Friday, January 29, 2010

Nurturing your nature

When I was growing up, the big bang theory – the 1970’s version to be sure – was certainly talked about. And even though I was a member of a church going catholic family, I was not hidden from these scientific discussions.  I remember seriously thinking about the ‘big bang’ and getting my head into a knot as I tried to comprehend what was BEFORE the big bang and everything that followed.  My tiny noggin was just not up to the task of comprehending nothingness that wasn’t even space – heck, I still can’t!  I’ve just learned to take it as fact without trying to force myself to recreate it or imagine it within the extremely finite cubic centimeters of gray matter that is my brain.  As a child, I just didn’t know it wasn’t possible. Trying to create a mental construct of the pre big bang is probably where I first made my acquaintance with alpha waves, and it rather hurt my head.

How did someone who was probably about 8 or 10 years old get a good initial dose of the big bang theory?  I think it stems from my father’s interests. He enjoyed a variety of scientific endeavours, such as astronomy, paleontology and anthropology. He also very much enjoyed sharing his interests, so I don’t doubt the big bang theory might have been discussed in the house with my (much) older siblings and I caught wind of it.  I remember being taken out to see a lunar eclipse.  My memory is of my Dad taking me and my brother for a drive down to Miller’s Field with a stop at a local grocery store – and this is the part that truly captures my father’s genius -  for an oreo cookie package.  We spent the summer evening watching the moon turn dusky red and back again and munching on the cookies of the gods.  I also remember being taught about the constellations – the few that are so very easy to spot, anyway - and still enjoy the return of certain constellations as the old friends that they are, even when they are the harbinger of a return to winter.

The lessons my father imparted were many and some quite easily memorable.  Never stop learning, See the world, Life is for the living, Try hard to be good, Walk in like you own the place. … just a sampling of his easy-to-rattle-off one-liners.  They work well as mantras when you need them,  and I think my father found them to work the same way.  I find I enjoy learning and wondering and discovering many of the things that he did enjoy as well – if not exactly, then on a fundamental level.  The chances are good that as one of his children, my (and all of my siblings) brain categorizes and works and learns in a similar way to my father – or my mother. Perhaps even a mix?

 There is something to learn from the pattern of our parents, even if it is things that didn’t work for them.  While we are ultimately our own selves we have a personality, intelligence and desires that are an offshoot of all those that have gone before. It shouldn’t betray our individuality to recognize the living and learning that our own kin has gone through, in fact, it should be said that it’s smart to not have to learn something the hard way.

All that being said, it’s a terrible thing that we never admit “mom was right” until we’re moms or dad ourselves.

"So we are all reincarnations -- though short-lived ones. When we die, our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere - as part of a leaf or other human being or drop a dew. In short, on an atomic level, we all live forever."
      -A Short History of Nearly Everything
      -Bill Bryson-

Friday, January 15, 2010

It can make your skin crawl...

It was a different world back then. Right now, all I can think is the odds of someone on that plane being a perve is pretty freakin' high. Enjoy this refreshing taste of wierdness as I get a decent blog post finished over the next few days...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Proroguing and the Pull Out Method

Our weasel-faced Prime Minister asked - and ultimately received permission - to prorogue parliament, effectively tossing most bills and various commitees that had been in progress this past fall into the recycle box. It appears on the weaselly face of it, that will allow more time for prepping a new economic action plan (can you say “bribe the public”?) and other new bills, as if he was doing us all a favour ending the parliamentary session early so he could hold his head up high at the Olympics. Politicians aren’t the most earnest type no matter their camoflage, and whatever his stated reasoning for proroguing Parliament prematurely is, it isn’t the real truth. It’s the cover that his staff thinks Canadians will swallow.

Proroguing parliament a year ago was the only way – low though it was – to stop the bells tolling for him and his time as Prime Minister. Not only getting away with the ploy, he turned it into a positive and lambasted the other political parties that had tried to forge such an undemocratic arrangement as a coalition. Certainly enough people parroted that “they hadn’t voted for a coalition” – astoundingly forgetting that they don’t even vote for a Prime Minister, only their local member of parliament. Duh? This ain’t America!

To recap, a year ago, people had to be told what proroguing parliament meant as the last time it had been used was by Sir John A. Macdonald in 1873. And now, a year later, our current PM is using such a little known and undeniably low, historically speaking, method to avoid political issues for a second time. I don’t think he fully appreciates the pull out method isn’t without its dangers and risks. I await the birth of an election call with his spin doctors in attendance.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

It is at this time of year that we all find some time to dwell on the lessons of the past and the potent promises possible in the future. All alliteration aside, I find that even the most aloof nonbelievers in the power of New Years Eve leave a door open a crack for a visit from Janus – that old Roman god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings.

On one face of it, my 2009 was atrocious. Ironically, I began the new year by ending something. I left a dreadfully stressful job, and recovered from that stress. Then I suffered a stroke that put me in the hospital. Throughout the hospital stay with its tests and procedures and recuperating and walking again, I began to appreciate my personal strength in the face of fear and adversity and began to know myself better. I also finally understood that abandoning the stressful job hadn’t been a personal failure. I learned a great deal about myself, and had more time to spend with my husband this past year as he was off work and stayed with me.

In looking back, 2009 was beset by illness, stress and unemployment. But any year you walk away from is a good year. These last few days I’ve restrained myself from thinking bad thoughts about the past year, a feeling which springs from the saying ‘do not speak ill about the dead’ - and what is 2009 but dead and gone? And by avoiding speaking or thinking ill, I have found some good things to say about last year instead. I’ve learned a great deal in 2009. My wish for 2010 is to continue learning, continue growing, and to continue enjoying these doorways I’m passing through.

And now for something completely different . . .

Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Attendee: Brought peace?