New. But Normal?

Around the time my father turned 70 he developed symptoms that were eventually diagnosed as Multiple System Atrophy: an incurable, progressive, neurological disorder. Through the next 18 years, as he repeatedly faced new reductions in his physical capacity, various folks asked him how he was doing. His reply was always the same.

I’m adjusting to the new normal.

He adjusted with notable grace: Although he had his moments of denial, I never heard him complain.

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Posted in Feeling Clearly, New Perspectives, Politics and Policy | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Fast: Just Try to Pick It

I feel a software-development management article coming on.

Good, cheap, fast: Pick two.

Of course it isn’t just software that is subject to this rule/mantra. In life in general, we really can’t have it all.  I’d sort of come to terms with that but now this lovely pandemic has taken it to new heights. “Good” is defined for us: it must be a PCR test. Any old test won’t do. And forget “cheap”: It isn’t even on offer. That leaves “fast.”

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Posted in Laughing Frequently, Officialdom, Thinking Broadly | Tagged | 13 Comments

Finish the Thought

Gurdeep Pandher is a bhangra dance instructor from the Punjab, living in Yukon. With COVID-19, he’s become an internet sensation.

I don’t know the man but his on-screen presence is relentlessly cheery, upbeat, patient, and encouraging.

He dances to traditional bhangra music in unusual locations and to music from other traditions (and here) to show an underlying harmony.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Relationships and Behaviour, Sports and Exercise | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Best Baby Photo Ever

Used with permission of Emily Zanotti

Awww. One of the greatest shots ever, no? And not what I expect to find on Twitter, fersure, which made it even better.

Was it posed? Sure. Newborns can’t do that with their fingers. But I still like it, because it expresses something true about twins. And maybe something that could be true of me.

What if I had been born as part of a twin-set, as it were? What if I were as close to even one other human as twins are reputed to be close to each other?

What if I just lived as if I had been separated at birth from my twin, and saw every other person I met as possibly being my lost twin?

I wonder what sort of picture that would make.


Posted in Feeling Clearly, New Perspectives, Photos of People | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

A Personal Best

We’re not what you or anyone would call “in shape”, but neither are we complete slugs. After a lost summer in 2020 (Weather: much too hot; Isabel: too much work), this summer we’ve revitalized our 13-year-old relationship with our kayaks. Hallelujah! We (well, one of us) can still lift the kayaks onto the car and we (usually both of us) can still get in and out, although it ain’t always pretty. And we don’t always stay dry.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Landscapes, Sports and Exercise | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Fuzzy Buzzy and Pinky Winky

I believe I’ve mentioned before that we have a beautiful hydrangea with a silly name at the corner of our front porch: Pinky Winky.

It’s in bloom now: an extended process that starts with conical buds, metamorphoses into white blossoms, and gradually shades into deep pink blooms. The fragrance is sweet but not overpowering. I know that because I’ve been keeping it company on the front porch, watching the bumblebees come and go, go and come.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Fauna | Tagged | 6 Comments

Just Ask

Drive almost anywhere in rural North America and you’ll see old barns: old red barns. Why are barns almost always red? Just ask the Farmers’ Almanac.

Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns, it was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red.

OK, that makes sense: effective and plentiful/cheap, rust makes an excellent paint additive, especially when covering a big area. But why is it plentiful? Just ask Smithsonian Magazine.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Uriouser and Uriouser

They rhyme, but they have opposite meanings.
It’s very difficult to feel both emotions at the same time,
and one is far more productive than the other.
Seth’s Blog

What is Seth on about here? Furious and curious.

I’m not sure I buy the “opposite meanings” claim but he makes a good point: Curiosity drives out furiosity, and vice versa. It’s tough to hold onto puzzled and peeved at the same time. And if I’m interested in fixing something, it’s better to enquire into it than to rant about it.

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Posted in Laughing Frequently, Thinking Broadly | Tagged | 8 Comments

Shovelling Water

Having finished my last, last-ever project, I turn my attention to the embarrassingly overgrown strips of garden flanking our community mailboxes. City property, for sure; just as surely, property on which no City employee has set foot in the last 13 years. Without *some* feet on the ground it would be a completely overgrown tangle of (ob)noxious weeds, the highly successful burdock among them.

Burdock is used for skin problems, stomach problems,
joint swelling, and other conditions,
but there is no good evidence
to support its use for any condition.

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Posted in Day-to-Day Encounters, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Flora | Tagged , | 12 Comments