Driving the train

My mother doesn’t fly.  Never has, never will. She’s afraid of heights at every level. Airplanes, bridges, ladders–doesn’t make a difference to her–they’re all the same and she can’t do ’em.

That doesn’t mean she hasn’t gotten around (well, she’s 92 now, so her getting around days are kind of removed) but she’s managed to travel all over North America.

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The art–like the writing–is sometimes on the wall (or the street)….

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Van Gogh on view at MoMA New York

Whenever I go to visit another part of the world–even another part of Canada or the U.S. (because we all know how different the regions can be)–I like to to do two very specific things.

First, I head to a grocery store.  A big one–not a mom-and-pop shop, although those can be fun too.

I’m looking to see what people buy on a regular basis, and what I might try as well. Or not.

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That time I fought City Hall…

If you don’t live in a place where the weather changes in extremes, this may not be something that will resonate with you.

But if, like millions of people around the world (but especially in northern North America), you happen to have planted yourself in a place where the roads can literally melt in summer, then turn around and crack with the cold six months later, this is a story you’ll want to hear.

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Remembering…and thanking someone I’ve never met

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Kissing Rock on Shelter Island, NY

I was five when President Kennedy died.

I don’t remember the actual event itself, exactly, but I do remember sitting cross legged on the floor of our house in a Chicago suburb, watching the black and white images of the funeral cortege, and later the funeral itself, and thinking that all of this was making my parents very, very sad.

I remember the little boy—his son—who stepped forward and saluted his father’s casket.

And I remember when that little boy died, decades later.

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Springing into Fall

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Well, here we are…..the end of another season, and the beginning of the next.

I usually find that, right around now, I begin to think of the things I didn’t do/didn’t get to do over the summer:

  • I didn’t lose weight; in fact; I gained;
  • That means I didn’t get into the handful of “goal” outfits I brought out as incentives. Now they’ll get shoved back into the back of the summer closet. Again;
  • I didn’t stick my toes in the sand. Not once, and I was near the beach too.
  • I didn’t get all the photos scanned from my photo albums (I had planned for a
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    My bro & me, circa ’63

    “Grand Scan” to be completed by now—I’d say I’m about 25% there…but I will also say it’s been a lot of fun to look at all the photos);

  • I didn’t manage to avoid the forest fire smoke from British Columbia (but can only imagine how bad it is/was there when it was at the top of the scale here).

What did I get done?

 

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I saw the light

 

(be patient and don’t blink or you’ll miss it)

It’s dusk on a steamy August weeknight.  The day had been overly hot and overly muggy—and I feel hotter and clammier than I can remember in a long time—like there’s a sheen of sweat all over me.  I’m walking across the backyard in my bare feet, and I know I’m going to regret this when I start to count the mosquito bites on my ankles in the morning. God, they’re gonna itch—but they’re better than ticks, which I’ll have to check for as soon as I go back inside.

I step on the occasional stick and the occasionally sticky thing as I make my way to the woods in the deeper shadows at the back of the yard. The moon will rise over the ocean soon, and it’s going to be full, casting a whole other light onto the night.

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Going Back….

 

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Plus ça change, plus ça même chose….

K, so it’s the first weekend of Stampede and I can see the fireworks waay off in the distance as they explode over Stampede Park.  They’re pretty far away—I can’t hear them—but the view from my apartment is pretty cool.

It’s super hot during the day—the kind of heat that causes the clouds to bubble up at the end of the day, and threaten to drop a pound or two of hail onto your garden, or worse, the hood of your car.

It’s that heat that’s just unbearable—the kind that drags you down and makes you grateful for a respite in an air-conditioned restaurant or pub or club.

It was just like this a year ago, when I was in the middle of a life transition.

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