Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Our Friend Fred

Our Friend Fred (1998-2011)

Never thought the day would come. There was a build up. Thoughts. But ultimately the nagging question. What is the best thing for Fred?
Bear was his name when he first greeted me. Full of beans, licks and love. The runt of the litter. The last one to go. 
One hundred dollars later, he came to our home at Christmas time with a red ribbon as a gift for my son, Kyle.
Kyle named him. After a racing sailboat named Freid – original spelling varied, to a Swedish or Danish word with the meaning - peace. 
Lucky for him I worked at home. He soon warmed my feet. Enjoyed nipping at Kyle’s heels as they raced through the house. Chased socks. Climbed ladders and ran through tall grass like a deer. Kyle nicknamed him Frederick.
Less then a month in he made the mistake of chasing a cat in the early hours without someone on the other end of the leash.
Our friend, Finn had taken him out on his bicycle. Silently he came through the door with Fred in his arms.
“What happened?” I remember saying.
The young driver of the Ford F250 later came by to check on him. Said he’d run over him with both sets of wheels.
Fred survived. Youthful bones. Crushed, but not broken.
He became a sailing dog. Often curling up on the unused sails.
And for me a running partner. The early years pulling me along. But at nine he put the breaks on.
I didn’t understand. Later, swimming one of his favourite games with sticks hurt.
The vet said the most severe osteoarthritis he’d ever seen in his hips. Probably the Lab in him. Not the Border Collie.
We managed the pain. Joint shots at the vet, anti-inflammatory meds, supplements. Some days were really good.
Then somehow, maybe jumping down the stairs into the boat he developed a herniated disc in his back.
Dear Uncle Len built him a ramp to get in and out.
Fred had pals. We often thought he was gay. He LOVED his male friends. He had a share of female buddies too.
Many loving caretakers as well: Diane, Tara and Tim, Irma, mother Alice, Darlene, Chris and Jenny, Alexandria and the entire Bicknell family, Robert and Rose, Brian.
No matter what mood you came to him in, he was happy to see you.
He loved his water. If it diminished and you filled it up mid-stream for him, he’s say thank you by licking your hand.
He had his quirks. Couldn’t take his nose by it without peeing on the bird splat. Squirrels were his favourite chase. My mother, Alice once told me on a walk through the graveyard he chased a squirrel and caught it by the tail. That didn’t help the squirrel.
Fred got the tail. The whole tail.
Heard someone say the other day, with old age – you have to use it or you loose it.
Fred’s senior years weren’t wasted. He’d always do what he could. The grey beard and nose didn’t stop folks who passed by him from saying, “Hello puppy!”
He pranced along like one.
If you ever tried to hang out on the beach and meditate with Fred it wouldn't last more then three minutes. He played a rock game. 
He'd find the biggest one and bark and bark. It was a beast he had to tame. He'd playfully pounce on it. Over and over again. Captured. Yet not conquered. It went on and on. 
One such vet visit included a pulled tooth. Cracked likely due to the rock game.
The silliest thing about Fred was his morning ritual. A circle in the path he lay it in to sniff it out. Guess he wanted to make sure he remembered what he had for dinner the night before.
Popcorn was his favourite. The more the better. I’d save half my movie popcorn for him for when I got home.
This morning’s walk was the most difficult. We made it an extra block. His panting was heavy. When he went to get into the car, he made it half-way. It’d been the norm of late for assistance in getting up and down. He’d usually ask.
I said goodbye and told him I loved him. I thanked him for being my friend. For always being there for me. For always loving me. For always being happy to see me.
With gratitude to my son, Kyle and my mother, Alice – Fred moved into his next life this morning at 11:40am, with peace and a whole heap of love.
Never to be forgotten.
I know you’re running and free of pain now.
RIP Fred 
1998 – 2011

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Stormy Ideas

If only the rain beating down on the East Coast would share its wealth of water with the Horn of Africa. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could attach a funnel to the sky so it could be redirected to the areas where the precipitation is needed the most?
While we’re at it, can the extra food that we have on the shelves at the end of the day in all the grocery stores be shoveled into a bin and dropped into the laps of those that need it the most?
Instead of wasting water and wasting food we share it.
Stormy ideas?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Heart and Home

Angels speak softly. Allowing for the breath. Direction dictated by the universe.
I’ve heard the advice. Do what makes you feel good. Let the heart lead.
Amazing what a little time alone can do. Making for that self reflection.
Relocating will be the adventure.
Back to school is the challenge!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Silent Thoughts

Rain drops spatter dreams.
Like the colours in a rainbow.
The movement of the wind in a tree.
Meanders whispers through fallen leaves.
Hastened by darkness.
The day follows the night.
Like the ebb and flood of the tides.
A moon awakes.
The big dipper shines.
Soon the mind sleeps.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Boned Up

Thought rest and easy workouts would heal me up. Turns out I was wrong.
Recent x-ray results reveal I’m not done yet. Typically bones heal in four to six weeks. So I was told. Given my pelvic fractures are in the lower moving part of the body - one physiotherapist said eight.
So I’m creeping up to 13 weeks now and I’m still working on it.
But here’s an interesting tidbit. A recent visit to my Osteopath taught me more about the process then anything else.
Aside from the obvious nutrition factor, there’s something called the Wolff's Law. It illustrates the need for stress on the bones to heal.
In my case, this would be walking or running and weight training.
For years I’ve run. I can recall the fierce feeling of strength in my nails after a workout. I didn’t realize at the time, the impact pounding has on calcium in bones.
Since my Achilles flare up last year I turned to cycling as the primary sweat factor. Lately it’s been swimming, yoga and some cycling.
Today I tackled the treadmill for the first time. I jogged for 15 minutes. Amazingly my day fluttered along with NO back pain. I also incorporated weights and stretches into the visit.
Thinking this kind of regime is what everyone needs to age healthily in their bones.
Maybe now I’ll get boned up!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Frayed Economics

Simply put, we spend money on things we don’t really need. Take the Starbucks coffee and the cellular phone for example. Both things we could survive without. In days gone by - have lived without.
Today we live outside the realm of necessities. Riddled with debt. Alive in luxury.
Do we really need it? Or is it we’ve grown used to it?
Take the restaurant meal, the spa or a night out at the movies.
Consumerism has heights. But the economy has its woes.
Energy, food and water – necessities. Anything outside of that.
Frayed economics.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Limited Consumption

It’s only been a week since I said bye bye to my four wheels. Already I notice a difference. 
I’m spending less. I’m also wasting less.
I buy what I can carry.
Too often in the past I’d load up on groceries for a week. How much of that got eaten? Sadly much of it ended up waste.
I’m purchasing what I need and doing what I can with less.
I’ve discovered a local butcher with hormone free meats nearby. No more long drives for my preferred choices.
So far I’m finding it easier getting around. No parking hassles. And I love riding my bike by the gas stations.
As for the dog, he’s grown used to his three walking routes.
He never much liked riding in the truck anyway.
I’ve got a backpack for a purse. A reflector for a jacket. And a helmet for a hat.
The best part?
I’m grooving on limited consumption.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Swayed By Voices

So much information. On the Internet. With Twitter, Facebook and now Google+.
I can’t walk by a newspaper without reading a headline. Even if it does have paint on it.
Words mix with voices. 
We hear it on the television. At the movies. In the streets. With music.
Humour me now. Are there voices in our head's too?
Little by little, we absorb. Transfer words to thoughts.
Then through actions. 
Often swayed by voices.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Retrace your life’s path and ask yourself,
truly. Have I been honest with myself every single step of the way?
The answer most likely is NOT.
Did you bend your beliefs and your heart’s light for someone else? Or because you were afraid to speak out?
For whatever reason – that’s probably a yes.
Where has that taken you today?
Be really honest.  
Insights, gut feelings, anxiety… you know when. When you’re not being honest with yourself. When you’re not following your heart. When you’re not being true to yourself.
Could our paths be different if we were completely and utterly true to ourselves – all of ourselves?
To live and let live.
We need honesty.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Lost the Visor

Gone to two wheels. Down from four.
Figure the rollin’ in the air will save some bucks.
Help with the muffins too.
Given the price of fuel and all. Why not?
Had a conversation with someone tonight about the 80%. Meaning, 80% of the time riding in the rain with gym gear and your lunch for work is doable.
But not always fun.
Then I rattled off my living when my son was young. On the back fitted to the rattrap. Groceries strapped to both handlebars. Knapsack on back. We made it!
I had a bunch of errands to do this afternoon about town. WAY faster riding a bike. No hassles with parking. In and out, up and down.
Questionable when summer strolls through sure. Still, I’m hyped for the extra exercise I’ll get.
How many ridiculously short trips did I take in my truck when it could have been done faster on a bike? 
Too many.
The final jaunt home was into the sunset. Sporting the glasses. Made me think what I’d be doing if I was driving.
Said bye bye yesterday to my 2006 Toyota Tacoma!
Oh my, I’ve lost the visor!

Monday, 15 August 2011

My Big Time Out

It was dirty feet in strawberry fields. Straw bails and straw fights. Music beyond genres. Hours of it.
New age belly dancers. The e-Tipi (my name for it - everyone inside a Tipi DJ dancing). Even Burlesque.

Do a 360 and all around is positive juice.
Someone on stage said, “Young people playing young music for young audiences.”
Whoops. Except, I’m old, but young at heart?
The words Time Out weren’t in my family’s vocabulary growing up. Suppose it evolved when the baby jogger came around.
The Big Time Out has become synonymous with music and Cumberland. A funky, evolving community mid-ship on Vancouver Island.

I got a chair, luckily. Made some new friends.
Baked in the sun. Got shielded by the clouds.
Watched a guy with a kilt. Hackers (as in hacky sacks). Solo dancers and hula hoops.

Listened to some funky music. Live looping. 
It was pure soul fun. Love and respect echoed during each intermission.
Someone’s lyrics stuck with me.
“Heal each other. Feel the world.”
Super enjoyed my Big Time Out.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Muffin Tops Ride

Now I know why the geezers in the spandex sit more upright on their rolls. 
The gut gets in the way. Hard to bend over.
How to make yourself more depressed then you already are? Eat more!!!
Yup, it’s been almost three months since my accident (see Broken Wings) and I’m feeling it. The muffin tops that is.
It was me and them tonight. Felt great getting out there. Even if it was only for an hour.
Got a riding pal that does the Randonneeurs super long distance cycling and also heads out with the TripleShots - back when I could. The regular citation to me when I gleamed over being Lantern Rouge was, “The lighter you are, the faster you go...”
Can’t help that the spirits got a little damp riding the healing train. Long, painful and not done yet.
Yet to make light of the situation and the living in the now, I’m just going to have to keep inviting those muffin tops out for a ride.
Lots of them.
Muffin tops you go ride now you hear!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Compounded Optimism

While riots flourish in London, France braces for a possible financial topple and in the Horn of Africa children struggle to survive another day. Here at home I watch. 
The future may look bleak. Or so we think. But who’s to know what tomorrow will bring.
Need to look for the bright spots. Maybe not in the weather or the stock market.
I drew Moon Dancing. One of the Wild Woman Mystery Cards.
What does it mean? This is only one sentence from page 82's meaning for Moon Dancing:

Let her moonbeam guide you on your soul path on a dark night and light the way through the deep lush forest of life.

Tonight I would like to spread this message to the world.
To everyone who finds themselves suffering or knows others that are.
I invite you to open yourselves to some compounded optimism.

Monday, 8 August 2011

ID’ing Importance

For whatever reason I took a scan through some YoUnlimited Conference notes last month. Which prompted me to take a stroll to the library.
One of the books I’d taken note of, recommended by one of the speaker’s was Getting Things Done When You Are Not in Charge, by Geoffrey M. Bellman.
Typically I have two or three books on the go at a time – depending on the mood.
As it happens – this book became due so I put it on the top of the list to delve through during this morning’s routine.
A brief exercise titled What is Important scratched my wits:

1. What do you do? Answer this question in one sentence.
My response: Use words and images to make a difference.
2. Why is that important to you? Answer the question in one simple sentence.
My response: It’s my way of helping the world.
3. And… Why is that important to you? Again, answer this question in one simple sentence.
My response: There’s power in words and images that can change the way people think and act which ultimately can create peace and good health for everyone.
4. And… Why is that important to you? Again, answer this question in one simple sentence.
My response: It’s important to me because it's what I love to do.
5. Look at your series of answers, each pursuing at a greater depth the answer to the previous question: In what direction are your answers leading? Are they pointing to anything? How would you describe the destination they are leading to? Write down a few words describing that destination.
My response: Journalism. Print. Photography. Multi-media. To tell people’s stories. To inspire.
6. Finally, what does this destination have to do with the reasons you do what you do? In other words, link back to the opening question in Number 1.
My response: The destination is the depth of finding who you are and what you love, what you’re passionate about and enjoy and what makes you happy.

Further through the book another line strikes me: Pick work that feeds your soul.
Isn’t that the truth.
Isn't that ID’ing importance.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Fractured Logic

Buy now. Stocks are down. Somewhere in the newspaper someone said, “Buy when there’s blood in the streets.”
Like now?
We don’t control what goes on. Someone does. The others. Or is it greed?
Make more, buy more, spend more, live more?
Hype on investments is real. So is saving for retirement.
Can’t count on an Old Age Pension to get you by.
Fuel costs are high. Labour to fix a vehicle is harsh – if you can afford one. Food costs let alone energy costs – through the roof.
Then there’s water. Lucky we have it. Lots don’t.
Yet the cost is relatively cheap for us. Given the global predicament and all the chatter. The next world war could be fought over water.
It’s a natural resource. Without any alternatives. So I heard the other day. Oil and gas have alternatives. Does water?
Cheap water.
To me - fractured logic.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Collecting Pennies

It all adds up.
I found my third one today. Here and there. If you look they’re everywhere.
This morning over breakfast with my family we talked about the incremental payment of loans. Start with the smallest. Eliminate it. Then work your way up. Knocking off as much as you can.
Later on the radio I hear advertisements for reducing your credit card payments. Canadians take note!
It’s been well over two years since I’ve had one. Best thing ever. Can’t spend what you don’t have. 
For me that works.
I'm reminded about the news last night. It was gloomy. More talk on the double dip. Makes for a buyer's market. 
So where is the challenge tomorrow?
Besides maintaining a steady income. I’d say it’s in paying down debt. Who knows what the future will bring.
Better safe then sorry.
Better then collecting pennies.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Public Spaces

Colour in ART!
Always appreciate art in public places. This particular piece jumped out at me as I walked by. Had to stop and savour the colours and the moment. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Balance in Life

Darkness fades. Souls awake. It’s light out. 
The birds sing.
The menu today: to allocate each moment for goodness.
I slot in the spirit, exercise and gratitude first.
Later, self-punishment of energy only to balance the books. Whatever it takes.
The hours roll.
Where’s the creative in the day?
Have we had any culture?
What about compassion? A helping hand. To a stranger. To the unknown.
Dreams flirt with the mind. If we could do anything, what would you do?
The belly fills.
Later the evening news.
Environmental toxins pollute us. Digitally and in the air. What we drink.
Yet humanity moves. The evening soon dawns.
I ask myself today.
Is there balance in life?

Monday, 1 August 2011

A Clean Home

A cleanse of the soul.
The mistakes were made.
Delays piled up.
Time is due.
When the wipes are done.
Clutter is removed.

The garbage goes.
The dust is gone.

It’s a new start.
To another day.
Something special.
A clean home.