I am crying.
It is over
That stage in our life.
I loved it
Time is moving on
And I wish it wasn't right now.